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Warning: Graphic Images, Viewer Discretion Advised

So... I have told you all that my family is moving to another house, a house that has been abused by previous tenants and is filthier than any home I have ever seen.   I would definitely, after one walk through of this place, believe that it could easily have been featured on one of those television programs like Hoarders or How Clean is Your House.  The house is so dirty that a national cleaning company I scheduled to give me a bid on cleaning it declined the job after walking through it.    

Would you like to step in and take a look around? Grab your haz-mat suit and come on in.

I am going to show you some gross images, but I will spare you pictures of the toilets.   I'll just say that a plumber had to manually remove a bucket, an almost full 5 lb bucket that is, four letter word comes to mind.  I'm sure you all are glad I decided to forgo that photo.

Below is a random example of the dirt that along the baseboards.

This is every cooks dream kitchen here.
Kitchen sink (these were taken after a plumber came out and manually removed some of whatever it is into a bucket)

Kitchen Flooring...a vintage, worn and weathered look that must have taken years to achieve.
(including a shot of one of the many gifts left by one of what I imagine were their many animals)
Wouldn't you love to lick the knife that came out of this drawer...

or to stir your morning coffee with this spoon left on the counter?
Hey kids, want a snack from the pantry?

Rat poisoning in the pantry????where food is kept???? I missed this my first time through the house and then cried when I saw it and the open bait tray full of more of it on the opposite shelf.
And speaking of foodstuffs, I can hardly wait to prepare our first meal at the new house on this stovetop.
I was just informed today that the dishwasher door does not close.  It doesn't look like this ever cleaned anything.
Shawn is out in the garage for spray down number three with a high pressure sprayer.  First he sprayed with straight water.  Didn't work.  Next he bought a gallon of commercial cleaner for garage floors.  It helped.  Third was a commercial degreaser.  It helped more and removed a lot but after a day of drying it out it still stinks.  Hopefully bleach and the fourth cleaning will do the trick.
I even got to practice my limbo skills because the little crack you see in the garage door is all that it will open (new garage door has since been installed) and when I walked out to talk to him I closed the door to the house behind me and it locked.  I got to squeeze under the garage to get back into the front door.  That's another photo you would not want to see.

How do tire marks this large get on interior doors?  Forget about that...take a look at the door itself.  Can you see everything that has been spilled, splashed, smeared and splattered here? SSSScary

Do you need decorating ideas for your teenagers room?  How about  posters of Little Wayne and glow in the dark marijuana stickers with correlating burn marks on the wall and an open vent full of cigarettes and trash?  I admit I didn't know who Little Wayne was until Michael walked in the room with me and immediately ripped a picture of him off the wall telling me the rapper is a satanist.  

Are you feeling you need to wash up after this?  No worries, I have the perfect spot and it is all inclusive of everything you'll need to feel completely pampered, renewed and squeaky clean.  
Let's take a quick stop by the guest bath. 
What's this you say?   Well, this is the wash basin complete with a bar of soap floating atop.  Don't worry, you'll have another chance to wash up before the house tour is over.

After I saw the above bowl of water and soap and the state (overflowing) of the commodes, I had a gut wrenching feeling that people may have lived in this house with no running water for a few days, a week...longer????   This is just as we found it.

The main living room is a large room, about 50 feet long by maybe 15-18 feet wide and is slightly divided with partial walls.  There is not a lot going on here except that there are holes, very grimey, sticky walls and it just really needs some patching, cleaning and a decent paint job.

I was a little baffled as to why a fence post was in the living room.

Might I mention the quality of the paint job...

One thing..haha... I don't like about the house is that the laundry room is just a big closet.  It seems more suited to an apartment or condo, but things could be worse.  Or could they?  

 Ashton and I wound up cleaning the laundry room out ourselves. Shawn pretreated the floor with a disenfectant cleaner and we let it soak overnight.  I mopped the floor here 7 times.  The first three buckets of water (mixed with bleach) were almost black. Absolutely filthy!  After I got the floor clean I scrub, scrub, scrubbed it.  Once I finished scrubbing I realized just how dirty the walls, interior of the door frame and the shelving were.  Ashton and I got a chair and ladder and washed the walls from the ceiling down to the baseboard.  It took us about an hour and a half just to get this little room clean.

