Jump to content

Menu

Cleaning a Hoarded House...I want to scream!!!


Recommended Posts

15 minutes ago, historically accurate said:

This house sounds like a deal-searching hoarder. They were probably on clearance or at a garage sale or in the garbage, depending on where he gets his stuff from. It's not the item that is usually important to a hoarder; it's probably the "high" he would get from a deal. I have some family members with hoarding tendencies, and some are item based, some are deal based.

Alternatively, since he has little kid stuff in there, he might have lost a family member in childhood/teenage years that he is trying to hang onto the memories. Or he was buying (admittedly weird, but mental illness can make you do weird things) gifts for family members and/or friends, but he found himself hanging onto the items for whatever reason. 

That does make sense. The clothes and shoes, even though buried in the hoard, looked almost new. We also found a brand new Instant Pot still in the box. I was thinking it may have been a gift that he never used, but maybe it was a garage sale find. There are many, many boxes of pots and pans in decent condition, although he couldn't have cooked anything in that trashed kitchen. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, historically accurate said:

This house sounds like a deal-searching hoarder. They were probably on clearance or at a garage sale or in the garbage, depending on where he gets his stuff from. It's not the item that is usually important to a hoarder; it's probably the "high" he would get from a deal. I have some family members with hoarding tendencies, and some are item based, some are deal based.

Alternatively, since he has little kid stuff in there, he might have lost a family member in childhood/teenage years that he is trying to hang onto the memories. Or he was buying (admittedly weird, but mental illness can make you do weird things) gifts for family members and/or friends, but he found himself hanging onto the items for whatever reason. 

Mil was a compulsive shopper - same thing. It's the "high".  She most definitely got a "high" from it.  Her brother once sent her to the store for a drill bit.  She came back with six - of the same size.  He told another person there "do you want to know why she bought six?  that's all they had."

I learned long ago, when she said ___ cost $___, and it seemed so over priced, it's not that __ cost $___ - that how much she spent in the store.

Dh took over the family finances when he was 21 (he had younger siblings, and she would have spent them into homelessness.).  She once came home with a dept store bill that was 150% (yes, one hundred fifty percent) of their MONTHLY INCOME.   That was ONE bill,and they still had to pay for utilities and food.  and all the other bills she'd spent on.  Her last husband WAS a millionaire when she married him . . . . He was able to control her spending (by keeping her away from stores) until his health declined.

  • Sad 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, PrairieSong said:

DH said not to look in the fridge. I looked in the fridge. I should not have looked in the fridge.

 

 

*wince*

The first house I bought was vacant for 3 months between when the previous owners moved out and when we moved in.  The electricity had been turned off, but in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator was a whole raw chicken and a boxed heat-and-eat chili dog.

 

  • Sad 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, PrairieSong said:

DH said not to look in the fridge. I looked in the fridge. I should not have looked in the fridge.

Shudder! I'm sorry. In the situation I am involved with, we still haven't cleaned out the fridge. I'm hoping it can just be hauled out of the house without opening it...

  • Like 2
  • Sad 1
Link to post
Share on other sites


I sympathize with you.  Oh, the times I've dealt with it were nowhere near as bad.

I spent last summer helping my cousin clear out and repaint her MIL's hoarder house when MIL had to go into care.  Thank God MIL had a small fenced yard next to the back porch for the dog! Dog poo would've taken it to the next level. The 1000 sq. feet were packed full of stuff and there were thousands of nails in all the walls hanging little decor objects and souvenir type items all over the top half of the walls in almost every room.  I spent full days just spackling and sanding. There were places MIL had patched big holes with globs of Spackle that she didn't smooth over flush with the wall. 

The most fun part was getting cousin's husband (MIL's son) and his sister to go through the stuff in a timely way. They said they wanted to, but took weeks and weeks to do so.  He lived next door and sister lived within a 15 minute drive, but whatever it was with the MIL that made it hard to deal with stuff was taught to or inherited by the kids, so we had to work around piles of things for months.  We sorted like things together so if one said, "I want that Santa in the carved sled she always had out at Christmas" they could find it fairly quickly.  After they finally went through it decisions had to be made about selling or donating the rest.  That was another several weeks of working around stuff.

I tripped over a pile and grabbed for the shelf in front of me by instinct. I pulled the paint tarp and a gallon of open paint off of it and it crashed down on a carpeted area. So the clean up on that was intensive-like there wasn't enough to do already.

  • Sad 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, something bit me on the neck! I felt it, swatted it, and there was a little blood on my hand. Mosquito? DH came to check on me (he works nearby) and found a small tick on my t-shirt, plus a flea!!!! So maybe a tick bit me and I will die of Lyme disease and not have to work on the hoarder house anymore! Silver linings, right?

Seriously, who has ticks inside the house?? The dog has been gone a few weeks. Maybe it came from outside. 

Anyway, I was DONE for the day.

