In the previous blog I covered the “good” and the “bad” estate cleanouts. Now for the “ugly”.
An “ugly” estate cleanout is where the condition of the house is so bad that you wonder how any human could have lived there. You open the front door and the smell hits you first – rotting trash, pet odors, mold. There are piles of newspapers, mail, clothes, and trash everywhere. Rooms where you can barely get the door open because of the amount of stuff inside. Everything is covered with a thick layer of dust, the bathroom and kitchen are caked with filth, the basement is full of moldy boxes and the attic has live critters.
The executor or guardian has taken one look at this mess and backed right out of the house. Then they call us, and we roll up our sleeves and go to work. We put a dumpster in the driveway or on the street, start with the room closest to the dumpster and work our way inside. Anything that can be sold is set aside for auction, everything else is searched thoroughly for cash, coins, jewelry, savings bonds, etc., and then out it goes into the dumpster. Once we have emptied the house we usually have to pull up the carpets because of the smell, and then we clean the house from top to bottom.
It’s a hard job, and absolutely brutal if we have to do one of these in July or August. But there’s something about bringing order out of total chaos that is very satisfying, and it’s a real thrill when I get to call the executor and say “Guess what I found in the house…”
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