Cleaning up your mess

I spent my weekend in Sussex, with my lovely mum. We had a great time, catching up, eating and pestering the dog.

Dusky the lurcher

But my visit was not just to chin wag and to get fat off my mum’s superb cooking. Oh, no. The deal is: my parents own a second house, three doors down from where they live. They rent out this second house, and make money. Hurrah! Well, for the last four years, a guy and his two (or was it 3? I can never remember) sons and their dog have lived there. (It just so happens that the youngest son used to bully me at school, but that’s neither here nor there…)

But, coming to the end of their tenancy this time around, they’ve decided they need to move on. Fair enough, says my mum, your contract ends on the 18th of September, so please have the place cleared up by then.

Mum puts out adverts for new tenants, and has an offer in no time. She agrees that they can move in on the 1st of October, which gives her two weeks to make sure the house is ready for a new family to move in. Hopefully, the last set of tenants are so eager to get their deposit back, they’ll have scrubbed the house top to bottom and fixed anything that they’ve managed to break.

But no. They weren’t even completely moved out by the 18th. I arrived at my mum’s on the 18th, and bright and early on the Sunday (19th) we expected to start on an empty, mostly clean house. NO, NO, NO. There were a dozen dead footballs in the garden, their old barbecue on the decking, two bikes leant against the house, and coathangers EVERYWHERE for some reason.

But Stuff is easy enough to toss in a skip. Less easy: mouldy wallpaper, mouldy curtains, broken window and dog hair, dust and spiders.

For me, the worst was the mould. It’s almost as if they didn’t open the windows for four years. All of the windows had some mould on them (although luckily the frames are plastic, not wood, so it should come of with no lasting damage), some of the curtains need completely replacing, and worst of all: my mum has to repaper half of a bedroom because it was so mouldy. I helped her strip the old, mouldy paper back:

We spent the whole day cleaning (9-6:30) but only scratched the surface. I hoovered my own weight in dog hair, and many a spider met a grim end.

Seriously though – how do people live like this? Why didn’t they see the mould and go “huh, probably should do something about that..”? And the guy came round halfway through the day to pick up some of his stuff (my mum foisted their rusty old barbecue and mangled footballs on him) – he had the utter CHEEK to ask how soon he could get his deposit back!! My mum simply shrugged him off by saying she was a bit busy at the moment. I am trying to encourage her to make an itemised bill detailing all of the ruined stuff that needs replacing, and explaining THAT’S why he doesn’t get his deposit back.

I’ll be back there next week to clean up some more of the mess.


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