Tuesday, 3 May 2011

It took some persuasion...

...but over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, it did happen. A four day, basement clear out.

I understand why you might question a blog post on this topic but trust me, the occasion merits it. It's taken me since October 2008 to persuade the Fella to do it and the job did take a full four days to complete.

Why did it take so long? Well, my husband has lived in this house for more than 20 years. During that time, he's managed to accumulate and stack so many things in his basement that it resembled something out of a particularly grim episode of 'Hoarders'. The basement had become such a huge problem that the very idea of trying to tackle it froze the Fella to the spot. I offered to help with it constantly but I could not deal with it on my own as I did not know what was important to keep or what to throw away.

Why now? We have been talking about the need to renovate the basement for some time as we need more usable living space. It is ridiculous that most of my belongings are in a rental studio 12 blocks away when we are sitting on top of about 1000 square feet of under-utilised space. Mind you, this said, nothing had happened downstairs despite the fact that we've been talking to a builder and have had some 'As-Built' floor plans drawn up recently. So then we had the break and enter.

This proved to be the final motivation that the Fella needed to tackle his basement. You see, he needed some receipts from the basement to prove that he owned some of the things that were taken. He knew that they were in the basement...somewhere. So he hired a 30 cubic yard skip (bin) which was about 19ft (long) x 8ft (wide) x 6ft (high) and we set to work.

Please excuse the crappy mobile (cell) phone images but my camera was stolen in the burglary and my little Samsung point and click camera was AWOL.

The Fella and the garage in progress:

The garage and skip (bin) after the Day 1 clear out:

The shelves at the bottom of the stairs, the scullery cupboards and the laundry/darkroom:

The shelves were emptied and placed in the skip. The things on them and in the scullery cupboards were either binned or given away. We spent quite a bit of this day recycling the things that could not be put into the skip. E.g. a broken freezer, a truck load (literally) of paint (some of which predated the Fella's purchase of the house), a truck load of obsolete electronics (including 30 ancient walkie talkie radios that he'd picked up at some government surplus auction and never fixed plus the 60 rechargeable batteries that went with the 30 radios).

As a result, the skip (bin) did not look much different at the end of Day Two:

The biggest task of the weekend was the home office. Here is the Fella hard at work:

Here's the home office at the end of Day 3 (we found the receipts that the Fella was looking for) and the skip after the end of Day 4 when we'd dragged some old metal lockers out of the Fella's storage room:

From this angle, it doesn't look very full, but trust me, it was rammed full behind those lockers!

The next step is to hire a storage container to pack everything that is left so that the basement is completely empty and ready for the builder to start work. I think that this task is planned for this weekend. Otherwise, we had the asbestos/hazardous materials survey early this morning and at the moment, there is a door fitter downstairs replacing the two doors that were damaged during the break in.

This time, the doors will be steel rather than wood and I am doing my best at trying not to feel like a prisoner behind them.


ms. modiste said...

Ahhh, congrats! How great that must feel!

Hopefully with time you will feel like cozy snug bugs behind your secure doors :)

Anonymous said...

Well done! It's probably a huge weight out of his mind that he didn't realise it was occupying. Can't wait to see how it's transformed.