Sure, the kitchen was filled thigh-deep with dishes, debris and rodent droppings, and the rat population outnumbered the human population by thousands, but it was the house Michelle called home. That is until it was auctioned off to a couple of unwitting investors.
The next episode of TLC's "Hoarding: Buried Alive" takes a closer look at everyone affected by the real estate arrangement, especially Michelle, who was given just 30 days to clean up and get out.
In a clip the network shared exclusively with TODAY, the scale of the problem can't be ignored.
"This has been pretty rough," investor Mark said after he raked trash out of the house and only made a small dent in the massive mess. "I'm sore. I'm getting too old for this."
Mark wasn't the only one hard at work. Exterminator Dennis Day spent his time trying to get a handle on the most severe rat — and more — infestation in "Hoarding" history, according to the episode's summary.
"We pulled out big rats, small rats, medium-sized rats, spiders and a bevy of other little flying creatures," he said, adding, "and, of course, a possum."
It's easy to see how the issue got out of hand in the first place. When professional organizer Rebecca Ross tried to work with Michelle to reduce massive "keeper" stacks, she couldn't get anywhere with the woman who seemed to insist that everything was a keeper.
"Michelle, at this point, is basically homeless, so what I'm seeing today is a real disconnect," the professional said. "She does not quite get that it isn't still her house."
Another sneak peek from the episode reveals just how disconnected from the reality of the situation Michelle was at the time, as she gave a tour of her uninhabitable, unusable kitchen while describing all the cooking she loved to do in it.
Find out if Michelle is able to find a way out of the mess when "Hoarding: Buried Alive" airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. on TLC.