Hoarding Woes Says Good Bye and God Bless

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above,
Don’t fence me in.
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love,
Don’t fence me in.

That quest for space and the freedom to explore has never been more pronounced in our lives than now. So today was a momentous day that did not fail to satisfy, even if not totally resolve the issues of stuff.

What was left is overwhelmingly gone, but there remains outside the cast offs that even the low balling buying up dudes don’t want but isn’t trash. So, donations are in order and they are serviceable items that the needy can use for sure.

The trucks arrived this morning with a crew of four to box and bin the remnants and take them out to load into the trucks.

EHH loading

Not to cast a negative wisp of a cloud over the Hoarding House today though…so look at a few of the photos I took this afternoon…..it is a few but hey this is what we have been looking forward to.



“Lordy me!” as my Auntie use to exclaim. Look at that wallpaper and those window dressings.





This house (and the yard and outbuildings) has not been this empty in eons. Light, space, the ability to see and visualize what was and perhaps what can be again. My wife seems to have acquired this penchant for mid-century/art deco design. That begs all kinds of life style changes and pursuits/acquisitions (in moderation of course). 

garage empty
Patio to Open Shed and Yard

back yd empty

bk yd toward shed
This photo has no particular meaning, as is, unless one goes back to see how cluttered this area was at one time. Now it is a pleasant space. The canopy will probably come down some day. I seem to have a desire for open spaces now, for some odd reason.back of party room door

party room basement

So here’s the bottom line…five years of varied intensities and commitments to cleaning up two hoarding houses and all the life struggles that were attached with that and came our way from the outskirts have taught us many things. Much of that is incorporated into this blog along the way. Much of it is yet to be assimilated into our abilities to express it.

final donations
Final Donations to a Vet’s Organization

This Hoarding House is no more save for a several dozen boxes of donations that still inhabit the outside areas of the Garage, Patio and Carport. Those will be gone soon. Please if you happen along this blog study through the many posts and see if there is something there to help. I will monitor the comments section for awhile. 

aunt smile MJ x
My wife, Mary Jo, with Auntie hours before she escaped her confines, broke her hip, which soon resulted in her passing.

MJ saw


MJ 102
We had a garage sale and it was 102 degrees. For those that ventured out they were met with hospitality and hydration from the ever ready Mary Jo.

There is no way for me to eloquently summarize this story into a single post. If I can I have to thank my blessed wife, Mary Jo, for all of the sacrifices she has made in the cleanups, the dementia care, the hospices and being by my side in those final moments with two sweet, fierce ladies.

My wife has been the driving force behind these cleanups and because of her nature she was always able to marshal the Team to suffer through the long, arduous hardships of this journey. Truly this journey would not have been nearly as successful without the endearing and enduring support of my wife, Mary Jo. My wife is the epitome of the strong, loving woman. I am blessed she stood by my side through all manner of hardships.

The Team members: thank you Travis, Daisy, Margie, Leo, Dale, Joe, Darly, Tony, Theresa, Zach, Coryn, Steve, Amy, Nolan, Grant, Molly, Olivia and Laurie. All participated in varying degrees as life allowed and we are eternally grateful. Eternal gratitude to Family Affair Estate Sales (Kristen, Jimmy, Dee…we love you!)

Blessings to the neighbors that endured the years of mess and the years of cleanup.

And finally thanks to all of you that have followed along and provided so many doses of love, support, advice and wisdom. For those of you still dealing with the hoard or the looming hoard bless you…for I only know that because you shared as you still provided kindness and support to us.

Thank you!! Hoarding Woes & You will take its leave, from our lives, and hopefully not towards yours! Bless you!!!

An aside, we will be over on SwittersB & Fly Fishing if you are interested in the outdoors, fly fishing, fly tying, camping, photography, nature, life, humor and the possibilities of life after hoarding. 

Me SwittersB
Thank you and Good Bye!

Update 10/24/13: Well, because some of you probably would wonder: the final donations were picked up by a Vet’s organization; the driveway is once again partially full of a debris pile and waiting for a pickup; the POD returned and the keeper pieces of furniture were carried back into the house; pieces of furniture that had been stored in the carport beneath tarps for the sale have been returned inside the house; the feeling is soooooo good to have the home ’empty’ and that feeling is impossible to consider until the house is actually empty and the relief is allowed to settle in. A burden is actually felt to leave you and your mind…your fuzzy, numb, exhausted mind…actually feels the release of that burden that has clung to your every life consideration for so long; we will slowly consider how to fix things and then not so slowly attempt to get it done. More professional help needed here.  


