Hoarding Scale – The 5 Levels of Hoarding
Hoarding disorder is psychological disorder characterized by a persistent difficulty with getting rid of possessions, no matter their actual value. The National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization has established five levels to indicate the degree of household clutter and/or hoarding.
5 Levels of Hoarding: The Clutter Hoarding Scale
Level One of Hoarding
Level one (I) on the Hoarding Scale represents a household that is clean and livable with some clutter, and perhaps occasional pet odors. Clutter is not excessive. Home exhibits good housekeeping, safe and healthy sanitation. However there is pest evidence — a few mouse droppings — might be found. All doors and stairways are accessible.
Level Two of Hoarding
In a level 2 house, clutter inhabits two or more rooms. One major appliance, hasn’t worked for at least six months. Limited evidence of housekeeping, overflowing garbage cans, light to medium mildew in kitchens & bathrooms, and soiled food preparation surfaces. Additionally there is pet odor, pet waste puddles, light pet dander.
Level II Hoarding Scale represents a home with at least one exit blocked.
- One major appliance is not working.
- Limited care of pets with pet waste and pet odor in the home.
- The home demonstrate a moderate evidence of insects or rodents.
- At least two rooms are unusable because of the clutter.
- No evidence of basic tasks like sweeping or vacuuming.
- Food prep surfaces are soiled and unhealthy. Garbage cans are overflowing.
- Noticeable odors throughout the home.
Professional assistance is needed to address clutter, organization and hoarding issues.
Level Three of Hoarding
Levels 3 continues in this mode but with floor to ceiling clutter, with visible clutter outdoors. Two or more appliances are broken. Audible rodent evidence, light flea infestation and some spider webs. Indoor clutter leads to narrow hall and stair pathways, one bedroom or bathroom isn’t fully usable. Excessive dust, dirty bed linens and no recent vacuuming or sweeping. Heavily soiled food preparation areas and full, odorous garbage cans. Unpleasant odors throughout the house.
A Level three (III) hoarder has clutter that is visible from the outside of a house.
- A minimum of two non-functioning appliances in the house as a result the hoarder is using extension cords in an unsafe manner.
- Physical evidence of rodents in the form of droppings.
- One bedroom or bathroom is unusable and unsafe. Due to the amount of clutter hallways and stairways are constricted.
- By the time the hoard reaches Level III, in the Clutter Hoarding Scale hazardous materials will be present at the home.
- Accumulated dust, excessively soiled floors, dirty laundry and garbage strewn throughout the house.
In order to effectively remediate a Level III hoard, a network of professionals is needed to undertake this cleanup process.
Level Four of Hoarding
Structural damage such as leaks, broken windows, unusable bathrooms, rotting food and significant pest infestations. Mold and mildew. Bedroom is unusable, hazardous materials are stored in the home, and flammable, packed materials are in the home. Rotting food on counters, no clean dishes or utensils in kitchen.
By the time a hoarder reaches Level Four (IV), the house itself has structural damage.
- Electrical hazards & sewer system is likely backed up.
- Mold and mildew are evident throughout the house.
- Pet dander, animal urine and feces can be found throughout the residence.
- Evidence of wild animals, including squirrels and bats, inside the residence.
- Infestation of fleas and lice.
- Bedroom and bathrooms are unusable.
- Rotting food in the kitchen and throughout the house.
in this case a team of professionals and most importantly the involvement of a hoarder’s family will be needed
Level Five of Hoarding
Obvious structural damage, broken walls, disconnected electrical service, no water service, no working sewer or septic system. Standing water indoors, fire hazards and hazardous materials exceed local ordinances. Rodents in sight, regional critters, such as squirrels, inside the home. Bedroom, kitchen and bathroom unusable due to clutter. Therefore occupant is living or sleeping outside the home. Human feces, rotting food inside the home.
By the time hoarding reaches Level Five (V), a house is virtually unlivable.
- There is structural damage and typically no power, water, or sewer service.
- Excessive hazardous materials are present at the premises.
- Insect and rodents roam in the property.
- The kitchen and bathroom are unusable.
- The occupant does not have sleeping space in the residence.
- Human and animal waste throughout the premises.
At Level V, assistance is needed from multiple professionals. Professional hoarder property cleanup service, family members, psychological, medical, and financial professional.
According to Behavioral Health Central, more than 3 million Americans suffer from hoarding disorder. If you or family member is suffering from hoarding call JunkDoctorsNJ Today 973-366-8083.
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Very interesting article! It’s amazing how hoarding can be categorized into five distinct levels. It’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of each level so that individuals can receive help and support in dealing with the issue. Good work!