I've been inspired by another child of a hoarder to get off my duff and upload some video I took at my mother's house last summer. It's a warning about what can happen when one waits too long to intervene. I wanted to clean up the audio a little, but I could never quite get up the energy to edit it -- it's very, very painful for me to listen to my own narration and to see the surroundings -- how could we not have intervened earlier?
Of course, many children of hoarders know the answer -- our hoarding parents have meltdowns, they threaten to kill themselves if anyone gets involved, and they push every emotional button that they've identified in us since we were toddlers. Ugh, I feel so raw now -- such a mix of sadness, guilt, anger, and relief that at least some of it is out in the open. A big part of me wants to take down the video and go hide under a blanket, but if keeping it online helps one person prevent a life-threatening crisis for a loved one, I guess my pride is a small price to pay.
Thank you for posting this personal and emotional video Hoarderson. I hope others will see it and be inspired to work through the opposition/denial and anger to get their parents help. I hope sufferers too, will see it and be inspired to start making changes for themselves, and also so their family does not have to go through the pain and worry that yours has, due to the Hoarding Disorder.
Thank you for sharing this.
Your naration is great. This is so real to many. Thanks for sharing. It can help others.
thank you for posting this. your naration is too the point. I hope i can use this to get discusion going in my own family
My husband and I just spent 2 full days organizing over 2000 pounds of trash and unneeded items from my mom's. It is so hard and painful to deal with. We need help! Her home looked just like your pictures. The worst part is I do not think she will be happy when she goes back.
Thanks so much for the feedback, everyone.
@anonymous - I know what you mean. After my mom moved to a new place (she had to move because of medical necessity), my sister and I took two days to clean out most of the stuff from the old place's kitchen. We actually filled a large dumpster, and we haven't even touched the rest of the house. It's so hard to predict what will happen after a big cleanup, however. When I brought my mom back to her old house so she could get a few things, the cleared out kitchen didn't faze her, but she was absolutely furious that we threw out a few dozen (mostly broken) cheap plastic flower pots that had been sitting in the backyard unused for many years.
In any case, good luck with your mom...
Thank you for posting this. I'm also on COH.com and in the past I have mentioned doing a video project like this as well. You've inspired me. I spent the past weekend helping my sis-in-law clean out my parents' 1st house. They have bought a 2nd house which they are now currently junking up. They intended to sell the old house, but it has been so full of junk that they have been unable to even attempt selling it. We uncovered so much mold, termite, and wood rot damage this past weekend that it will require extensive renovation to even be habitable. That's the sad thing about all of this stuff I see in your mom's house. That's just the first layer. Beneath the dangerous piles of clothes and papers are dangerous toxins. It's tragic, but it does help to know that others are going through it as well.
thank you for sharing your story.i am in the process of cleaning out my aunts home. she too lay for three days before i discovered her and them the paramedics had a hard time getting in. my aunt was very crafty about her problem and would alienate anyone who even suggested she needed help. she unfortunatly did not survive.
I am so sorry to hear about your aunt. One of the COH discussions a while back was about how difficult it was to mourn for someone while having to clean their hoard. I can only imagine how difficult this is for you. Thanks for sharing -- my thoughts are with you.
PS. If you are not already a member of the Children of Hoarders discussion group, you might want to check it out and join. You'll find lots of support there!
Thank you for posting your video. I know how much courage that took because I lived and continue to live it in some ways.
My parents' home looked remarkably like that. After my father died (he was not the hoarder) I wound up having to petition the court for legal guardianship of my hoarding mother.
Now that she is in assisted living, the hoarding and reclusiveness continues. The facility calls me about it and wants me to stop it, but there is no stopping it. I just have to try to survive it.
I feel bad about knowing as of just today that I am not alone (I just found the website today via Readers Digest), but it is comforting to know that there are others that can truly UNDERSTAND. Thanks KC
Last night when I read the article "When Hording Goes Out of Control" I cried. My mother has become paranoid about all the junky stuff she has in her house. None of her children can stand to visit her any more because there is no place to sit down and visit. I have talked to my Mother about this but she just clams up and acts like a "victum." We have all talked to her about it for years, and she's totally unwilling to give things away. She often chooses to go through her "stuff" instead of accepting invitations to do things with the family. I don't know how to process my anger toward her when she will not admit her problem. It will be terriable when she dies and we have to throw everything away. It's somehow comforting to know I am not alone with this illness.
