Assisting Family To Clear Their Mothers Hoarded 3 Bedroom House In Mitcham, London SW19
We were called from abroad by the son of an elderly lady who had been living alone in her house for almost thirty years and instructed to assist with returning her large family home back to a liveable state. This followed a fall which revealed the extent of the accumulation of items and reading material within the property. Her home had been rated off the scale when assessed by the authorities and would need to be cleared and cleaned before she was allowed to return.
The house is a large Victorian property, bay fronted with the curtains drawn at each window. It has not been double glazed and the windows are in need of repainting. We meet the owner who is lovely but extremely anxious about us going inside her house and seeing it and losing treasured possessions during the process. Besides the ambulance crew who gained access from the rear of the property no one has entered this house except her in almost thirty years. I reassure her and we discuss the first steps we will take today when go inside.
Important Collection Of Old Family Photographs And Books
Mum tells us her collection of rare books and photographs along with important documents are within the property and she would like all of them recovered. She shows us a collection of rare photographs which she is clearly passionate about and we promise to sift through everything coming out of the house to find them. After receiving further instruction from our client on what cannot be discarded we don suits and gloves and enter the property.
We begin at the front door which will open about 10 inches to allow us entry to the hallway and foyer which has items and reading material piled approximately three to five feet high down the length of the hallway reducing to three feet in adjoining rooms. We must walk over this to look into other rooms to assess the task ahead. The front room, dining room and kitchen are filled to approximately three feet with reading material and other collectable items and shopping bags, all of which must be opened and the contents checked. There are several tons of newspaper and magazines within the property and, as most rooms have been unused for many years except to store items, this has become attractive to pests. The doors of all rooms are wedged open only a few inches and only a little light is entering the rooms but we can still make out a continuous pile throughout each room reaching approximately three feet covering all the furniture. We go up the stairs through the pathway of piled boxes and bags to look into the bathroom, also piled high, concealing the toilet and bath and the bedroom, which has so many bags and books in it that the bed and furniture. The top landing is completely piled to about five feet preventing access to the other two bedrooms until we have cleared it. Its very dark inside and there is clear evidence of rats, making our protective clothing a must.
Progress And Communication With Family And The Son
We send photographs of this first entry to our clients son abroad, and the scale of the task ahead, along with the living conditions his mother had been enduring are now evident to him, which he finds distressing. We agree our team of two is the most his mother will cope with as she is very anxious that she will lose precious items during the process and may feel she is losing control if she is not able to personally check what is being kept and what is being discarded, and will only just manage with two of us asking her for decisions.
It takes three days for the two of us to clear the area from the front door down the hallway to the adjoining rooms, and the stairs, with approximately 80 bags of waste (tons??) removed from the property per day. We will carry this away in our large closed in and unmarked van at the end of each day as our clients want to maintain some privacy during the clearance and not have a skip outside the property. These three days will not be consecutive, as our client needs time between days to rest and sort the collectable items we had saved for her. Two friends arrive to see her on day two and although helpful, they also insist that she throws everything away, a very distressing situation for our client.
We save rare photographs and books throughout the three days, along with vintage photographic equipment, mail, family albums and slides, which pleases our client very much, this however is now mounting up and needs to be stored while we make space within the house. We clear one side of the bathroom floor and use the cleared part of the hallway until we have a room free. We are all very lucky with the weather as the garden is the sorting area at the moment.
Discovering Furniture And Effects Buried Since The 1960’s
We then spend another three days each in the dining room and front room, clearing and saving precious items, revealing furniture within the property which has not till now been visible. There are now vintage televisions, hi fi’s, crockery cabinets, shelves, armchairs, couches and a dining table and chairs all previously concealed. Surprisingly, besides the upholstery, these are quite salvageable and the house begins to look as it must have circa 1965, including teal blue carpet. As it becomes possible to walk about within the property the clearance becomes a lot faster. We find important legal papers amongst the mail that our client has been searching for.
The kitchen and bathroom take three days between them to clear to reveal the units and furniture within along with considerable deterioration, and the need for repair before they can be returned to use. Rodent infestation has also caused much damage within the kitchen. We take a break for a two weeks while pest control bait the rats who have made themselves at home in there. We send photographs to our clients son abroad who now initiates the next stage of refurbishment, a builder and plumber to investigate work required.
Our client now requires help with sorting the saved items and we spend a day together cleaning and sorting the rare books onto new bookshelves installed in the dining room. I clean the room, de-cobweb it, wash the windows, clean the woodwork and shampoo the carpets and she is extremely pleased that we can now sit in it on furniture surrounded by family pictures and mementoes that that she hasn’t seen for some considerable time.
A Solution And Mum Can Look Forward To A Pleasant Summer Home
We return to a two person team to clear and sort the bedrooms, another four days and many tons of waste and furniture removed from the property ahead of a deep clean and the installation of new flat -packed furniture ordered by her son to facilitate the return of his mother to her home. Along with input from pest control and builders, her home is now restored to a liveable standard in time for summer.
Hoarding Help And Solutions
If you, a dear friend or a family member find yourself in a similar position to this family and dont know where to start call Jeffrey Avery directly for confidential and compassionate advice on 0800 567 7769 or his mobile 07967 646499. Jeffrey or Theresa will be happy to help solve your problem.
Jeffrey Avery MD