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I had to move my dad to assisted living and mother to memory care this past fall and now I'm stuck with cleaning the catastrophic hoarder mess out and getting it sold. I have had pretty much no help and I am so angry and resentful for being stuck with this dirty, stinky, embarrassing mess. They both were very uncaring growing up and well into my adulthood, which only adds to it. I am the only living child and so it's all mine to deal with on top of having a full time job and taking care of my own family, etc.

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Unfortunately this is a bad time to try to clear anything out.
Most municipalities with the garbage pick up are not taking any large items at this time and all of the places you would normally donate items to are closed.
So you are pretty much limited to bagging things for disposal, maybe getting a "Bagster" or ordering a Dumpster.
And also unfortunately you are in a position where gloves, masks and other protective equipment you should use is not readily available.
So for now do a little at a time, don't stress because there is not much you can do to speed up the clean out.
Once restrictions have been lifted maybe the easiest thing to do would be to get in one of the "Junk removal" companies and just let them clear everything out.
By the way the cost for a Bagster, Dumpster or the Junk removal people should NOT be paid by you but come from your fathers account.
And as long as none of the items holds any sentimental value having someone else clear out things might be the best way to go.
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Well I have inherited a hoarder house and although it may be a big stinky mess. I was homeless. So I actually appreciate it. I'm very burnt out as I have to occupy this place whilst I have to fight the overflow of things. Sorting what I need from trash to donations and selling what I can. So I guess one man's horror story could be another person's blessing.
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I'm glad someone else mentioned the "picker" mentality. I had plenty of nosey neighbors orbiting around Mom's house. I was, literally and figuratively, eyebrow-deep in filth, confusion, memories, and resentment. It burned no less than a wasp-sting when a neighbor stealthed up behind me in the garage and proclaimed that my Mom was " always a weird lady". Thanks, Buddy! I've got a bit of a jump start on you when it comes to knowing the depths of my Mom's weirdness. Yep; got that all locked down. No, her snow-thrower and tools are not up for grabs at this time; she's visiting some cousins...(or whatever I told that opportunistic knucklehead). I censored that myself/ you're welcome, aging care.
A couple of cousins and unknown relatives came out of the woodwork (what a nice surprise!, I thought at first...). I entertained their requests, yet quickly came to my senses and brushed them off like flies at a barbeque.
For legal protection, do not allow any unlicensed people to tramp around the premises; twisted ankles, falls, kids eating lead paint, whatever you can think of... someone might try to sue. My property manager gave me the heads up on getting the swing set/slide removed. Never rent or sell a property with anything in place with which someone could come back and haunt you with a lawsuit.
You can negotiate with the real estate agents at this time; selling is in a slump; don't agree to the six percent. I hope this information has been helpful; I understand the overwhelming pain. It will get better once you have the place cleared out; you won't believe what you were capable of until you finish! Lots of good advice and information here from other posters!
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rent a dumpster,, use it. That is what I did.
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You might also want to have some cash on hand when it gets closer to trash pick up/haul dates. I closed off the entire garage and put a local ad on craigslist "FREE STUFF" A reseller guy showed up within 10 minutes with a good-sized trailer; of course he picked out what he wanted, and another guy was right behind him picking what he wanted; well, his truck was only half full; I paid him 40$ cash to take the rest of everything in that garage. The deal was, you take EVERYTHING in this garage and you get the cash. Much cheaper than paying the 1-800 got junk guys. I immediately took down the craigslist ad; it only took a total of about 30 minutes to have EVERYTHING GONE. Just make sure you have already picked through everything and you're really ready to see it all go. Of course, nobody goes into the main part of the house; just confined to the garage. I was kind of proud of myself for how well that worked. Just another idea; much quicker than waiting for city services to pick up the hideous bedknobs and broomsticks furniture that is worthless for resale value, unless you're willing to wait around for a very special buyer.
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Okay, I'm back. I promised I would explain my process, so here it is. I bought six or seven tarps (home depot or lowe's), took a few days to figure out how many piles or subsets of crap would be necessary, and how large those piles would need to be. I knew I would need a professional shredding company, since Mom's hoarding specialty was documents/important papers. She had saved checks in boxes from the 1970's; she had saved divorce papers from my Dad in 1972; she had multiple investment accounts and had paper receipts from every single trade. I found important documents, such as the deed to her house and car, and property surveys on land she owned in Missouri. I found hate notes from two of her brothers, a stash of 2$ bills in the basement, a photo album of her second ex-husband who molested me (she didn't protect me when I told her), and notebooks filled with her hypergraphia ramblings.
I decided on the following subsets: Trash, Auction, Charity, Take to Mom, Safety Deposit Box, Storage, and Shred. Each subset took up about half of a room in itself, and once nearly completed, I separated it by covering it with a tarp and physically separated the areas so it would be easier to keep working and separating. Storage rental is useful for "tough to let go" items, and set a time limit on how long those items can stay; the rental rates can creep up and add up over time.
Put on your business hat, and try to think of your goal in mind, which is to get everything sorted and cleared by a specific date for a reason. If you're going to sell, spring and summer are always the best times; you might have a bit of time on your side this year with the pandemic and all. Rentals tend to be hot commodities at the end of seasons, such as the end of spring, summer, fall (not so much), and winter.
Is your marriage really intact? Be careful about what your spouse sees if you have any doubt in your mind. It sounds like he isn't being helpful. I purposefully kept my spouse out of the process, because I had just asked for a divorce, and did not want him trying to claim any of my Mom's assets. It was very difficult to do it all alone, yet, four years later, I'm still glad I did not accept his help in the sorting process. He tried to go behind my back and hire a lawyer to claim ownership of some of Mom's assets, even though we had agreed to use a mediator for our divorce.