I'M A 52 YEAR OLD WIDOW..BOY DOES THIS HIT HOME.. MY DECEASED HUSBAND HAD THIS PROBLEM, AND LEFT A LARGE MESS WITH 2 LARGE PILED STORAGES ALSO..TOYS,TOYS TOYS, BOOKS, MAGAZINES AND ON... AND WHAT IS NOW HORRIBLE NOW IS MY 23 YR.OLD DAUGHTER HAS THIS DESEASE, AND PUT MY APARTMENT IN HELL SHE HAS NO PLACE WHERE HER BED WAS CAUSE OF THE MESS,AND SLEEPS NEXT TO HER SISTER. AND IS RUINING MY 2 OTHER CHILDREN'S LIFES ALONG WITH MINE.. THIS HAS DESTROYING OUR LIFES.. I CAN'T REASON WITH HER,I WANT TO DIE WHEN I LOOK AT THIS STUFF.. AND NONE OF IT IS FUNCTIONAL.. I AM AFRAID THE MANAGER IS GONNA KICK US OUT BECAUSE OF IT.. I THINK SHE HAS EVERY BEAUTY PRIDUCT IN THE WORLD, AND ALL IT DOES IS PILE UP.. AND JEWLERY, ETC.. I DON'T HAVE THE MONEY TO GET HER HELP.. THERE IS NO ONE I KNOW THAT COME HERE AND HELP.. I CAN'T EVEN KICK HER OUT. MY HUSBAND PASSED THIS BAD HABIT/DESEASE ON TO MY KIDS! KATHY
I am so sorry to hear about your situation. It's such a difficult problem, and I know that you want the best for your daughter, but you also have to think of your other children, too. It's your home, and you need to set the boundaries to protect your children. I know, perhaps that's easier said than done.
I think that your comment is very important, so I've made it into a new post -- perhaps others will be able to share some advice.
I share a lot of your feelings in your situation and I'm hoping I can get up the courage to take your advice and intervene. It frightens me that although my parents situation is not yet this severe, they are only in their mid 50's and have a 14 year old daughter (my half sister who sleeps in the bed with her mother despite having 4 rooms in the house). I will be joining the group and posting videos so I can get confirmation that the problem is as serious as I fear.
It is a frightening situation. We'll look forward to seeing you at the Children of Hoarders group (either the Yahoo group or the forum; links are on the right-hand side of my blog). We try hard to support each other through these difficult circumstances.
Thank you for linking your readers to my PsychologyofClutter.com blog. Please feel free to leave comments or ask questions. I have worked with several hoarders and their adult children in my clinical practice. Needless to say, I think the adult children are more receptive and get more out of therapy than the hoarders themselves.
I am an adult child of a hoarder. My brother and I still live at home to take care of my mother. As shocking and frightening as the video is, I highly recommend being careful about going through your parents things.... My mothers room has been like the video several times and my mother is STILL looking for lost items after 10- 20 years.. Yes, it was her fault they got lost in "the mess," but her heart has never let them go.. I don't recommend a MASSIVE clean out without their knowledge and try hard to salvage as many "valuable things" as you can. We have tried it and it causes SEVERE problems for months and years afterwards...
My mom knows she is sick, it runs in her family. We have done the massive cleanout, she have screamed and fouhgt and thrown things out. It only makes her sick and depressed and suicidal. She gratefully accepts our "gentle" help as long as we try to be as respectful as possible... It's shocking, its frightening, and horrifying. It is an illness, and it is NOT their fault... For whatever reason, they thing these "things" still have "value" (like they do) and she be loved... Its a mysterious illness.. But these are your parents.. I hope my words have not angered anyone.. These are my own experiences... Thank you for sharing this video and letting me know I'm not alone...
THANK YOU SO MUCH for your Courage Bro! My Mother has been a hoarder ever since I was a child, and I have tried and tried and tried over the years, to do whatever I can to get her help, break the chain or end the cycle, but as YOU know, I'm sure, NOTHING I did has worked! My aunt just told me about this website today and now, for the first time in my Life, I can actually SEE the Light at the end of the tunnel for my Mom! THANKS AGAIN for your COURAGE!
Hi all- this is the first time that I've heard of ChildrenofHoarders.com. I am the 26-year-old daughter of two hoarding parents (ages 71 and 60), and I am absolutely terrified of the ordeal that will come when they pass away. I think about it every day, and as much as I love my parents, I wish that that house of theirs (the house that I grew up in) would just disappear, and take all their stuff and their filth with it. My mom is morbidly obese and cannot clean or organize very well, and my dad is such a severe hoarder that he scolded me once a few years ago for throwing out a large pile of stuff that had accumulated on their front porch, because it contained a few outdated copies of his favorite magazine. (I figured that even though the house's interior was a mess, at least I could clean the porch to do a favor to the neighbors.) Their house and their attitudes are emotionally draining for me, even living so far away from them. I dread dealing with the situation when they die... I desperately dread it. Thanks for listening.
