Believe it or not: Treasure can be found under that massive huge pile of disparate objects scattered randomly throughout a hoarder/packrat’s home. Items considered to carry- monetary and historical value, or sentimental significance to family members. When my estate sale company is hired to help clean-up a hoarding situation in a home; it basically becomes a “treasure hunt” and we’ll leave no stone unturned when it comes to finding potential revenue for our clients.
As the CEO of an estate sale company, believe me, “I’ve seen my share of hoarding/packrat situations.” Let’s face it, most of us hoard, or collect stuff. With me, its cookbooks-over 300 cookbooks- to be honest. UGH!
Recently, I decided to reduce my cookbook allotment and with the help and compassion from my daughter, we were able to put together a few boxes of books for the Goodwill. Although, we accomplished this task, I literally went into a panic mode! How was I going to handle getting rid of any of my beloved cookbooks, which had been with me for years? Believe me- the declutter process can truly be traumatic to the individual who owns the items, but also to those who’ll ultimately be involved in addressing the mess.
Hoarding home hazards
First, ask this question: Have the items in the home been sitting around collecting dust and dust mites? Is there a presence of mold and mildew; bacteria, mice and mice feces, or bug infestations in the home? If the answer is yes, then you’ll definitely need to wear respirator masks, disposable gloves and wear goggles before searching for buried treasure.
Not all hoarding situations are hazardous. The hoarder may be quite organized; hoarding newly purchased/ or collectible items in a neat and orderly fashion.
Some time ago, I attended an estate sale where literally thousands of newly purchased clothes had been kept in a huge climate-controlled basement and had placed on hanging metal racks. Most apparel had never been removed from their original shipment packages. Additionally, under the racks were boxes of name-brand clothing and accessories for women. All pieces were in pristine condition due to their environment. This homeowner obviously suffered from-compulsive buying disorder (CBD), and bought whatever made her happy.
The estate sale company conducting the sale, ended up making over $90,000 in revenue for the estate, and the buyers walked away with some awesome deals.
The positive side of hoarding
If it had not been for hoarders, believe or not, we wouldn’t be able to retain some of those nostalgic items from our past. Hidden underneath all that clutter you might just find items of immense monetary or nostalgic value…treasure just waiting to be discovered.
A few years ago, we were hired to cleanup, organize and sell the belongings of a 93-year-old woman who had once owned a jewelry store during the mid-20th century, and was a hoarder. It took us over two months of sorting before we could finally conduct the estate sale.
Some of the treasures we found included a small bag of loose diamonds inside a flour canister in the kitchen; over 75-diamond rings set in 14k gold; and several diamond and fine gemstone jewelry sets.
Additionally, we found a coffee can full of rare silver dollars behind the refrigerator in a pile of dirt, and a large amount of cash stashed under the padded dining room table cover. In order to get to this table-top cover, we had to sort through a three-foot high pile of mail and miscellaneous paperwork.
One of the most valuable items we discovered in the backyard was inside a partially burned down shed. Although, the shed roof was literally about to cave in, we dug through the soot and uncovered a box containing vintage clothing-including three pairs of vintage 1960’s LEVIS blue jeans. We sold the jeans online for over $2,300!
Yet, another example of our company finding hidden treasure happened when we discovered a one-ounce 24-kt gold Krugerrand coin pendant on a heavy 14-k gold chain, along with a diamond ring and tennis bracelet. These items were found in a small jewelry case which had been concealed behind stacks of cookbooks on an antique stacking bookcase.
Yes, these are all examples of hidden treasure just waiting to be discovered inside a hoarder’s house. You never know where treasure might possibly be found; so always be watchful when decluttering someone’s home.