If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't have bothered with an "auction" pile; it was an insult to get the little checks for months afterwards (they picked up auction items and sold them at their auction house separately). I would have ordered a roll-off trash bin from city services, instead of using 1800 got junk. They showed up in a small junk truck and charged over 400$. The only benefit there was that they lifted and dumped heavy items that I probably wouldn't have been able to lift and dump into a roll-off by myself.
Whew! Well, that's probably enough information to get you started. Hopefully, you are motivated to get through it all. Her house was worth about 330 when I took over her affairs; now it's worth nearly 500. I've also been making over 20 per year in rental income; my mother didn't have a mortgage. Do you have POA and a trust in place?
Let me know if you have questions or would like further information. Take care and think it over; this could be a blessing in disguise for you.
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kittykatt Apr 2020
Thanks very much for the info. I like the tarp idea. I think that would work really well for the garage especially. There are literally hundreds of hammers, wrenches, screw drivers, etc thrown all over the place, on top of I have no idea what else because I can't get in the door. The tools might sell but the little odds and ends in the house aren't worth the effort. I also have about a half dozen vehicles and tractors to get rid of. Not worth renting the house as it is in huge disrepair, needs a well, septic system, etc. I already have filled a huge dumpster and hopefully can get another one brought in this week. My finish date is hopefully going to be April 30. And I do have POA and lawyer is working on trust although I doubt I will ever see any of it since my mother is starting to slowly look like she will be heading toward a nursing home. I'm so looking forward to having this behind me.
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I don't know if this is an option for you but we sold my hoarder uncle's place as is, the house was a tear down anyway.
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That is what I intend to do with my mom.

If they find something valuable it will be a gift to them for willingly tackling the job.
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Is 1-800-gotjunk an option?
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FloridaDD Apr 2020
I found they were expensive, but they do get the job done. The advertise how they cut your costs by taking some stuff to re-sellers or charities.  In my mom's case that is unrealistic.  Good luck
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I had to do the very same thing all by myself about five years ago; my Mom had Alzheimer's, and I had no idea how bad the hoarding situation had gotten. It's a monumental, emotional drain. I spent three weeks straight inside that house, sleeping on the floor, and worked straight through for three weeks to go through her four bedroom, three bathroom house (with a full garage, basement, and porch stacked up about five feet high in every direction). I came up with a game plan for the house, and knew my goal was to rent it out by XYZ date, so that was a great incentive to get it cleaned up. Please message me back if you would like an outline of how I organized the clean-up. Basically, you need to decide on how many piles or subsets you will need, and designate certain areas of the house for each sorting area. Charity, Auction, Storage, Trash, Take to Mom, and Shred were my sorting sets. Please message me if you would like the details; I don't want to bore anyone with the layout or planning stages. You will need six or seven large tarps (different colored tarps work best).
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kittykatt Apr 2020
The details of your plan would be very welcome. I was going to try and sell some of it, but the amount of work it would take to clean each piece vs the small amount I would get, if I could even come up with a buyer, is starting to not look like it's even going to be worth it. Having an end date to shoot for to have it all done is a great idea also. It's beyond overwhelming and I just want it done and over with.
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KittyKatt, I encountered a similar problem with people who thought they would get either the contents free or the house at a discount.  I was surprised how many of them took this approach.  

One told me what she wanted (free of course), another had his eye on a boat motor and possibly the boat (free of course), and so on.   Typical approach was that the items weren't in good condition, so they'd have to be discarded anyway.  (If that was, true, why would they want them?)

I turned down offers of help b/c I knew they would not be entirely free; the offering person would want to take his/her pick of what was available.

It surprised how bold and greedy some people can be.
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kittykatt Apr 2020
Same here - I turned down offers of help because I started to feel like people were being unusually friendly when I had previously had minimal to no contact with them previously. The cousin offered very sweetly multiple times to come help clean things out, but as time went by, it became apparent that she had ulterior motives and could care less about me or parents as evidenced by the cruel attack. This has been quite the learning experience.
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