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This is a question Hoarding

Willenium says: I had to bring some floppy disks into work which I had been saving for 10 years "in case I might need them". Tell us when your hoarding skills have come in useful (or not, as the case may be)

(, Thu 3 May 2012, 14:03)
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A tale of two lofts
A few winters ago, I discovered that the council not only subsidised loft insulation, but would come and fit it for you; and I decided to avail myself of this bounty. They told me to make sure the space was clear and accessible. Not having been into the space before that point, I could see no reason why it wouldn't be clear. After all: providing access required that I cut a new hatch. No previous access must imply there being nothing to shift, surely?

Or not. In the loft-space were bags and bags' worth of lath and plaster waste. Maybe this had been left by the builders. Maybe. But the builders wouldn't also have left several bags of wallpaper stripping, or an inflatable paddling-pool. Rather than take this stuff to the bin, a previous owner had plainly decided that it's be much less bother to leave this stuff in the loft, and then seal it all in. It took my dad and me all day to shift it.

And then I moved house. The new place was a fixer-upper, and - once again - I decided that now was a good time to get loft insulation done. This time, there was a loft-hatch; but it was at the time small, and there was no ladder. The insulation guy struggled up to pop his head through the hatch, and shone a torch.
"There's a bit of rubbish up here," he said. "You'll have to shift it before we can do anything."
No problem. With only a small hatch and no latter, there couldn't be much. The previous owner had been elderly and infirm, too, so wouldn't have been able to shift a great deal up there. And one of the things the builders were about to do was to make the hatch bigger, with a ladder, and to wire in some light up there. Like I said: not a problem.

I should have known better. Ladder and light installed, I ventured up.

I still don't know how so much crap could have been stored up there and not fallen through the ceiling of the rooms below. There were piles of old clothes, old eiderdowns, a the components of a broken radiogram, cutlery, a couple of carpets, crockery and glassware, book after book of schematics for 1960s kit-cars, and a couple of wardrobes - among much else.

Having expected to be able to clear the loft in a couple of trips to the tip, it was clear that that was simply not going to be possible. It'd take five, ten, maybe more. And I'd still be left with the bits of wardrobe: even dismantled, I'd struggle to get them into the back of a Punto.

This was going to need a skip. Pricey, perhaps: but less faff, and I was prepared to take the hit.

The rubbish from a loft with - remember - a small access hatch and no ladder almost filled an 8-cubic-yard container. By the time I'd finished the task, there were several carrier bags' worth of dust clinging to me: I looked like I'd just escaped from Pompeii. When the loft was finally cleared, I swear I heard the whole house sigh in relief. I think it might have risen a few inches up from its foundations, too.
(, Fri 4 May 2012, 9:47, closed)

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