Scary Things You Might Find While Decluttering (1 of 3): Critters

Updated: Nov 16

As a Professional Organizer, I have seen it all. Often my team and I are working in some dark and creepy spaces for our clients like attics, backs of deep closets, storage units, and deserted corners of garages. We can find really interesting things on these excursions, and sometimes, we come across things we'd rather not find...like critters!



What Do Critters Leave Behind?


As you move and sift through items that haven’t been touched for a while, there may be indications that you have a hidden insect infestation, creepy cockroaches, or terrifying (at least to me!) rodents. Here are a few things you might find:


  • Droppings (rats, mice, bats, cockroaches, termites)

  • Smells (rat urine, dead rodents)

  • Noises Like Scratching, Chewing, and Scampering (rats, mice, squirrels)

  • Crumbs or Chewed Packaging (rats, mice)

  • Cocoons Hidden in Cracks or Under Shelves (grain moths)

  • Trails in the Drywall (termites)

  • Silk Egg Sacs and Webs (spiders)

  • Sawdust (carpenter ants)


What Should You Do If You Find Evidence of Critters?


Many homeowners opt for regular pest control services to keep their home free of critters. Even with the best services, however, there are things you need to do to make sure you haven’t inadvertently laid out the welcome mat. If you’ve found evidence, it’s time to get proactive.


  • Don’t panic!

  • Take a moment to evaluate if this is something you can handle, or if you need to contact professional pest control services.

  • Clean the area thoroughly. Since pest excrement can be toxic, you might want to put on gloves, a mask and other protective gear before you start cleaning. Always protect yourself first!

  • Throw out any and all contaminated food. Moving forward, keep all uncontaminated food in airtight containers.

  • Never leave out dirty dishes or food exposed overnight, including unfinished pet food.

  • Clean up crumbs and spills immediately.

  • Ensure there are no water sources like a dripping faucet or a leaking pipe.

  • For larger critters, have a professional inspect your home for entry points and have them sealed (after removing the critters, of course).


The most important thing to remember about critters in your home is that it happens, even though homeowners tend to keep it to themselves. It doesn’t necessarily indicate a cleanliness problem. Some climates, like in the south, are especially prone to bugs seeking shelter indoors. Bottom line, if you make your home inhospitable to critters, they are much more likely to bunk elsewhere.


Our team has definitely run into critters in our clients' homes. It's nothing to be embarrassed about, but it does require special attention. When we find evidence of critters, our first responsibility is our client's safety and our team's safety. We stop and evaluate the situation before continuing work.


There’s a reason why some things end up stashed in overcrowded cabinets, packed drawers, or dark corners. They are places where you can get things out of sight and out of mind, at least for a while. If you’re ready to make the clutter disappear but not quite ready to see what might be under there, we can help. Schedule a Consultation with Element of Fun Organizing and we'll help you find the clean, usable space just waiting to be uncovered.


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