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2 freezers and 1 fridge filled with rotten food. What to do?

(13 Posts)
Rolf Tue 07-Aug-12 13:52:45

My dad died a few months ago, and he had 2 freezers filled to the brim with food, as well as his fridge. We cleaned out a lot of the house but didn't get to the fridge blush. We had also not got to the freezers. One of the freezers is in the shed and we haven't been out there for about 6 weeks (the house was burgled shortly after Dad died, and we've since made it more difficult to get to the garden).

I've just spoken to an electrician who was trying to fix the boiler and he told me that some plug sockets had been out of order for a good few weeks, including the one for the outdoor freezer. He's also had to turn off all the power as the house was dangerous.

So, these are the challenges facing me:

(1) The outdoor freezer will be full of meat and other food, and has been without power for at least a month. I'd like to get it lifted up, unemptied, and put straight into a skip. This might not be possible because, from the look of it, the shed was built around the freezer. And I'm not sure if it will fit through the door that leads to the driveway.

(2) The indoor freezer will have started defrosting today and is also full of food

(3) the fridge is switched off so everything in there will get smelly pretty quickly.

We can't see any way round it apart from hiring a skip, getting wellies and rubble bags and strong rubber gloves, and getting stuck in. I've phoned the council and they didn't have any advice. Oh, and my DH is away for a few weeks so I have 2 medium-sized girls around as well.

HazeltheMcWitch Tue 07-Aug-12 14:05:31

Oh, gosh.
Firstly, very sorry for your loss, and for the continued problems you've had to deal with.
I had a similar situation, and we just had to get on with it. We (my sister and I), spoke to skip company and ensured that they knew the contents would be fetid, and we wanted skip delivered and picked up on the same day. Skip man also helped up lift the GIANT chest freezer onto his truck, technically he was not meant to do this.

Things I'd recommend:
- get someone else to look after your kids for a few hours if poss. It WILL stink, there may be maggots and flies, you don't want to have to worry about them as well.
- If poss, wear old clothes that you can throw away after. Buy at charity shop if you need to. Things will leak and it will be horrid. Similarly, have hot water ready for a a shower straight after. Have bin bags for the car if you have to drive home to shower.
- Fresh air, obvs.
- I had a bandanna across my face, and Vicks under my nose for the smell. I also wore safety goggles and a headscarf - I had flies, and they flew at me, and I have a thing about things going in my hair/eyes!
- have spare pairs of gloves to hand, as they will split at the worst possible time. Actually, I also doubled up and wore latex gloves under the rubber ones!
- Maybe let the neighbours know what you're doing, that there might be an awful smell and they might not want to sit outside for the duration?

APols for essay. Best wishes.

Tommy Tue 07-Aug-12 14:07:34

are there any companies that would do it? Just thinking of those programmes about hoarders or really filthy houses - they always seem to have people prepared to do stuff like that

Rolf Tue 07-Aug-12 14:14:30

my brother's making phone calls today to people who advertise themselves as not being afraid of bad smells!

Hazel - that's really helpful. Thank you!

Yankeecandlequeen Tue 07-Aug-12 15:25:17

I've very sorry for your loss.

Myself & 2 cousins cleared nan's house out in April after she died in March. Male cousin & I did the upstairs & loft & female cousin (whom we don't like but only got on with for the sake of poor nan) decided she was in charge of downstairs & her DH said he's "do" the garden.

House was sold. I decided to have one last look round the house by myself. Went to the garage & saw a chest freezer. Called round & no one else wanted it. So I opened it.......regret it now. chicken legs....lots of them in Iceland packs. Decided to leave it for the new owner as he was a right bastard with us ...he wanted this that & gave himt he chest freezer & said nothing bout the contents.

Otherwise I'd have called the council for advice. They definately have a list of companies to do this job.

PigletJohn Wed 08-Aug-12 12:38:11

rotting food:

if you refreeze it, it will be better to handle. Preferably take it out, frozen, bag it, and put in the bin, still frozen, on bin collection day.

PigletJohn Wed 08-Aug-12 12:44:13


just re-read that the sparky has had to turn all the power off.

he may be able to put in a small temporary supply at modest cost. What's common in these circumstances is to disconnect the old installation, and put in a small CU with RCD, and a few sockets next to it. You can then run extension cables for light and work around the house. This is quite common. The sockets are often put next to the meter under the stairs or wherever. There is no need to re-use old cables or accessories, or to rewire the house, but you can run a kettle, fridge, tools and so on. This will probably be useful to you when clearing up. If the electrician is a member of a Competent Persons Scheme he can write his own certificate.

tricot39 Wed 08-Aug-12 13:34:19

pigletjohn - genius!

Fizzylemonade Wed 08-Aug-12 17:03:20

PigletJohn, I second the genius comment thanks

PigletJohn Wed 08-Aug-12 17:09:37

hee hee!

Rolf Wed 08-Aug-12 21:09:21

pigletjohn - that's great advice!

We're looking into removing everything we want to keep as quickly as possible, then getting house clearance people in to remove everything else, including the freezers. Looking at the cost of a few skips (for the food and everything else), plus childcare, emotional energy (I know it sounds wimpy but we've had a pretty tough few months) - it might be worth getting house clearance people in. But obviously it's now something we'll need to get on with very quickly indeed!

thanks so much for all the advice smile

FlatCapAndAWhippet Wed 08-Aug-12 22:00:51

All hail pigletjohn, genius indeed.

BerylStreep Thu 09-Aug-12 17:07:19

Re-freeze the rotten food.

Would never have thought of it. Fantastic.

Rolf, sorry for your loss.

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