I bought a fixer-upper house with more than 20+ years worth of junk in the basement. None of it was mine. None of it was cleared out even after giving the occupants an extra 60 days to dispose of garbage and clean out their stuff. It was the absolute grossest and most disgusting thing I’ve had to do thus far as a homeowner. I’m not even going to post pictures of what it looked like (or what it currently looks like) and it’s probably the bravest thing I’ve ever done- DIY Gnarly Basement Cleanout Project.
Here are my tips- SAFETY FIRST! If you have allergies to mold, mildew, dust and other basement oddities hire a professional cleaning service. I hired a local service “Haul it All” to help clear out, demo and break down debris and take dump runs and am still working on cleaning the walls, floor, and ceiling. Another one to check out is ServePro and they offer a variety of different services that can be extremely helpful with Gnarly Projects. The closest one to me in northern NH is in Concord: https://www.servproconcordnh.com/ceilings-walls
Recently I found a fully functional shop vacuum for $40 and bought it from a guy on Facebook knowing my household vacuum would not be a good fit for this type of job. I highly recommend doing this or borrowing one from a friend so you don’t ruin a regular vacuum and have yet another cost to bare. The last step in my gnarly basement project is to get a heavy duty face mask or respirator- I have great lungs for singing and skiing, I’d like to keep them that way. So after a few glasses of wine and with all the gear on it will be time to suck up all the dead mice, chipmunk droppings and questionable funk on the walls and floor. Did I mention heavy duty gloves and protective clothes might be a good idea as well?
After a hearty vacuum the plan is to take a mixture of Borax and water, as well as bleach and water and spray away the funk, followed by a scrub. Here is a great site that gives you a break down of how to mix substances and how to remove odors and gnarly funk from the basement: https://ezbreathe.com/removing-basement-odors/