don’t let it get like that in the first place

Due to the vagaries of life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness, I’ve ended up with “clean out somebody’s basement” on my to-do list. I started today – nobody helping me, I was just planning to do as much as I could and get an idea for the larger repercussions (and help needed in the future) of the whole project.

The basement in question suffered at least a 20- to 24-inch flood sometime in the past few years due in large part to a bad sump pump, and I knew that going in. What I didn’t know is that the person responsible for this particular basement was about one empty box of Tide away from being on that TV show Hoarders.

(Quick aside – I am not judging. Well, maybe a little. I freely admit that I am a bit of a pack rat and tend to have “collections” of things that other people would think were more appropriate for use as bonfire fuel. I’ve gotten better, and certainly the prospect of moving from a 1,900 sq. ft. house with an attic, full basement & 2-car garage to an 1,130 sq. ft. apartment with none of those things has caused me to take a very hard look at what was worth keeping & what needed to get donated, given away or taken to the dump.)

I got 12 bags of trash out of one SMALL area of the VERY LARGE basement – that’s all that would fit into my little van, so that’s where I had to stop. When I go back to finish the job, I’m taking a friggin’ army with me – and equipping them with those little breather mask filter thingies because so much of what’s piled up in the basement is covered with mold and mildew.

(Before I get too far & this gets all serious & shit, let me take a moment to tell you one funny thing – I took my “extra” big garbage can to use, along with a box of garbage bags I had from down in my own basement. Turns out the garbage can needs 33 gallon bags & the box contained 30 gallon bags. You’d think, size-wise, they’d be a lot closer together, but you’d be wrong. Instead of having a convenient garbage can into which I could toss stuff, after I used the bag that was already in there, I spent the rest of the morning holding a garbage bag in one hand & stuffing it with the other like a total dumbass.)

The task desperately needs completing, but holy crap, even just the little bit I did today was horrifying.

People, don’t let your basement get like that – or any other room. What happens if you die and somebody else has to clean it out? They will, despite their deep and abiding love for you, curse your name 17 times a minute the whole time they’re working down there. Do yourself – and them – a favor. Go check your sump pump and commit to cleaning out your basement. Get anything made of paper or stored in cardboard a couple of feet (at least) up off the ground. Put one of those little pine-tree looking (and smelling) things down there, and do something to prevent the buildup of mold.

Mold can kill you, no doubt about that. Do something about it NOW before it hurts or kills you – or somebody you love.

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