21 thoughts on “Hoarding Woes Says Good Bye and God Bless

  1. Jenny Islander

    Oh my word, what a beautiful house! If somebody doesn’t fall in love with the place and snap it up just as it is, I’d be very surprised. Look at all that light and space, and those gorgeous walls! And that tile counter! And all of that nifty display shelving! And that humongous windowsill! Is that fireplace functional? Is that a 1950s ceramic Christmas tree with a 40-watt bulb inside that lights up all the faux Christmas lights on the tree when you plug it in? If you aren’t attached to it, totally leave it there for showings.

    So often a hoarded house is a total loss or at best a serious fixer-upper. Look at this legacy that you saved.

      1. Jenny Islander

        That’s just what I would have done myself unless I was already living in a gem of a house, but I didn’t want to push such a big decision on somebody else. Wow. You could start a whole new blog about restoring the place. (I wonder if This Old House would be interested.)

  2. annietiques

    Thank you so much for allowing all of us to participate in this long journey alongside you and Mary Jo. I am thrilled that you are keeping this beautiful home!!! It has such great bones (everthing except the wallpaper and drapes in the dining room!) I can imagine how beautiful it will look with love and attention……

    Congratulations on winning the war!

    1. Jenny Islander

      Hey, I would keep the dining room just as it is, for those nasty gray West Coast days when the clouds hang down into the treetops and you haven’t seen the sun for a week. My late MIL had the living room in this house painted pink for the same reason.

  3. veronica

    You truly did win the war. Your team was a godsend, and Family Affair Estate Sales was extraordinary. Congratulations on completing the clean-out, and although I am sad that you won’t be posting here anymore, I am happy that you are ending the blog on a very successful note.

    I do hope you will keep us posted on home renovations on your fly-fishing blog. The house is a midcentury beauty indeed. Heck, you already know the neighbors are nice people… that’s worth almost as much as the property itself!

    Wishing all the best to you and your amazing wife as you enter a much happier chapter in your lives.
    Veronica in California

    1. Thank you Veronica. I thought about continuing with the upgrades etc. but figured it was off topic and well the time had come. I thank you for all the kindness these last few years.

  4. Mara

    Congratulations! The struggle has been long and the hardships many, but you and Mary Jo, with the help of others, overcame it all, reclaimed so much usable and beautiful space, and enriched the lives of buyers and donees along the way. I’d call that a fairy tale ending. 🙂 Best wishes with the upgrades!

  5. Bonnie

    Thank you for sharing the finished product! Unbelievable….but I’ll bet you can believe it, having walked through each stage for so many years now. Congratulations. It’s not many people who would successfully navigate all these challenges. Again, what I’ve been most impressed with is the respect and high regard you’ve paid your Mom and Aunt through it all…..always so respectful of them and their eccentricities. You have a beautiful wife, and evidently she is beautiful inside, as well. Godspeed to you both.

    1. Thank you Bonnie and thank you for pointing the way to the most important part of this passage: giving respect to the troubled, infirm and dying. Very kind and much gratitude for your visits.

  6. Hi Gary;
    I have been reading the story of you, and your “ladies” since the beginning. Now that this part is done, I hope you and your family will rest, refresh, and go fly fishing for a bit.
    Then, I am hoping that you consider developing your blog into a book. There are books that talk about people that hoard (I don’t like to call them hoarders, they are more than the stuff they collect), buy there are few that talk about the experience from the beleaguered family members point of view.
    You have spoken about your Mom and Aunt with kindness and compassion, but also allowed yourself to express the frustration and grief that you were unable to take time to mourn because the hoard needed so much attention.
    You developed very practical methods to clean up and clear out, while still preserving family history.
    Please think about it, there are folks who help with expanding an idea to become a book, but I think you will be able to do it on your own.
    Thank you for your wonderful blog. I looked forward to the next installment, and will miss it, however, I guess I can read about fly fishing!
    Blessings to you and your family and friends from
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada!

    1. Linda thank you for the very kind thoughts and for the suggestions re a book project. That project has been suggested by others along the way. Time will tell. We truly appreciate you following along during this journey. I will miss all of you that took the time to read about the events. Thank you for the blessings and support.


  7. Tish

    Congratulations, and blessings to you and yours. I feel as though it’s not a chapter that has ended, but a book, and the next book in your story is beginning. Best wishes. ~Tish

  8. G.

    Wow….what a long road you and Mary Jo have been on. I’m happy for you that it’s over. And that you are keeping the house – it’s lovely. And so fortunate that there was no(?) structural damage after all that. I found your blog here several months ago.

    I was looking for decluttering sites, and started finding blogs about dealing with hoarders or with what they leave behind. It’s made me realize that while I’m not a hoarder, I may be getting very close to that line with certain things.

    Thank you for sharing this journey, I wish both of you many wonderful times ahead.

    1. Thanks for finding us and staying with us G. Many of us have to reflect on what we have and why we keep it. It isn’t necessarily wrong to have too many fly rods is it? Appreciate the comment.

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