  • Sad 10
Link to post
Share on other sites

For the future, can you add a clause in the lease that allows the landlord or his agent to inspect the property?  I have that as a clause in mine because excess tenants were a concern.  Periodically, maybe twice a year, my manager will call them up and say he’s coming over.  He’s looking for signs of more tenants living there than should be, and to make sure the place is being kept up.  Messy and lived in okay, but basically decent.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the real estate gurus that we follow has a couple of things he does to help sort this kind of person out beforehand. He does a surprise visit at their current address to see how it looks. He always calls their references. Once he does rent to someone, he has a pest control company come out monthly to spray and report back to him on what the place looks like. That way he can catch a problem before it gets out of control. Good luck! When I was a teen, my sister & I had to help clean up an apt. I spent the whole day with a wire brush cleaning the soap scum off the shower walls and my sister spent the whole time trying to clean all the grease off the stove.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, matrips said:

For the future, can you add a clause in the lease that allows the landlord or his agent to inspect the property?  I have that as a clause in mine because excess tenants were a concern.  Periodically, maybe twice a year, my manager will call them up and say he’s coming over.  He’s looking for signs of more tenants living there than should be, and to make sure the place is being kept up.  Messy and lived in okay, but basically decent.

Good idea. I did mention upthread that another landlord my maintenance guy works for has him go quarterly to change the furnace filters. It's a good way to keep an eye on things.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, ashfern said:

One of the real estate gurus that we follow has a couple of things he does to help sort this kind of person out beforehand. He does a surprise visit at their current address to see how it looks. He always calls their references. Once he does rent to someone, he has a pest control company come out monthly to spray and report back to him on what the place looks like. That way he can catch a problem before it gets out of control. Good luck! When I was a teen, my sister & I had to help clean up an apt. I spent the whole day with a wire brush cleaning the soap scum off the shower walls and my sister spent the whole time trying to clean all the grease off the stove.

I do call their landlords, if they have any. I call their employer and I always, always have a background check done.  I've never done a surprise visit at their current home. Not sure I would, but I could see driving by to look at the outside.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Warning: grossness ahead!

Besides throwing away piles of trash on the floor, I cleaned off the bathroom vanity and sink, scouring it and then using disinfectant. I cleaned off the kitchen table and...horrors...started on the kitchen counters. Even after the trash/crusty dishes/food is removed, there's a thick layer of dried food covering them. I think I need a chisel.

But the SINK. Oh for the love of...stacked with trash and the nastiest dishes and swarming with fruit flies and...some kind of black sink pudding in the bottom. How do I even...??????

I just want this part done. Thanks for listening.

  • Sad 8
Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, PrairieSong said:

Warning: grossness ahead!

Besides throwing away piles of trash on the floor, I cleaned off the bathroom vanity and sink, scouring it and then using disinfectant. I cleaned off the kitchen table and...horrors...started on the kitchen counters. Even after the trash/crusty dishes/food is removed, there's a thick layer of dried food covering them. I think I need a chisel.

But the SINK. Oh for the love of...stacked with trash and the nastiest dishes and swarming with fruit flies and...some kind of black sink pudding in the bottom. How do I even...??????

I just want this part done. Thanks for listening.

Can you chuck the dishes in the trash and use Flylady's sink cleaning? Cupful of bleach in super, super hot water and walk away for an hour. Come back and drain the sink. Will it drain? I'd probably do the bleach sitting a few times before I dealt with scrubbing it because **shudder**. 

Baking soda on countertops and hot towels spread over it and let it sit for a while? 

I'm trying to think of things that may help you not have to scrub as hard/will loosen up the crud. 

I am so sorry you are dealing with this. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/7/2020 at 1:19 AM, MissLemon said:

She should consider calling an estate sale company.  They will do all the work for them AND she'll get a check at the end.  If she tells them the goal is to empty the house, they will get everything sorted, priced, and staged and unload everything.  Even the things you think "No one will want this", they will get sold. 

 

On 10/7/2020 at 2:41 AM, happi duck said:

Yes to this!  It keeps stuff out of the landfill!  We did an estate sale when we sold my late parents house.  They do everything and usually don't even want family there at all.  She had us leave everything.  People bought half used bottles of cleaners, canned food etc.  Estate sale companies usually have ongoing advertising in place and a bunch of regulars so stuff sells.  From what I can tell sales are still happening with stuff moved outside when possible and capping how many can be in the house.

Thanks! I will tell her about the estate sale companies. I know she said they didn’t want to bother selling anything, but if someone else will be doing all of the work and she and her mom can basically just hand the house keys over to the estate sale people, that might work for them. I know their main priority is to be DONE as quickly as possible, and to avoid any potential exposure to Covid, but the estate sale idea might fit into their timeline. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, historically accurate said:

Can you chuck the dishes in the trash and use Flylady's sink cleaning? Cupful of bleach in super, super hot water and walk away for an hour. Come back and drain the sink. Will it drain? I'd probably do the bleach sitting a few times before I dealt with scrubbing it because **shudder**. 

Baking soda on countertops and hot towels spread over it and let it sit for a while? 

I'm trying to think of things that may help you not have to scrub as hard/will loosen up the crud. 

I am so sorry you are dealing with this. 

The sink drains slowly. I am going to try some drain opener my landlord relative told me about a few yrs ago. The black gunk wasn't as bad as I thought...it was mostly potting soil! At least it looked and smelled like potting soil and had those little flecks in it. A plant must have broken or fallen over in the sink. That earthy, familiar smell was honestly a relief after the other horrors. 

