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https://www.express.co.uk/news/weird/463357/Britain-s-clutter-is-worth-32-7-billion-according-to-the-British-Heart-Foundation


Paul Casson, Technical Manager at Rentokil Specialist Hygiene, details how to restore a property to its original state after a hoarder is removed.


One of Netflix’s latest series, Tidying up with Marie Kondo, has left many Brits feeling motivated to clear out their wardrobes or reorganise their workspace this spring. The show, though aiming to uplift and inspire viewers to cleanse their minds through tidying their homes, has also highlighted what is a fairly common issue: hoarding.


According to the British Heart Foundation, as many as eight in 10 Britons admit to hoarding, and the average Brit has up to £514 worth of unused items lying dormant in their home. Almost a quarter of us (23%) have excess clutter stored in a bedroom, the majority of which (70%) has not been touched for more than a decade.


However, hoarding is not just a bit of clutter or a few unused items lying around, as demonstrated by the recent National Hoarding Awareness week, which aimed to increase understanding of what exactly hoarding is, and promoted the practical measures people can put in place to reduce the resulting fire risk associated with hoarding.


Rental properties


Hoarding can become a serious problem when an excessive number of items are stored in a chaotic manner, which can then create a real health and safety issue. For example, extreme clutter can prevent the adequate cleaning of a


36 | SPECIALIST CLEANING


property, enabling mould and bacteria to form unabated. Hoarding can also reach levels where access to amenities such as bathrooms and kitchens is blocked and increase the likelihood of pests like mice and rats finding new, undisturbed areas to hide.


For those who manage rental properties, having a hoarder as a past tenant can make it time consuming and costly to prepare homes so they are clean, safe and ready to be let to new tenants.


Not a one-person job


Knowing where to start cleaning in a property that’s packed with clutter can be overwhelming, so for those who own or encounter properties where a hoarder has been residing, our main advice is don’t try and tackle the clean-up yourself. A serious property clean can take a single person days or even weeks to complete, and there can be some strange and potentially dangerous encounters along the way.


Our specialist disinfection teams have come across just about everything you could imagine when cleaning up after hoarders. For example, at one site we encountered a tenant whose house was filled with hundreds of bottles and plastic containers, all containing urine, and another contained reams and reams of newspapers all stacked in piles through


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