The Battle in Hastings! Friendship on the brink

Man whose home was piled high with clutter tests his friend’s patience by refusing to throw away rubber bands, biscuit tins and empty washing up liquid bottles on Nick Knowles’ Big House Clearout

  • Former IT Consultant Mike lived in a chaotic cluttered cottage with his four dogs in Hastings 
  • His poor health and inability to throw anything away was ruining his social life  
  • His stubbornness and reluctance to declutter was close to ruining his friendship
  • After removing all the rubbish to a warehouse, Mike was still reluctant to throw anything away  

A man pushed his best friend and niece to breaking point on this week’s Nick Knowles’ Big House Clearout, when he refused to part with rubber bands, biscuit tins and empty washing up liquid bottles. 

Presenter Nick travelled to Hastings this week to help Mike declutter his chaotic cottage, which he shares with his four rescue dogs. 

Single Mike, who previously led an active lifestyle and enjoyed hiking was struck down several years ago when he developed hip problems and let clutter build up around him, admitting that he likes a ‘full house.’

Former IT Consultant Mike (second from right) from Hastings was pushing his nieces Hayley (far left) and Amber (second from left) and his best friend Becky (far right) away with his reluctance to throw out anything from his cluttered cottage 

Also suffering with arthritis and frequently in pain Mike became glued to his 75 inch TV and would often sleep on the sofa that blocked the front door. 

His dining room was inaccessible, piled high with his old walking gear – 16 pairs of walking boots to be precise, and the conservatory was a dog’s dinner, literally with the door scratched to shreds. 

His outdated Thomas The Tank Engine-esque spare room meant that his nieces Amber and Hayley were reluctant to stay or eat in the cottage and even his best friend Becky commented: ‘It’s a high stress atmosphere.’ 

With the support of his nieces and Becky Mike was able to strip back his belongings by 50 per cent. 

However, tensions became fraught and the more Mike was pushed the more he dug his heels in. 

With the support of his nieces and his best friend Becky Mike eventually cleared 50 per cent of his belongings 

Appearing on Nick Knowles’ Big House Clearout, Nick’s team filled 133 boxes worth of clutter from Mike’s house

It reached breaking point when he started to sort through a pile of rubbish which Becky and Amber had already gone through.  

When Amber questioned him over wanting to save an empty washing up liquid bottle he exclaimed: ‘I hate throwing good stuff today. Like, anyone who doesn’t want to do it, go away and let me do it’

It was this that forced Becky to leave the room. 

She told Nick: ‘It’s frustrating. We all want the same thing. But to go through a big pile of rubbish that we’ve already sorted through is soul destroying.

‘I am here and I do want to help but I can’t watch that, it’s too emotionally draining. If I didn’t care it wouldn’t bother me so much.’

Mike, lives in Hasting with his four rescue dogs. He used to be a keen hiker until he began suffering with hip problems several years ago and is sometimes in so much pain he can’t make it upstairs 

Mike’s best friend Becky (middle) was concerned and frustrated at his inability to part with anything, included empty washing up liquid bottles

Mike solemnly admitted: ‘If I lose Becky as a friend over this, it’s not worth it.’

The whole way through the sorting process, of which Nick’s team filled 133 boxes with Mike’s possessions including 13 TV remotes, 22 outdoor hats, and 34 pairs of shoes and sandals, Mike dug his heels in. 

He said: ‘It becomes a matter of pride not to give in and to hold onto as much as I possibly can.’ 

However, in the end he did compromise and the results were astonishing – surprising even to him. 

The team completely transformed his cluttered cottage into rustic bliss. 

They created a storage unit underneath the stairs for Mike’s walking boots and coats, they also repurposed a bureau and built a custom media centre out of old kitchen cupboards to home his gigantic TV. 

Mike was only using the living room in his cottage. The Conservatory (pictured here) was used to store clothes and give the dogs their dinner. The wood was literally scratched to shreds

Nick’s team moved 133 boxes of Mike’s belongings to the Hastings centre, which filled the 500 seat capacity

The cottage was also animal-proofed with a synthetic carpet and metal panelling on the conservatory doors. 

Much to his niece’s delight the main transformation was the spare bedroom, which was stripped of its childish wallpaper and kitted out with two single beds. 

Amber said that she didn’t want to have to go home after seeing this room. 

Before Nick’s team got to work, the Hasting cottage was valued at a measly £185,000 but after clearing out the clutter and brightening up the space it shot up £65,000 to a minimum of £250,000.

Mike described the process as: ‘This isn’t a decluttering this is a caterpillar loosing its hard shell and metamorphosing into a beautiful butterfly.’

During the sorting Becky was pushed to tears as Mike started to sort out a pile of rubbish that her and Amber had already gone through

Nike’s team uncovered 13 TV remotes, 34 pairs and sandals, 16 pairs of walking boots and 22 outdoor hats 

Mike was thrilled with how to the team had converted his cottage. In particular Amber was pleased with the guest bedroom, which was striped of its Thomas The Tank Engine wallpaper 

After the transformation Mike’s cottage rose in value from £185,000 to £250,000 at a minimum

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