A serial hoarder who refused to put the bins out for a decade was left unable to access her bathroom, sink or fridge after accumulating 27 tonnes of rubbish.
York woman Sylvie, who is in her 60s, was left using incontinence pads and nappies after she accumulated so much waste she could no longer access her bathroom.
Over the course of a decade she refused to take her bins out and had rubbish piling up to six feet high in every room in her house.
She had refused to let anyone into her home for almost 20 years until concerned neighbours realised she hadn’t put her bins out for collection in the decade they lived next door.
Sylvie eventually opened up to neighbours Craig and Sarah after they reached out to her.
She told them about the state of her house and how she was left feeling worthless and hopeless as the rubbish piled up.
She told them she was suffering from depression and she had not let anyone into her home for years because she was embarrassed and ashamed.
Sylvie, from York, said: “I felt very embarrassed, it had got so bad. But I couldn’t see it for depression.
“The rooms were really bad from floor-to-ceiling, you couldn’t get into the house really.
“I slept on top of the rubbish, I only had use of the bathroom if I clambered over the rubbish, and I had no kitchen as I couldn’t get to it.
“I didn’t have a sink, I couldn’t get to my fridge or my freezer. I just used to sit on the doorstep during the day.”
Sylvie was forced to live in a small space at the top of the stairs of her home.
The embarrassed homeowner said that due to the accumulating waste, piles of hoarded items also filled two downstairs living rooms.
Eventually, the neighbours called Michaela Shaw from Community Bees, a not-for-profit company, which helps with decluttering and gardening around York.
Sylvie said: “Michaela put me at ease straight away. She didn’t judge, she smiled and was happy to look at my situation.”
With the help of three neighbours and volunteers, 27 tonnes of waste were removed from Sylvie’s house over the course of a gruelling week.
Michaela said there were bare floorboards throughout the property which were full of holes caused by the weight of the waste which allowed flies and vermin to get inside.
She needed three large skips to dispose of all the rubbish, but said she was proud of the result.
They installed new floorboards while the bathroom, bedroom and living space were cleaned thoroughly and were finally accessible to Sylvie.
Sylvie said: “I cannot thank Michaela and Pauline enough, and they still come and see me and help me every week.
“They don’t just come and see me, we chat, laugh and enjoy each other’s company, you can just give them a ring and they are there for you.
“There’s not enough words in this world to say how much they’ve helped me and if people are suffering like me, get in contact with Community Bees you’ll never regret it, you will not regret it at all.”
Sylvie has now also visited a supermarket for the first time in years and said she’s keeping up with her housework.
Michaela said she was proud of how far Sylvie had come after seeing her struggle for so many months, if not years.
Michaela said: “You have been so brave and I know a lot of tears have been shed, but good ones. You have come so far in the past four months turning your life around.
“It is so lovely to see you each week, telling me how you’re getting on and what you have achieved.”