Thanks for the cleaning ideas. I will try them once I get the sink draining properly! 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Catwoman said:

 

Thanks! I will tell her about the estate sale companies. I know she said they didn’t want to bother selling anything, but if someone else will be doing all of the work and she and her mom can basically just hand the house keys over to the estate sale people, that might work for them. I know their main priority is to be DONE as quickly as possible, and to avoid any potential exposure to Covid, but the estate sale idea might fit into their timeline. 

That is exactly how estate sale companies run. They do all the work and prefer that the home owners are not present during the sale, (people get insulted/hurt feelings when they hear people haggle over their things).  For the companies I've worked with, if you tell them the goal is to get the house emptied and top-dollar is not a priority, they will absolutely get that house emptied. And you get money at the end! Winning!

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, PrairieSong said:

Warning: grossness ahead!

Besides throwing away piles of trash on the floor, I cleaned off the bathroom vanity and sink, scouring it and then using disinfectant. I cleaned off the kitchen table and...horrors...started on the kitchen counters. Even after the trash/crusty dishes/food is removed, there's a thick layer of dried food covering them. I think I need a chisel.

But the SINK. Oh for the love of...stacked with trash and the nastiest dishes and swarming with fruit flies and...some kind of black sink pudding in the bottom. How do I even...??????

I just want this part done. Thanks for listening.

Serious suggestion:

Just get new counters? Laminate is not that expensive. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Tick?!?!?  
 

Gaaaaah!!!!!

 

Are you in a Lyme endemic area?  Call your doc.  Our doc does 28 days of abx, depending on type/gender.  Our family has been devastated by Lyme.  Kid had Lyme meningitis and babesiosis one summer, still fighting bartonella.  All three of those came from the same tick.  And you don’t even want to hear my personal horror story!  Ticks are gross!
 

 

  • Sad 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, Spryte said:

Tick?!?!?  
 

Gaaaaah!!!!!

 

Are you in a Lyme endemic area?  Call your doc.  Our doc does 28 days of abx, depending on type/gender.  Our family has been devastated by Lyme.  Kid had Lyme meningitis and babesiosis one summer, still fighting bartonella.  All three of those came from the same tick.  And you don’t even want to hear my personal horror story!  Ticks are gross!
 

 

I am not in a Lyme endemic area. I'm not sure it was a tick. When I swatted my neck, all I could see was a tiny bit of blood on my hand. I'm thinking mosquito. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, RootAnn said:

I'd leave a fruit fly catcher (I use Apple cider vinegar with a dot of Dawn on the top, don't stir, then cover with clingwrap & a rubberband, poke a small hole with a toothpick) by the sink for a week or so. 

Sounds like you are making progress!

I have made that type of fruit fly catcher before. Also, in another rental where someone left food (thankfully not a hoarder house) I used those sticky strips that you hang up. Those worked well.

We are making progress! I wish I could work eight hours per day there but I just can't take it that long. Four hours has been my limit.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, PrairieSong said:

I am not in a Lyme endemic area. I'm not sure it was a tick. When I swatted my neck, all I could see was a tiny bit of blood on my hand. I'm thinking mosquito. 

Whew.  
 

If it makes you feel better - we don’t usually feel tick bites.  And they aren’t easily swatted/killed, IME.  So it does sound more like a mosquito.  

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Spryte said:

Whew.  
 

If it makes you feel better - we don’t usually feel tick bites.  And they aren’t easily swatted/killed, IME.  So it does sound more like a mosquito.  

Thanks, that does make me feel better. I looked up Lyme disease in my area, and read that most cases here are contracted elsewhere while traveling.

I am so, so sorry about your Lyme nightmare!! I don't even know what bartonella is, but I hope all of you are fully recovered soon. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

It is hard to take for hours on end.  We set a time limit for sanity's sake (and grief too in my case).  When the time was up we left even if we felt we could do more.  It helped knowing there was an end time set.

One thing that helped us be more productive was getting help with trash.  We had a set spot for filled bags and then others who dealt with them.  I know you're not in a spot with a dumpster but if stuff's going to the garage or something it would still save time if someone else could take them from the porch to the garage (or whatever).  Our trash helpers came on their own time so no coordination was needed.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, PrairieSong said:

The sink drains slowly. I am going to try some drain opener my landlord relative told me about a few yrs ago. The black gunk wasn't as bad as I thought...it was mostly potting soil! At least it looked and smelled like potting soil and had those little flecks in it. A plant must have broken or fallen over in the sink. That earthy, familiar smell was honestly a relief after the other horrors. 

Thanks for the cleaning ideas. I will try them once I get the sink draining properly! 

It was probably food that had completely composted right there in the sink. 😂

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, KungFuPanda said:

It was probably food that had completely composted right there in the sink. 😂

Oh, I thought of that, too! Pretty sure it was potting soil although I did find a few bags of black..uhh..bread?...that had almost completely decomposed. If only I were still homeschooling...biology, health, home ec, and later on home repairs and remodeling could be covered. 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...