Dorothy’s front door wouldn’t open. So they took it off its hinges.
“[We] were confronted immediately by a wall of garbage, decades upon decades of accumulated detritus,” says Sarah Krasnostein, author of The Trauma Cleaner. Dorothy’s impenetrable house was in a wealthy suburb, not far from a cafe that made raw almond milk. Krasnostein had arrived there with Sandra Pankhurst, the 63-year-old owner and operator of Specialised Trauma Cleaning Services.
“The floor wasn’t the floor, it started three or four feet up the wall, and through her rooms was the solid glacial mass of garbage fused together.”
In the four years Krasnostein spent writing and researching her book, she trailed Pankhurst to more than 20 grotesque and garbage-filled sites in suburban Melbourne. “People think ‘cleaning’ and that you need a bucket of water and a cloth,” Pankhurst told her as they stood together in the midst of Dorothy’s house. “We need