Feeling dirty again?  How about a nice soak in the tub?

While Ashton and I cleaned the laundry room, my other adventurous daughter, Kalyn, took on the Jack and Jill bath above.  This tub had standing water in it when we looked at the house.  The above photo was taken the day after Shawn poured straight bleach into/onto it to let it soak.  Believe it or not, it already looked better than when we saw it.  Kalyn had to use one full bottle of scrubbing bubbles to completely cover the walls around the tub/shower.  You could just see all of this grimey dirt washing down the walls and into the tub.  I didn't take pictures of the sinks in here but one is completely stopped up and full of muddy looking water.  The no way could I post a picture of that.

  These are just some random pics taken around the house, showing the general condition it is in:

I don't even smoke but I could use a cigarette about now.  Oh, I'm in luck...someone left me a butt by the sink.

I think we should have some refreshments out on the deck just off my bedroom.

Comfy seating is only a flip away...

I meant to tell you to bring your kids...lots of bicycles to choose from here.

Well, I think I'm going to wrap up the tour for now.  Going back inside the door....

...for a nice, hot shower. 

No kidding around now.  I just met a neighbor who told me that the people who had lived here were running a day care center out of this house!  Can you imagine dropping your child, any child, off here to be looked after? 

I'm joining:

Kim at Savvy Southern Style
Susan at Metamorphosis Monday 
Sherry at No Minimalist Here


  1. you are a lot braver than I to tackle that house!! I don't think I could do it. I can't wait to see the after pictures when you are finished with the house!

  2. Nancy, What a mess!! How do people live like this? I hope you got a great deal on the rent because you have lots of work ahead of you. Thanks for sharing this at my party and thanks for not sharing the toliets!

  3. Wow, Nancy, I don't know what to say. Well, this house has definitely been abused. Now get some rest and remember to suit up tomorrow when you go scrub! :)
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  4. God Bless Nancy! But... If anyone can make that into a home... I know YOU can!!! My thoughts and prayers are with you and the family for an "easier than it looks" transition :)


  5. I wish I could say I have seen worse, but... I am sure you wil turn this into a gem! The house seems to have great bones, just really abused skin! Clorox, primer and paint are amazing things!! Krud Kutter is also a fabulous cleaner!

  6. Nancy!
    You get the Bravery Award....!

  7. Oh dear. Wear gloves/mask. Be careful. What a huge task. Will any cleaning company come in once you did the first horrible cleaning jobs? Hope you have time to post again in awhile just so we'll know you are ok.
    - Joy

  8. OMG!!!! Nancy...what have you gotten yourself into? They should pay you for the first six months to live there and clean it up. What a nightmare!!! I see it has potential but oh....I've never seen such filth. My heart goes out to you.

  9. I too appreciate not seeing the toilets! I was in Real Estate for ten years and saw a few places that looked just as bad as this one and wondered how people lived like animals. I've even remodeled a house or two but wouldn't want to do it again. You have sooooo much sympathy from me! I pray you have the strength to see this through 'cause it's gonna take some time, money and a lot of work!

    Hugs XX

  10. This reminds me of a home we bought once. I cried and cried. We were gagging the whole time. But I tell you, it was gorgeous in a couple of months. Oh, I know you are doing a LOT of work. I wish I had a word of encouragement. I KNOW it will be beautiful when the work is done.

  11. It surprises me that people so gross and filthy ever bothered to paint their home. What a creepy mess. I'm sure you will make it a sparkling jewel!

  12. Sweetie, is this place even safe? Maybe you should have the Health Dept. inspect. The only deal I can imagine making this worthwhile, would be about 9 months rent free. Shame on the previous tenant, but, shame on the property owner even showing the property like this. I wish you the best of luck. And good health.

  13. Nancy, I am at a loss for better be getting free rent out of this......and I hope all your beautiful possessions are in safe storage because you cannot bring anything in there for quite a while....uh uh, no, no.....keeping you in prayer.....Cleo

  14. Oh Nancy, what a mess! No, I would NOT take a child there. Horrible!! Why didn't the landlord arrange to clean it up before turning it over to you?? He should give you at least two months free rent for doing this work for him. The whole house needs to be soaked in bleach for a week!

