Hoarding Woes: Kitchen Progress & “When Can I Go Home?”

Hot, humid day. Kept pushing hard for about 5 hours and ran out of gas. Worked from either end and cleared front of stove and sink area as well as area for kitchen table. Lots of old, long expired food and a gazillion kitchen appliances in boxes. Also, enough Christmas decorations for two families. The reasonably good stuff was moved out of house into garage/carport area. Garbage staged for drop box.

Kitchen view from stairs leading to back door/carport toward dining room. (SwittersB)

The focus was to clear area in front of stove, sinks, kitchen table (missing) area. Satisfactory progress was made to remove what amounted to garbage, containers full of recyclable materials (like empty, rinsed out yogurt containers, Cup of Noodles containers, etc.).

Stove area cleared in front. Check back mid June for mess. SB

The sink has been stopped up and full of dirty dishes. A trail about 1′ wide was most common with stuff cascading down at times into your calf and ankle. The space was cleared and save some mass of sticky marshmallow glunk and ants (under Ritz cardboard box), the area was finally opened for the first time in about 8 years.

Area in front of sink opened up. SB

The plan has been to move items out of the kitchen to a garage/carport storage area. Today, this worked pretty well. Some items were already boxed and others needed to be boxed. I bought bigger boxes (3 cu. ft.) as opposed to the smaller (1.5 cu. ft.) I had previously used. The boxes were better for kitchenwares but just passable through doorways. 

Garage/Carport Storage area. SB

So, here is an interesting observation. My mom was an untidy hoarder with water damage/mold/mildew issues. My aunt is a cleaner hoarder with considerable stuff. Also, her house is such that she has spent a considerable amount of time in the basement as opposed to the first floor. In fact, it is basically a house on top of a house. With little time spent upstairs and every inch consumed with stuff, an interesting discovery emerges. Remove all the stuff and it is a time warp retro wise to 1950. Nothing on the first floor has been used save the stove top, fridge and one sink. The cupboards and oven are unused. The floor and counters have been covered for years. The kitchen looks pretty darn good. No smells save rotten food. No mice. No mold or mildew. The backed up sink was cleared out and now runs fine.

My aunt today at the Care Facility...antsy to leave, happy but antsy.

Short term memory loss is frustrating for my aunt, but fingers on a blackboard for me. Over and over, I have to explain everything I explained yesterday, if not an hour ago. Finances are always a hot topic. How much this and that? Fine, it is necessary but each time it is asked with a tinge of suspicion and the sky is falling attitude. Again, I explain the financial comfort she enjoys but what she has saved over a life time does not exist in her mind. Only what she receives via Social Security. The fact she is safe is lost on her. Suspicion of imminent collapse is always in her mantra. No amount of reassurance removes this. The hoarding is in part a reflection of save everything….I might need it or it is a bargain is evident. Nonetheless, we discussed a plan for a Birthday Party on the 4th. She’s excited. Well, she was tonight. Tomorrow I will have to remind her about her Birthday on Monday. 


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