So I take you back to October of 2007. I found out about a house a friend of mine, who was the executor, was getting ready for sale. Her job was to clean out the contents of the house so it could be listed.
The timing was perfect. Just a few months earlier I had started doing clean outs again. When we moved to Vermont from New Jersey in 2001, I took some time off to focus on my family and our new home. With one large and one small job earlier in the year, I was looking for something new.
She gave me directions and told me a little about the house and the woman who had lived there. Evidentally she was a compulsive shopper and the house was full of stuff that needed to go. I was thinking, “how bad could it be?”. Well I can tell you it was far worse than I could have ever imagined.
Upon entering the house I was given a tour of the first and second floors. There was stuff piled everywhere. They had already gotten started on the first floor, so it was not that bad. The second floor was another story.
Upon walking up to the second floor, there were 2 bedrooms, one on either side of the landing. You could barely get inside either room because of the piles of clothes. There was a small “path” into each room. Even the dressers were concealed.
So the job began – to finish what was started. Working with my friend we bagged up what clothes could be saved and boxed up all the nick nacks and kitchen items. Also there were some pieces of furniture that were worth saving.
After tackling the upper floors, my next job was the garage and basement apartment, which was only accesible from a sliding glass door adjacent to the garage. I started with the garage and quickly got that under control. Now onto the apartment.
When I approached the sliders, there were curtains drawn across the opening, to keep me from seeing inside. I unlocked the door and opened the curtains and I was face to face with the largest mass of things I had ever seen. From the smell of things I knew I was going to need a mask for protection.
The pile started at my waist and like a tide of water, continued into the room and only got higher. My first reaction was to just to take everything and throw it in a dumpster, I felt overwhelmed!!!! But wait, I am Matt Granger from Resourceful Recycling, that is not my style at all, that is not how I roll.
So I just started to pick away at the pile, sorting things out and saving what I could, making piles in the garage. There was a dumpster on site for the things that I could not save. Many things were moldy beyond salvage and others were chewed by mice, a real mess.
A short time later I cleared a spot, so I could at last enter the room, a small triumph. “One small step for man…..”
Little by little I chiseled away at the pile. Shoes and clothes piled here, Christmas ornaments and golf clubs over there. One thing was for sure, this woman knew how to shop!!!! There were so many things that were still in the original packaging, purchased, then delivered and thrown into the room and added to the pile, never to be seen again……..until Matty G came along.
After two days, I had the room cleaned out to the point where I could get to the back. In the process I found a refrigerator, still pretty well stocked with food that was obviously inedible. No decision necessary there, straight to the dumpster. Thankfully once I was done, I only had to broom clean the area.
The house went on the market a short time later and was purchased at a fair price. I had heard that the people that bought it were renovating it to use as a rental. When I went back to check out the progress about a year later, the house had been transformed into something beautiful. They had completely changed the exterior and the interior and added a new deck.
In the end I was happy that I took on the job, it was a real sense of accomplishment. Many loads of clothes were removed and donated. I was even able to work in a few Freecycle transactions, one right from the house. This job showed me that even jobs that seem impossible at first can be completed with a slow and methodical approach.