Cleaning up crime scenes and hoards for a living can be a messy job, but professional cleaner Jacob Suarez (@biggieclean) has the right idea when it comes to keeping his cool and getting the job done like a pro. In this interview, Jacob spills the details of what it’s like to clean crime scenes and hoards, how he copes on his off days, and what it’s really like behind the scenes at his job.
Check out Housecall Pro’s Whiteboard Wednesday where we interview Jacob Suarez and go more into detail about crime scene cleaning, hoarding cleanups, and managing your mental health.
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Handling mental health, crime scene cleans, and staying mindful
Before starting a job, Jacob starts by getting details from the job before beginning. While some jobs are easier than others, there are certain precautions he has to take like wearing a hazmat suit.
One of the craziest cleans I’ve had was a heater cleanup. A person had passed away from a drug overdose and fell on top of a heating unit. The smell was so intense.– Jacob Suarez, @biggieclean
When it comes to helping the family members, Jacob mentions how the variety of mental states can be different depending on the situation. Some family members are closer to the deceased person than others.
He says that being respectful to the person is always number one. Being there for the family member and providing a life-changing service for the family member is one of the best things Jacob has been able to do for them.
How mental health impacts hoarding cleaning jobs
As you can imagine, a deteriorating mental health condition can be a reason why many people hoard and why we can see extreme conditions of hoarding. Jacob describes hoarding houses by levels 1 to 5, with levels 4 and 5 being where his family business steps in to take on the job.
In the video, he also describes before cleaning, the homeowner and his family’s company have to go through legal documents because homeowners have tried to sue in the past.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, every 1 in 20 people, or 5% of the population struggle with a hoarding disorder.
And according to Jacob, a lot of the time homeowners are too embarrassed to get help, which is why they are reluctant on inviting family members over for dinner or hosting holidays in their homes.
“There’s usually some sort of outside pressure for them to call us. There are situations where kids have been out of the house for some time and that can be motivation for them to call us.”– Jacob Suarez, @Biggieclean
What’s the craziest item that people collect when hoarding?
Jacob describes items varying from Disney memorabilia to Elvis Presley merch. In addition, he describes items on sale being a reason that many people buy merchandise. Unfortunately at the volume that they buy these items, they’re not able to be used and become a part of the hoard.
In addition to collecting, a lot of items aren’t preserved the same way and can become run down with excrement from animals, food, or other items within the hoard.
The bottom line
If you’re struggling with a hoarding disorder or have gone through a traumatic event, you’re not alone. October is emotional awareness month and if you’re in need of help, don’t be afraid to reach out for it.
Additional resources if you need help with your mental health: