I was tuned into an interesting show about a subject I was already partially familiar with: the Collyer brothers of New York City. Unfortunately, information about this pair of hoarders to end all hoarders is thin. That means speculation runs rampant in the various stories about them. But, this video by Fredrik Knudsen seems to do them justice. I recommend you check it out to get a bit of hoarding history!
P.S.: We have our next dumpster on site, and are getting ready to unload the fridge and the basement!
Saw your Reddit post. After looking thru your blog and a few minutes poking around on Google Maps, I suspect this house is on [redacted] in Lansing. Looks like a very nice neighborhood full of well-maintained houses, usually 1920s or older, with redevelopment happening on the major street over. Except for this place. You have my sympathies–I’ve had two insane hoarders in my family and I had the “pleasure” of cleaning up after them.
Don’t forget to repost on various Reddit areas that might be interested in your blog. There are quite a few.
Nothing you found in the house is “collectible” or valuable in any way. The electronics are junk, the TVs are junk, the furniture is junk. The audio and video tapes are not even worth saving for reuse–magnetic tape has to be stored in a “controlled environment”. Unless there’s a 16th century armoire or an EH Scott Philharmonic radio, or something equally rare and valuable, hiding in the back of the basement, you can safely toss it all.
I seriously doubt the “sweet Suzuki Vitara” is worth anything–the 1980s/90s ragtop models were called Suzuki Sidekick or Chevy Tracker in the US. Notorious for tipping over easily and for being generally unsafe. There was a big stink in the media in the mid 90s.
I will bet that this neighborhood, despite the best efforts of the city and residents, suffers from high crime and general craziness. Only a few blocks away is an enormous GM plant that makes Cadillacs (it doesn’t look to be anywhere near “capacity”) and I suspect Lansing has a lot of disgruntled former GM employees who are “unemployable” and looking for trouble. Not Flint levels of bad, but it is there. You are quite right to put up automatic lights and cameras and to make sure the locks work–might also be wise to check the place every day if possible, or hire a security service. Perhaps board up the downstairs windows from the outside temporarily until renovations are done.
And for crissakes BE NICE TO THE NEIGHBORS. Obviously this woman was feuding with some of them. I suggest that once the place is cleaned out, you have a backyard barbecue or something and invite the whole block, and introduce yourself as the new owner. Make sure they know about your blog too. It can’t hurt to make friends there.
hey man 🙂 thanks for the insights! no worries, as i mentioned ive lived right next door to this place for 8 years, and am closely involved in the main street redevelopment too. im on good terms with the neighbor on the other side as well, i have to share her driveway to store the dumpsters, and frequently commiserate about the ex-owner’s antics. i know all of the contents are basically junk too; i just want to find some neat mementos. you’ll note that the ‘top finds’ are weird trash and interesting solid artifacts that can be cleaned. the only thing that might be actually valuable is the 30s electric stove in the basement, if it can be rehabbed. the neighborhood, thanks to the main street redevelopment, is on the upswing, and more and more people from outside the area are coming in and investing time and money into the fledgling businesses (read: hipsters), so the crazies are showing up less and less. splash security from the power plant is nice too; they have guards patrolling on the regular.
/r/wtfhoarders is where i plan to post regular cleanup updates, but will crosspost on others too when i think its relevant. you can also subscribe if you want to know the moment i add new photos!
awesome content, subbed a few minutes ago and checking in on the news. good thing your doing with this place, interesting to see the turnout but are you planning on re carpeting / refitting most of the stuff or is the cleanup job just for resell value once it’s presentable? interested to know if your planning on living in it or not. cheers from AUS
thanks, and greetings from abroad! 😀 the actual end goal is unknown. we are flipping back and forth between a few options, but none of them are us actually moving in. we spent a lot of time getting our own house just the way we like it, and don’t foresee moving out. some of those options for the hoard include a place for my mother-in-law, who lives alone but a bit farther than she would like; fixing it up to sell to family friends, who rent in the area but would like their own house; turning it into airbnb suites with shared downstairs area; or even a full on bed and breakfast. i guess we will see what we decide on when the time comes to build walls and install fixtures!