LANSING | Twenty years of accumulating enough possessions to pack a house to the rafters has earned a Lynwood family a national spotlight and a chance to raise money for a charitable cause.
The Style Network selected the Hayes family's home as the messiest in America during a nationwide search for the TV series, "Clean House." As part of that honor, the show's producers cleaned up the 3,200-square-foot home where it at one time was impossible to close many doors because of the piles and piles of belongings.
Another silver lining came in the form of a fundraiser Saturday in neighboring Lansing at the former Babies R Us, 17675 S. Torrence Ave. Several of the family's possessions were up for sale, in part to raise money for the cleanup. A portion of the money also will be donated to the Graves Disease Foundation. Homeowner Darrell Hayes' daughter Darvonna has the thyroid condition.
People from across the Chicago area came to the event, looking for bargains and also hoping to catch a glimpse of the TV program's host, Niecy Nash. "I'm a big fan of the show. I had to come," said Kimberly Foster, of Streamwood.
The belongings included clothes, furniture, power tools, accessories for video game consoles, toys, books and collections of clown figurines and Barbie dolls, many still in their original packaging.
Although some people said the clutter made it impossible to see the floor in the Hayes home, Darrell Hayes said it wasn't quite that bad. It was possible to maneuver about the house, he said. But he concedes the only door that could be closed in his house was the bathroom door.
The family's situation came to light after Hayes' son Donavan contacted the producers of "Clean House," which features a crew that goes to messy homes to try to unclutter them. The segment featuring the cleanup of the Hayes home will air June 30.
Darrell Hayes said one of the benefits of participating in the project is that he and his family have learned a little bit about unnecessary clutter and purchases. He said he doesn't intend to have an equally big sale 20 years from now.
"We won't be buying stuff we don't really need," Hayes said, adding that his wife used to buy extra items she intended to give away as gifts.
Matt Iseman, a member of the "Clean House" crew, said while his crew was going through the belongings, it had to dispose of about one-third of the items because they had started to accumulate mold or were otherwise too damaged to be used.
Iseman also said the Barbie doll collection caught his attention, mainly because everything was so pristinely packaged.
"I look at that and see a whole lot of fun that was never experienced," he said. "Maybe now, those dolls can be opened up and played with."