The Biohazard Cleanout
When we say that we can handle just about anything, we're not kidding. This home had gone through years of neglect and hoarding - to the point that the cats living there could not receive the proper care.
As the family struggled to reclaim the property, they discovered that it was just too overwhelming. We came in and hauled off all of the debris so that they could move on to the next step. With the junk gone, they could get out the old carpeting and start scrubbing the walls.
In addition to helping them with the hauling, we also returned to assist with the initial round of deep cleaning and scrubbing. We're looking forward to visiting them again when the house is fully cleaned and reclaimed! This is why we offer the services we do. And people trust our team because we operate with respect, integrity and trust - so that people can overcome the the mess and have a clean home again. If you're dealing with a hoard, even a biohazard situation, give us a call to see what JDog can do for you.
A Junk Hauler's Confession
We have the most interesting conversations with our clients, particularly when we’re dealing with a very large project. They usually start with statements like:
“You’ve seen worse, right?”
“Please don’t judge.”
“Tell me you can handle this.”
We always have the same answers.
“Yes, we’ve seen worse”
“Don’t worry – judgment-free zone here”
“Yes, we can take care of this for you.”
We’re not just saying what people want to hear, either. Not only have I probably seen worse, but I’ve probably lived it. You see – I grew up in the home of a hoarder, so we have first-hand experience with the dysfunction of hoarding and the aftermath of too much junk.
My father started hoarding in 1976 after he was let go from the military. He’d planned on serving in the Air Force until retirement, but that dream was shattered for him as the country pulled out of Vietnam and started the cutbacks on personnel. Reduction in Force sounds so impersonal, but let me tell you – it always stinks to get fired. It’s even harder when you love your job and thought you would be there for life.
To make ends meet, he started his own renovations business, (just living the American Dream) and that’s when the hoarding began. Between the reduced income levels (With four kids and a wife at home to still take care of) and the constant need for different tools and supplies on jobs, he started holding on to everything. He justified it by saying, “I might need that someday.” (Sounding familiar yet?)
Over time, spaces filled up. The “workroom” became a cluttered mess of tools and small odds and ends. Part of the family room fell victim to the collection of “things for jobs.” He filled an aluminum shed in the back yard and built a huge, two-story wood shed. Another aluminum shed joined the collection. Sadly, items that entered these storage areas simply never came out again.
Of course, my brothers and I being who we are, we did find some humor in this. We never had to worry about being robbed – because most people were kind of freaked out by the house. Getting locked out was no problem. The main garage door was always unlocked - you just had to be able to navigate your way to the top of the five-foot pile and carefully climb across.
There was also the time my brother dug out metal from the hoard and was pounding out some copper. He wanted to sell it to buy a ring for his girlfriend. When the neighbor asked if our dad would be upset by that, he laughed. “Upset? You think he’ll ever notice it’s gone?!” (To answer that question – nope, Dad never noticed the missing scrap metal, but I’m also not sure what kind of ring John managed to get with the proceeds.)
Items were left in the yard, and the city would send a letter out about once a year saying that it had to be cleaned. (We all groaned, my mother secretly danced a jig because he would be forced to get rid of at least some stuff) That’s when the storage sheds came into play.
He still couldn’t bear to part with his items, so he would rent sheds to move the hoard and avoid any fines from the city. We won’t even discuss the costs of said storage sheds. His fear of tossing something valuable overrode any concern he had about that actual monthly expense and the checks that would be written. Today, as owners of a junk hauling business, we love getting calls to clean out sheds because we know that we’re helping people save their sanity and a nice little chunk of change every month.
My father passed away 10 years ago, and left behind a 2600-square-foot house filled with stuff. This included a crawlspace under the family room, the one-car garage, three on-site sheds, and three off-site storage units. The day before his funeral, a 40-yard dumpster landed in the yard and we quickly filled it.
Old tools, useless job supplies, broken items, general garbage – into the dumpster it went. The leaky canoe that hadn’t seen water in 30 years? That was actually the first thing to go. Usable tools and building materials were donated, sold, or even given away.
All types of household items that still had some life in them were sent to chartable thrift stores.Scrap metal went to the recycling center.
I don’t know how many miles I racked up on my little minivan shoving things in and taking it all over time. I do know that my mother rented about 8 dumpsters over the course of four years – and we got really at packing things in and filling the little nooks and crannies so that we can save a little money on the rentals.
