This has been, by far, the biggest garage transformation we have done to date.
The homeowners had been living in this house for over 20 years and the garage had definitely been a major issue the entire time, but in more recent times it had just gotten completely out of control. You couldn't see any of the garage floor in the middle and right side bays. The only reason you could on the left side is because they had a car that they were trying to keep in there.
After 2 full days we were able to at least get rid of enough "stuff" and sort a lot of items into buckets, bins and boxes to be able to sweep most of the floor and start to stage where they would eventually get stored.
Among the many things we discovered in multiple quantities?...
Over 100 cans of paint that got hauled off to the local toxic waste removal site.
We stopped counting at 300 screwdrivers, but there were at least another 100 scattered throughout the house and basement.
Enough nails, screws, bolts, electrical boxes and wiring that might be needed to build another house...not kidding!
Do not attempt to ever tackle a project this big by yourself. No matter how much physical and mental strength you may think you have, this requires at least one other person to be by your side to keep you focused and remind you why you are doing it. This client’s husband was truly a hoarder whether he would ever admit it or not and unfortunately he did try to sabotage his wife’s efforts. If you are in a similar situation, we highly recommend having your significant other leave the house until the job has been completed or you may, we kid you not, find him/her dumpster diving in the middle of the night.
When any space gets to this point there is absolutely no way to see anything. That is when impulse purchases and overspending occur. Case and point...a BOGO offer is great, but not if you put two cans of saline spray behind a bunch of automotive supplies for over 20 years! It never should have landed in the garage. They actually expired in1998 so into the trash they obviously went. This is why we stress over and over, #DontBeAStuffer. The amount of money, time and energy you will spend looking for things can never be recouped.
This was, no doubt, a hoarding situation and unfortunately it is a very hard cycle to break. But you can at least prevent it from continuing to happen again and again by taking ownership and responsibility as a co-dependent just like anyone dealing with an alcoholic or drug addict. It’s very serious and if we had our way, these projects would be covered by insurance. Unfortunately, insurance barely covers most mental health for anyone’s internal clutter. Getting insurance companies to acknowledge the need to cover anyone’s external clutter should be given higher priority and then, maybe just maybe, there would be less chronic illness that often are intertwined with any of these extreme scenarios.
Obviously, situations like this are why shows like Hoarders have resonated with a lot of people. A good organizer can work through some of the issues, but there are some cases that unequivocally require a therapist or psychiatrist and we do often collaborate with mental health professionals to make sure the client’s emotional state is being closely monitored. While some people are perfectly comfortable living with this type of chaos it will eventually have repercussions both financially and emotionally...and absolutely will affect relationships of any kind.