  15. You have your work cut out for you. That mess reminded me of the last house we "saved". Many of the same problems. The laundry room was full of Cat boxes. After I scrubbed that room I was sick for 2 week. It was all worth it though and we made it home eventually and you will t00. Be sure to share your after picture

  16. Is it even legal to rent a house this dirty? My heart goes out to you.

  17. Oh dear Nancy, are they paying you to rent it? You've certainly took on a 'challenge' but I can actually imagine how good it is going to be when your done.
    Hope you have a deal on rubber gloves and masks with the supplier....
    I'll be thinking of you all, best wishes
    Rose H

  18. You are right,it is FILTHY!But I can see that it has so much potential!!!! I know someone as creative as you can whip this place into shape in no time at all! Please post "after" photos to go with all these "before" ! It has good bones!!! :-)

  19. I certainly hope you are NOT renting this mess! If the landlord gave it to you in this condition, I would run the other way, this is going to be a terrible landlord! Being a landlord myself I know that I could never give a house to a new tenant if it looked like this. We clean, repaint, clean carpets, and fix anything that doesn't look perfect or close to it. This is outrageous! I commend you for even walking inside let alone cleaning it yourself. Wow, it really is amazing how some people will live. Oh and daycare in this house, don't even get me started!! I'll be thinking about you...

  20. May God be with you. Don't forget to get your shots!! Look forward to see what you will do with it. Take care.

  21. Well, you had me laughing several times--the first from the marijuana leaf decor! Are you vacillating between humor and despair? You poor thing, it does look like it has potential, but digging through all of the dirt and nastiness--yuck. Please post whenever you need encouragement or have a small victory. Best of luck to you and your family, sweetheart.

  22. Dear Nancy,
    This is my first visit to your blog. I clicked over from Vintage Thingee Thursday. After I read today's post, I went to April 2 for the back story. Then I went through today's post again. I am so impressed by your positive energy and vision. Now that I've seen the "before," I am truly looking forward to the "during" and the "after" photos. Lynne

  23. Good Heavens, you have got to be kidding...that house will take a miracle and many, many, many hours to become inhabitable. Good luck getting it into shape, Nancy...I know it will be beautiful when you are finished.

  24. I could not help but laugh at the paint jobs! Who does that? LOL All kidding aside, I dont envy you having to clean all that up, I dont understand how some people live in filth like that and looks to me its a nice home with great bones. I have no doubt you will having it looking like a new penny soon:)

  25. Oh I feel your pain; our first house was in similar shape. It is shocking to discover how people live. We fumigated and cleaned the bathroom, painted and recarpeted the family room and lived in that one room with our 10-month old daughter while we tackled the rest of the house.

    We learned lots of skills along the way, but yikes -- I hope you own stock in a paint company, because lashings of paint are the best way to cover what's covering your walls and ceilings.

    How terrible to take a house and abuse it in such a way. I echo another comment -- wear gloves at all time, and a mask is also a good idea. You have no idea what's floating in that air.

    GOOD LUCK!!!

  26. Wow! I have never seen anything like it. You and your familys certainly have your work cut out for you. Good luck!

  27. You are brave! I can't imagine living like that & I fear that more people than we'd like to think do. Youv'e go a job on your hands for sure. It looks like it could be a really nice place though once you clean & fix it up. I hope you'll share the progress with us. I'm following you now! :)

  28. Do you really think that it is a safe home for you & your children? Could you not find a healthier environment in your price range? Perhaps if you scrimp & cut back your budget a bit you would be able to afford, if not a nicer place, a cleaner one. Good luck!

  29. Dear Anonymous,

    In the current condition of the home, no it would not be safe to live in and I would not have my children live here. Since I took these photos (over the past 5- days) we have already had some of the cleaning done, a new garage door installed, completely cleaned (sanitized) at least 1/2 the house and painted the bedroom that my girls will share. It is looking like another place already, just being clean and sanitary (will post more photos soon). The central air system was inspected yesterday and all the air ducts and vents are being cleaned next week, new filters installed, etc.