Every time we cleared another space, we cheered. The memories are a little fuzzy as we just tried to get the hoard out so that my mom would have somewhere safe and enjoyable to live. However, the house became a little more pleasant with every trip.
It took us four years to clean out the property because we all lived out of town by then. We traveled in for long weekends and holidays to help my mom sort and clear out. Yes, we also hired junk haulers to handle certain aspects of the cleanout, including the huge wooden shed in the back yard and the off-site storage sheds. Looking back – I wish we had just hired someone to do the entire job for us. It would have been faster, easier, and less stressful. Plus, I could have avoided the weird nightmares…
Although, there were some humorous moments in the cleanout. Famous statements included:
"Oh look - I forgot we had that closet. Please tell me it's not still full of food." (It was - and the newest item had expired 10 years before)
"There's a ROOM there?!" (Uttered by a friend who's been in the house countless times - she had always just thought it was a pile of stuff leaning up against the wall. Nope - it was an entire ROOM piled with stuff)
"An unopened box of Jell-O gelatin from 1976? Somebody check the eBay value on this!"
So when my husband looked at me last year and said, “Hey, I saw this great business opportunity for veterans….” I went, “Well, it’s not like we don’t know anything about hauling junk.”
My oldest brother teases me. “Who knew that all those years of moving dad’s junk would give you marketable skills?” And we laugh, but there’s also some truth to it, because I’ve been on your side of the fence.
I’ve listened to someone I love inspect an odd piece of metal, determine that he does not know what it goes to and likely cannot use it, and then keep it anyway.
I’ve watched the family arguments as one group pleads to have the house cleaned out and another person says, “But it’s my stuff and I don’t want to get rid of it.”
I’ve emptied a room only to discover mildew along the baseboard and damage to the sheetrock from hidden water leaks.
I’ve looked at a huge (ugly) china cabinet and gone, “How are we gonna get rid of this?”
I’ve struggled to find the energy to spend another day sorting and cleaning and just trying to get the stuff out.
I’ve been the person standing there when a contractor walks into the house, looks around, and says, “What the ***** happened here?” Yes, we know it’s a mess. Yes, it’s an embarrassment. No, I really didn’t need you to point it out.
As a result of living with a hoarder, I have all types of skills now that others may not possess. We appreciate how important it is to treat every client with respect and integrity. We don't equate anyone's worth as a human being with the cleanliness of their house, and that shines through in our great service. My father was a talented, generous man with amazing skills – and he had the funniest stories from his days in the military and beyond. He also had a dysfunction that can be impossible to live with, but that did not negate his worth as a human being, friend, or family member.
It doesn’t matter if you made the mess, you’re dealing with someone else’s hoard, or you’re just trying to get rid of some old furniture that’s been down in the basement too long. We’re not judging, and we’re not making rude comments. We’re here to help, and we’re ready to answer those burning questions for you.
Can we take care of this? Yes. Yes, we can.
Are we going to recycle and donate what we can? Yes, we will.
Will we take great care to avoid damaging anything in the home or on the property? Absolutely
.Oh, and for the record, don’t apologize to us for the mess. What came before doesn’t matter. What’s important today is that you’re ready to clean things up, and we’ll handle the heavy lifting (and even the bagging) for you. After all, we want to see you take your home from cluttered to beautiful, just as we did with my mom’s house
JDog is a veteran-owned and -operated company offering services in Brunswick, OH, and throughout Northeast Ohio. We believe in treating our clients with courtesy, respect, and integrity. We take pride in our work, and we’re ready to handle the challenging junk hauling projects that you’re dealing with.
Appliance Removal, Junk Hauling, and More
Disposing of old appliances and televisions is harder than you might think, but we’re prepared to help you. We can handle everything from broken hot tubs to mattresses and swingsets. We’ll clean up your living space while you sit back and relax. You’ll appreciate our competitive rates as well as our prompt responses.
We’re fully insured for your peace of mind, and you’ll love how we do our work with integrity, respect, and trust. Give us a call today at 330-242-3069 to request your no-hassle consultation.
#1 Veteran Owned Junk Hauling Company Now Serving the Greater Cleveland, Akron, Lorain, and Medina Areas