FAIRBANKS – Rapidly increasing sunlight each day, warmer temperatures and familiar smells in the air; spring is just around the corner. And with this seasonal change comes the infamous ‘spring cleaning’.
While some humans may be looking forward to spring cleaning, for others it can be a daunting expectation. Earlier this winter I had the opportunity to document, explore, and scavenge a hoarding site just outside of Fairbanks at temperatures nearing -40 F.
The site was the home and storage area of an elderly couple who had spent many years compiling their earthly possessions. I was informed that they came from a time and place (The Great Depression) where saving every last item was a must.
Before even entering the main living domicile, my party and I began exploring the numerous storage sheds and piles of possessions outside. As I started to unearth boxes in one shed, I noticed that each box contained various mushrooms and vegetation from the woods surrounding Fairbanks. These must have been items that squirrels or birds had been caching during the previous fall.
The sheer enormity of the hoarded material was difficult to document. Below I have included a picture of items piled outdoors because there wasn’t enough storage space to contain them.
Much of the interior of the house had already been cleaned out by the elderly couple’s grandson. But when he led me to an almost hidden storage area, I was greeted by one of the most extreme indoor hoarding stashes I have ever seen. The smell in the air, years of human skin and dust accumulation, was almost too much to handle. I spent a few hours climbing around in the dusty indoor room and as a result, I suffered respiratory unpleasantness for at least 24 hours.
Spring cleaning probably never occurred in this Fairbanks home in over 30 years.
The grandson of the hoarders is currently trying to clean up the property. Many of the items hoarded are in very good condition and the amount of craft supplies the couple saved is staggering. If you are interested in obtaining, or hoarding, anything from the site, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org so I can get you in communication with the owner who is looking to sell.
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Fairbanks International Airport, AK
Last Updated on Jun 20 2013, 12:53 am AKDT
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