  30. Oh Nancy -- this is such a contrast to what we are used to seeing, lovely dishes and tablescapes, on your blog! I think you are the girl to do it! Joni

  31. Nancy, you poor thing. I do hope you had some place to go and shower after cleaning that awful place. It's so hard to think of people living in that filth, much less running a day care. I'm getting the creepy crawlies just reading about it.
    I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers,

  32. Nancy

    Good luck with your project house. You go girl!
    can't wait to see the after photos.

  33. Wow! I thought the house I bought was in an awful state, but now I feel like it's a castle! Do you have oyster shells in your garden? I've been picking up shells for two months now, and I still find some every day. I don't know, maybe they believed they grow! Can't wait to see what you'll do with the house.

  34. As I see your pics and read a previous post all I can say is you can see good bones to the house
    Maybe you could put all you boxes around stratically...don't let anything touch nothin... and call 'Clean House' on Style TV they have yard sales to make $$$ for makeover and other things are free. For all that work is the landlord givin you like a year free rent? Is it even up to code?! I know you like a fixer upper, but..really? I bet if we all lived closer we'd love to come help. We have a 'Spring Fling Cleaning Party!

  35. THe only thing that I can say is, "rent-free". May you have great success in getting it livable.
    Beckie in Brentwood, TN (think I'll go clean a bathroom!)

  36. Nancy, I just have one question. WHY did you take this place?! I admire your courage. And NO WAY can I imagine dropping off a child at this house.

    My best to you,

  37. OMG, I cannot believe some people can actually live anywhere as filthy as that. I would gag. I don't even think I can stay long enough to clean it. I feel for you and I feel sorry for you having to have to clean it up but I imagine, it will look 10 million times better after you are done and then you can call it home....Christine

  38. Oh my goodness Nancy, I've been out of touch with the blog world for a month or more so had to find you again and ... Okay - most of it does look like it's just cosmetic, tons of elbow grease and super strong cleaning chemicals like CLR or "The Works" for the bathrooms... The carpet looks like it's surprisingly kind of 'new'? But it probably reeks of smoke and who knows what's underneath it and into the pad you have a garden sprayer? The kind that is like a tank that has a strap so you sling it over your shoulder and then you have a metal wand attached? It's about 30 dollars and I use mine so much you wouldn't believe it. I fill it with half bleach and half water, pump, then spray and use it to clean my deck, my cedar siding every year (without damaging the wood - it lays it on smoothly and lightly and evenly and then you watch the 'ick' disapear - fall off) then you go back with a scrub brush or cloth to make sure it's really 'off'. I am actually going to suggest you try this method 'inside' for cleaning your walls and floors and tubs and God only knows what else! When are you moving in? How much time do you have?

    Oh, if you end up with brown or rust stains that just won't come out even after all the cleaning, there is a product called "Whink" (or is it Wink?) that I get at the grocery store, it comes in a rust colored bottle. It's not cheap but we have rusty water and it makes the rust stains 'disappear' in my sinks and toilets. I save it for when company comes or when I am doing spring cleaning (you don't mix it with water or dump it in water, put it right on the enamel, then rinse).

    Whoever lived there must have either been 'high' when they painted those walls - or maybe they made the daycare kids do it as a kid project! Unbelievable!

    Well thanks Nancy, my house is no gem, we really live in it and we get it dirty and we're busy so it's not as clean as I'd like it to be... but you just made me feel REALLY good about my own house right now! :)

    I'm sure you'll keep us posted on the transformation. I can't wait to see the "after" pics!

    Take care,


  39. I am not sure if anyone has suggested TSP for the garage floor...but I would try it. I used it believe it or not when I worked at a vet hospital. It gets the smell out of concrete. You may want to used it elsewhere from the looks of things too! Good luck!

  40. Before you do anything get the BUG MAN in there!!!!!

    Then BLEACH!!!!!!

  41. Holy cats afterme....what a mess!!! The reluctant blogger is right...TSP to the rescue!! You can use it on everything. Jane is also in the exterminators for the entire property....
    WOW....I have taken on a house in that shape a couple of times before, but they weren't that big!! I bought white paint in 5 gallon was my then best friend!!
    My thoughts and prayers are with you folks.

