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The 5 Levels of Hoarding and How to Recognize the Disorder

8/2/2021 (Permalink)

Levels of Hoarding Depending on the severity, hoarding can impact a person’s physical and emotional health, relationships, financial and legal stability.

An estimated two to six percent of the US population suffers from hoarding disorder. Hoarding can create unsafe conditions for people and pets who live in the household. 

At SERVPRO of North Richland Hills, our cleaning and restoration professionals understand the sensitive situations involved in hoarding. Contact us day or night for a free estimate on our emergency cleaning services at (817) 589-1499.

What Are the Levels of Hoarding?

People with hoarding disorder have a compulsive drive to find and keep objects, animals, and even trash — regardless of need or the item’s value. Some of the most commonly hoarded things are:

  • Magazines and newspapers
  • Photos
  • Clothing
  • Boxes 
  • Food
  • Paper
  • Bags
  • Furniture
  • Appliances and electronics

Depending on the severity, hoarding can impact a person’s physical and emotional health, relationships, financial and legal stability. The disorder is categorized into five levels, with five the severest manifestation of the condition. 

Level 1 Hoarding

Hoarding level one is the least severe form of the disorder and can be difficult to recognize until it reaches more severe levels. At this level, you’ll find:

  • Some clutter and no discernable odors
  • Doors and stairways are accessible
  • Three or fewer areas with animal waste in the home 

The lack of odors and clutter can be misleading. But in this level of hoarding, the individual may have trouble throwing away items and excessively shop. 

Level 2 Hoarding

At this level, there is more visible clutter, odor, and grime in the home. 

  • Light odor
  • Animal waste on the floor
  • Evidence of rodent or insect infestation
  • Overflowing trash bins
  • Unclean food preparation surfaces
  • At least one blocked exit 
  • Non-working appliance for at least six months

Hoarding level 2 sufferers are often embarrassed at the state of their home and avoid visitors. They may also be anxious or depressed.

Level 3 Hoarding

Level 3 hoarding involves clutter outdoors, typically broken appliances and furniture.  

  • At least one unusable bedroom or bathroom
  • Spills and stains on floors and surfaces
  • Excessive dust and debris
  • Dirty towels, clothing, and sheets
  • Tangled cords from blocked electrical outlets
  • Noticeable odor
  • Pest infestations
  • Animal feces throughout the home

Poor personal hygiene is often present in level 3 hoarding.

Level 4 Hoarding

Homes in this hoarding level will have noticeable mold and odor, along with structural damage. Sewage backup is also a possibility. Animal hoarding may also be an issue with hoarding level 4. 

  • Rotting and expired food
  • No clean dishes or eating utensils
  • Rodents and bugs
  • Unusable bedrooms and bathrooms
  • No clean bed sheets or no bedding present
  • More than one blocked doorway and blocked exits
  • Unsafe substances stored in living areas
  • Excessive odor
  • Noticeable animal waste

Sadly, people with level 4 hoarding will often experience health problems related to unsafe and unhygienic living situations. They may not bathe or shower for weeks and have worsening mental health. 

Level 5 Hoarding

Structural damage to the house is typically present in the most severe manifestations of hoarding disorder. Lack of electricity and running water, and fire hazards are also common in level 5 hoarding. 

In addition to the signs present in level 4 hoarding, other symptoms may include:

  • Animal and human waste throughout the home
  • Clutter throughout the house, resulting in narrow pathways
  • Unusable kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms
  • Non-working appliances, including HVAC and refrigeration

People with level 5 hoarding can also suffer from clinical depression. 

Hoarding Aftermath

Hoarding is a severe disorder, and homes in these conditions typically require professional biohazard cleanup and restoration. 

At SERVPRO of North Richland Hills, we can repair and restore homes to livable condition. Contact our Fort Worth at (817) 589-1499 24/7 for a free cleaning bid on our Biohazard Cleaning Services

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