A woman who hadn’t deep cleaned her house in seven years, or slept in her bed for two due to clutter, met her match when someone came to fill a skip’s worth of stuff
A woman who hadn’t slept in her bedroom for two years, and hadn’t deep cleaned her home in seven, was whipped into shape by someone who said they “have to clean the door handles [in their home] up to 200 times a day.” Thirty-nine-year-old Louise from Royston, Hertfordshire, spends 40 hours per week cleaning, and said she wants to always be “presenting perfection.”
But this couldn’t be further from the truth for 58-year-old Sarah, from Ealing, Cambridgeshire, who was living in and amongst 15 years worth of clutter, describing herself as a “Womble”, as she’ll “see something in a skip and will go and get it and find a use for it.”
Appearing on an episode of
Channel 4’s Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners
back in 2013, OCD-diagnosed Louise shared that she spends £200 a month on cleaning products alone, sharing that her time in the prison service, where she spent a lot of time surrounded by uncleanliness, made her think she “couldn’t behave in any other way”, other than to be constantly cleaning.
But Sarah was the opposite as in her home there were over 1,000 dresses, 50 coats, and “countless” accessories as she owns a vintage stall. She shared that she wanted to “get rid of the clutter” but ended up hoarding more, admitting that it’s now “smothering” her as she’s been sleeping on the sofa for two years due to the clutter in her bedroom, sharing that: “Both the bedrooms upstairs are completely full.” Sarah also had three sheds and a gazebo full of her wares.
As Louise entered Sarah’s home for the first time, she looked mortified, and Louise said that being in a home with so little space reminded her “of being in a prison cell”, saying it was “oppressive” with “no space to breathe.” She became so overwhelmed with the situation that she had to go outside for a breather, likening the home to a “warren.”
Sarah tried to defend the amount of stuff she said, sharing that it all holds memories for her, but Louise then took that as an opportunity to share her daily routine with her. She said she gets up at 5.30am each morning, cleans the house from top to bottom, and then does it all again in the afternoon when her two sons get home so she can retain “order.” Sarah was shocked by this admission.
Louise then became concerned about what she may “encounter” whilst in Sarah’s home, saying: “I was itching to get out of there”, but she was determined to help Sarah take “ownership” of the space that hadn’t been deep cleaned in seven years. Sarah was then urged by Louise to be more “ruthless” when it came to binning her stuff, and Louise said she didn’t feel Sarah was challenging herself enough – but Sarah refuted that and said they’d made “huge progress.”
When the skip was only a quarter full after two of the four days, the two women came to blows as Louise accused Sarah again of not taking it seriously enough. She said she was going to try and be “polite”, but then things took a nasty turn between the pair.
Sarah again said that “It’s all progress”, but Louise accused her of not hearing her voice, then they had an argument where Sarah explained she thought that they’d “met in the middle”, but Louise didn’t agree. Sarah then said: “We’ve got a grown-up job to do”, urging her to help her get on with it – but this didn’t sit well with Louise as she announced: “Chuck some f**king stuff out of your house then for Christ’s sake!”, storming out of the house branding Sarah as “rude.”
Thankfully, the pair managed to reconcile the next day as Louise went back and the pair hugged it out and began cleaning again, adding the final touches to the home. And when Sarah’s friend Janet went round to look at the progress, she dubbed it as “unrecognisable.”
The bedroom was also finally clutter-free so it could be used as part of her new “inviting and warm space”, and Sarah admitted that it was “lovely to have it [her bed] back again.” The back room had also been arranged as a “workspace” and wasn’t clutter-free, but had been arranged to make it more manageable, and the “volume of stock” had been massively reduced. Sarah was really grateful for Louise’s time and in emotional scenes, the pair bid their farewells.
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