  42. Just just say this is not the kind of "shabby" Rachel Ashwell had in mind. :) Lots of elbow grease needed here and I am looking forward to the
    "after". :)

  43. Nancy, I thought you were gonna say that the neighbors claim a drug operation was in there!! No way for kids to be dropped off there and I feel for the kids that lived there. Girl, I hope ya'll have held hands and prayed for God's blessing on the property that you are "taking back" for the Lord.
    If anyone can resurrect her, will be you and your lovely family!! blessings to ya.

  44. I've been thinking about you. I hope everything is working out. I wish we could all come help.

    We are missing you on Pink Saturdays.♥

  45. that's pretty typical when you buy a foreclosure. Word of advice. Stop yourself now from seeing how terrible everything is. Our house was abused in the way that mahogany floors were painted or ripped out for linoleum. Glitter in paint on trim that is 100's of years old and was in good condition. But, long story short you never would have kept that carpet in that house even if in great condition. So just htink of it that way each time. Otherwise you will start to get depressed. Get excited that you are being green. You are taking a dirty house and turning into home and making it better than it ever was even when brand new probably. I can't wait to watch and see what you do!

  46. Oh my, that house has wonderful potential. I'm so glad you can see through the mess. It's going to look amazing with your wonderful sense of style. I can't wait to see the new pictures!

    You had me laughing all the way through!! I just love your humor.

  47. This is disgusting! I hope evething is coming along pretty girl! I can see this is a lot of work! You're going to make it look amazing, you have such wonderful taste and a good sense of what to do and how to! Wishing you the best with your new project. Can't wait to see it all finishes!

  48. You haven't posted for awhile. Are you okay???

  49. I can smell the stink through my computer screen.
    I bought a condo from a drug addict which was just about as filthy as your house. With lots of work, lots of breathing masks, and new appliances, we eventually moved in, lived in a really cute condo for 2 years, then more than doubled our money when we moved to a new city.
    Best wishes on turning this filthy place into a home. We look forward to progress photos.

  50. Wow. I know you are going to do great things with that space and I will be watching you from this side of the computer the whole time! Cheering you on! Seriously, I do think that great room could be really great. I know you will undercover the beauty! M.

  51. That's incredible. Wow. Great attitude you have. :-) You'll need to laugh.

  52. Omg Nanc !!! I laughed so hard as I could just hear your voice narrating this story...This is Lisa in Henryetta and I just found you on Etsy.. You will have this place fit for a Magazine in no time ! I know it is overwhelming but WHAT A BEFORE AND AFTER PROJECT ! Our new home was hit by a tornado last Year, (May 10th to be exact) and due to the Insurance company battle mold set in and it had to be ripped out so I feel for you guys ! We hadn't even moved in yet, we were about 60 days away from moving in and now we are there again..Lol...Tell Shawn I said Hi ! My new email is .. xxoo

  53. I know I've already read this post, so I'm back for another nightmare. Actually, since you haven't posted since this, I'm rather nervous that you and your family have been knocked unconscious by the extreme filth fumes from this place!

    I hope you are all OK and that progress is being made. You are one brave lady!
    Blessings to your cleaning crew... Cass

  54. I am so impressed! You are one brave woman! Can't wait to see your "after" pictures! Just be careful with any mold! Hope you guys are wearing masks! :)
    Good Luck!!!!

  55. Wow! You do have a lot of work ahead of you. But, it will be nice once it's all done. I have to admit, when we first moved in our home it was just about as bad... including the toilets! The man that lived here actually rebuilt engines in the master bedroom! No lie! Craziness.

  56. OK, does this landlord have a clue as to how lucky he is that YOU are renting this house???? Anyone else would have walked, change that to ran, away. But I know that you and your wonderful family will have this home looking amazing in no time at all.

    In the meantime I wish I could send some help your way!

    - The Tablescaper

  57. It's amazing how humen beings live worse then animals! Sick! These people need to be shot, yuck and a half. Your tranformation is fantastically beautiful!


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