On Saturday, for the first time in years, Mr Lim Chin Ting, 74, sat comfortably on the sofa in his living room.
The stench and heaps of junk around him were mostly gone, thanks to a team of 10 people from the HDB and Marine Parade Town Council who went there on Saturday to help him clear the mess.
Starting at about 10.30am, the group spent eight hours clearing out some of the clutter in the three-room flat at Eunos Crescent, Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao reported.
Only the living room has been cleared so far.
The New Paper reported Mr Lim’s plight last week after his flat was the focus of a viral video.
It showed hundreds of cockroaches swarming out to the common corridor after National Environment Agency officers on an anti-dengue fever drive sprayed insecticide in the flat.
Mr Lim said he used to sleep on the sofa surrounded by mountains of newspaper, bags of leftover food and piles of plastic bottles every night.
Cockroaches would dart all over the floor at his feet and other insects flew around his face.
The source of the junk is Mr Lim’s wife, Madam Soh Siew Jing, 66, who is a hoarder. She has been compulsively bringing all kinds of junk back to the flat for the past two decades.
Mr Lim said he would be scolded whenever he tried to throw the junk out
The elderly couple’s children told The Straits Times that they have tried repeatedly, and failed, to tidy the three-room flat.
Whenever there was an empty space in the flat, things would pile up, Mr Lim’s son, a 31-year-old IT business owner, told ST.
But after Saturday’s clean-up, all that remains in Mr Lim’s living room is a television set, a table, a sewing machine, an altar and a sofa set, which is infested with bed bugs.
According to Lianhe Wanbao, the town council has advised Mr Lim to throw out the sofa and has promised to buy him a new one.
The evening daily added that the HDB and town council team will return to clean out the remaining rooms and the toilet, which are still cockroach-infested and filled to the brim with junk.
Mr Lim told Wanbao that he is thankful for the efforts of those who helped to make his flat cleaner and more comfortable to live in.
But he is not sure if it will be a matter of time before the flat returns to its original state.
Adding that his wife is unhappy about the spring-cleaning, he said: “I can’t do anything if my wife continues to bring junk home.”