Am I Being Too Obsessive In Cleaning Up My Attics And Crawlspaces? - General DIY Discussions - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 11-21-2011, 05:34 AM   #1
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Am I being too obsessive in cleaning up my attics and crawlspaces?

Well, I bought this 1957 home a few months ago. I don't really like old houses but it's just for the kids (good schools).

So we moved in.

There used to be rats infestation in this house but no no more. I hired an exterminator to seal all the entry points and have traps.

There were rats on the attic and crawlspace too. So I hired the insulation companies to remove batt insulation in the attic. For now I have no insulation for easier clean-up, sealing and some electrical work. The insulation guys told me that they have used vacuum to suck everything out already. But when they are gone I found out that there were still locations with rat poo here and there. After they have left, I must have spent like 10 hours up there in the attic, wearing facemasks and coverups to remove the stuffs that they haven't removed: lotta wood pieces here and there. Nails, bricks, etc. Now my attic is pretty clean. Only at this point did I feel comfortable to let the insulation guys coming back to put on insulation.

The same is for the crawlspace. I have crawled down there picking up woods, old pipes, hundreds ft of old communication/phone wirings, bricks, tons of nails, coke cans, tools, paper, light bulbs etc.. I must have removed 100 lbs of stuffs from the crawl space. And I am not 100% done yet.

My wife kept complaining that I spent too much time cleaning up the attic and crawl space. For her, out of sight, out of mind. She doesn't really care. But for me, just a thought of having trash in those hidden places irritates me a lot and I just have to do it. Am I being too obsessive? do you guys clean up the attics/crawlspaces and you really don't care?


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Old 11-21-2011, 06:47 AM   #2
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If you feel better for having the areas truly clean ---then the work was not wasted.


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Old 11-21-2011, 06:56 AM   #3
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nothing wrong with that
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Old 11-21-2011, 07:08 AM   #4
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If you need to ask on the Internet, maybe a little crazy.
But as long as you're happy, and live far(far) away from me, go for it.
One rat pooh is one too many.
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Old 11-21-2011, 09:01 AM   #5
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If it were me, I'd rather have it all cleaned out too.... fewer places for rats to live and build nests if they decide to come back.

Make sure to seal your attic before the guys come back to insulate. You don't want the rats getting back in. And, it will save you money on your heat bill.

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Old 11-21-2011, 09:41 AM   #6
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Obsessive? Maybe a little.....but that is not a bad thing....

Lets look at this objectively....

You cleaned up the mess....I don't like rat crap either....

In the process, you also had a good look at your attic and crawl space. By now, if something else looked wrong, I'm sure you would have seen it. It's a lot easier to look at your wiring with the insulation out of the way. Good time to look for any water damage from a leaky roof. Hard to see that stuff with insulation in the way.

Of course you need to get the insulation back up there pretty quick...especially with the cold weather approaching...

You don't have your location in your profile....but if you live in an area where termites are is the time to look for them. Tale tale signs are what looks like saw dust...but a lot more round....with everything clean, if you have active termites, you might be able to see if any are in the attic. If you see the 'saw dust', look straight up.

This is also a good time to add lights.

It's also a great time to install sheathing....after they insulate...toss down some 1/2 CDX or OSB and screw it to the ceiling joists. Makes it a lot easier to walk stuff....and keep it clean....and you will be able to see those termite turds a lot easier....
Even if you are on the right track, you will still get run over if you just sit there.

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Old 11-21-2011, 10:38 AM   #7
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And if you ever need to sell unexpectantly or in a hurry, you are clean and ready to go. When Buyers see trashy corners it does not convey a sense of pride of ownership. A clean well maintained home always offers peace of mind.
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:53 AM   #8
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Take photos of the cleaned up job an save them for when you decide to sell. They will answer many questions easily. - What does a digital photo cost if you don't have to print it immediately.

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Old 11-21-2011, 11:03 AM   #9
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I say yes....and no.

It's not unusual in an old house (and for the record I don't think of 1958 as old. More like adolescent.) to find stuff strewn around in the hidden parts of it. I'm renovating a 1925 house and there is stuff everywhere. the attic, which is accessible by built-in stairs, has a floor, and is about 600 sq. ft, has all sorts of crap in the eaves...stuff from previous reroofings, lumber scrap from when the house was built, and old expansion tank, etc. Some of it I cleaned out.

The oddest thing I've found was when pulling up part of the kitchen floor and subfloor, the joist area was filled with dirt and rocks. And pop bottles from when the house was built and other detritus the workmen left behind. I mean filled. And it was over 15' foot underground entrance walkway to our basement. I contemplated cleaning it out but I had no place to put the dirt and there were chunks of what looked like asbestos in there so I elected just to seal it all up. It's part of the history of the house so I best leave it

It's your house. If it makes you feel better cleaning it up then it's time well spent. But it ain't gonna hurt anything if you leave it there, other than perhaps your sense of order.
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:04 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by concretemasonry View Post
Take photos of the cleaned up job an save them for when you decide to sell. They will answer many questions easily. - What does a digital photo cost if you don't have to print it immediately.


This is a very good suggestion!
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Old 11-23-2011, 07:59 PM   #11
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Being Obsessive

This is a matter of individual taste. If you feel more comfortable and at peace that you have cleaned up your attic, then that is all that really counts. But be reasonable as well. If your wife needs you elsewhere in the house, then know when to call it quits.


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