Thursday, August 26, 2010

In a Hoarder’s Home, Going All Out to Find the Floor


The door to the apartment would open only six inches. The owner squeezed himself inside, grabbed the top rung of a wooden bed frame and hoisted himself over a mountain of objects — a stepladder, a bird cage, a pile of wood planks — until he was standing atop a waist-high ridge made of the flotsam of his life.

here was a batting helmet. A telephone shaped like a sports car. A tea-colored lampshade. A dozen broken umbrellas hung in a neat row from the bed frame, rising from the rubble like the mast on a shipwreck. The floor was entirely hidden. Over there — the man pointed toward a boulder of suitcases blocking a doorway — was the kitchen.

The owner of all this, the occupant of the 500-square-foot apartment in the Bedford Park section of the Bronx, is a trim 54-year-old with short white hair, a thin gray mustache and a nervous, high-pitched voice. He asked not to be named for fear of public shame..." More

Photo: Michael Appleton for The New York Times

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