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Misc. Cleaning Tips

 “Never agree to sleep at the cleanup house.” 

“Watch for sharp knives everywhere. I think everyone needs a recent tetanus shot, before they go in. Don’t get discouraged when people take breaks that seem kind of long. It is sometimes necessary to take a break that seems to those of us that have planned this event to be too long.”

“When I did the BIG clean-out, I hired several guys from the day-labor company. If you’ve got a budget that can afford that (not real expensive but you need a couple of hundred bucks), the extra hands come in handy. It’s was less expensive than hiring the disaster clean-up companies. I was the work supervisor, made the clean-up tasks list and provided the cleaning.”

Find USDA recommended storage limits for refrigerated and frozen food

“Contact the township office or the water department of your city for information on getting water tested for a variety of impurities. Hardware stores sell home test kits for individual toxins such as lead. They usually come with a special clean bottle for the sample. You can sneak it into the bathroom as a sort of reverse drug test.”

“We designated the least hoarded room for all of the soft items, clothing, blankets, etc. Once those were all in one huge (and I mean HUGE!) pile, it was easier to rid the rooms of other stuff. We only did a partial cleanout for now but only made good progress when we put all of the clothing in one room.”


“There are companies that pick up old appliances and others that pick up scrap metal so give them a call. See if Salvation Army (or other charitable group) will come by and pick up the donate-able stuff so you don’t have to haul it yourself. “

“I’d add these to the list: extension cords (you may not be able to access most of the outlets, assuming the electricity is even still turned on), a camp toilet, light bulbs, a couple of portable work lights, batteries to test whether stuff works, a magnifying glass to look at jewelry (manufacturers names, etc.), a space heater (if it’s winter and there’s a chance the house might not be heated), a clipboard to take notes. For this particular cleanup, I’m also wondering if a shovel might be helpful, since the person says that animals might have gotten into the househorrible as it sounds, there may be deceased squirrels, chipmunks, birds, or whatever, that he or she doesn’t want to pick up with just gloves on.”

“Along the lines of the oven timer suggestion if you really worry about the overwhelming nature of a task and FINISHING on a deadline, I encourage everyone to list the goals and try to break them down into priorities and time- frames before you even go there. (This assumes you KNOW what you’re getting into; I know some folks haven’t seen the place in years.) It’s obvious stuff like clear the stairs FIRST if getting things out of the basement is a top priority. Obvious, yes, but when you walk in and survey the disaster all around it would be very easy to get distracted.”

“I totally advise against working alone unless you absolutely have to. It breaks my heart to imagine anyone who really has no choice but to go it alone.”

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