I'm so glad to see these photos because it shocked me into realizing what my life has become. 10 years ago, I married a hoarder. He had been through a difficult period and claimed the clutter was just part of mid-life crisis. I believed him. Over the years, I've learned that this was all part of his denial. He can't admit the extent of his problem. The hoarding dominates our life. Its like a toxic virus that keeps spreading, gradually taking over and infecting every inch of my life. It breaks my heart. I love him, but can't imagine what life will be like in another 10 years. The saddest part is he knows the OCD has ruined his life. That is, in his saner moments, when he is not in denial.
We have taken all the measures we can to make sure our selfish mother is "safe"- the cops and fire know where she is. I can't get yelled any more. I can't go over there and hear the lies and the excuses. She blames us, she blames me. How is it me if I am never there? We have cleaned her hole up so many times now I can't even handle the idea of doing it again. And she loves it. She loves the mess. I don't go there any more. I don't visit anymore. I barely call. I can't. She is not ever going to admit to a problem. I can only imagine the yard sale when she dies.
I am glad you and the others here have people to help them- and it's great that there's an explaination. I am just not there yet. Still too angry. I have to heal myself.
I just saw the video here on U tube, and am starting to look thru all the links and responses.
This looks like a great resource.
There is a self Help group in Pleasanton, so I thought I'd provide the information here, next paragraph, and also ask you people where else it would make sense to post it?
ClutterLess (CL) is a nonprofit, peer-based, self-help, support group for people with difficulty discarding unwanted possessions. Cluttering is a psychological issue, not an organizing issue. Is CLUTTER stressing you out? Do you want to do something about it? We meet EVERY MONDAY 7:00 to 8:30 pm at Pleasanton Presbyterian Church, Rm 7, 4300 Mirador Drive. Just come, or call:925-297-9246
Note: No Meeting Memorial Day.
Our e-mail is ClutterLessPleasanton@hotmail.com.
Try to check weekly, so don't be disappointed if not an instant reply.
Also see website; ClutterLess.Org for meetings nationwide, lots of other info.
Thank you for doing this....my mother has a very similar problem, when I showed my husband the video, he asked 'is that your mom's house?' it looked so similar. I am so distraught and struggling between letting her live her life or intervening...I recently chose to intervene and am hopeful I can make a difference. Cleaning up the mess is not the answer, it will take counseling and possibly meds and lots of prayers! thanks again for sharing your story, it helps me feel not alone.
I just discovered your website from the Readers Digest article. Thank you. My brother and I grew up with our Mom's hoarding and went through everything all of you have gone through. My brother even took photos to a physicarist and he said "if she is not hurting herself...". We were at the end of our rope. Finally, the neighbors called the Health Department who demanded she clean it up. My brother and I were the ones who did it while she cussed us out. We put her in a nice apartment and it did not take her long to hoard it up also. We had to clean that up when we put her in a nursing home about 10 years later.
I am glad to hear the rest of you are angry as that is how I still feel and felt guilty about it. It really hurts when your Mother prefers her junk over her children.
What town do you meet in?
I just saw a link to this site in an email from flylady.net. My insides are like jello right now..because my home was like this when I was growning up. it's what the depression did to them. I have been working on a lot of other issues that I have with my parents and trying to forgive and let go and this helped me to realize that there were factors that contributed to the way they were. I guess I thought they just woke up one day and decided to be hateful to us kids. Anyway, thanks.... this has givin me something to think on.
It is such a relief to read all the comments from children of hoarders and to learn I am not alone!
For years my mother would not let me visit her house because she knew I would be upset and angry. However, in January she had a heart attack and I had to travel up, get into the house and was horrified at how bad it had become (like the video). Because she was still ill when she came out of hospital she decided to let us help her and in February we cleared quite a lot of stuff. And again in July (although she had started a little hoarding again). I absolutely agree with those comments that say that if you discuss it with them, they behave like a victim, and also that they seem to remember items and get angry when they discover we've thrown them out. I do believe, however, that we've made a break-through. We are planning another trip in October, so I'm hoping we can keep on top of it now.
On a lighter note, my mother for years lived next to a much worse hoarder... so she always felt 'she wasn't so bad'!
Hi everyone.. My name is Michelle, nice to meet you all! I can't tell you all how relieved I am to have found this site on here. I am desperate. I am beyond desperate. I am an open-book and have no problem laying this all out on the table right here (whatever it takes, to get help!).
My sister, I think, is a hoarder. I am not even sure if that is the correct term for what she is? My older sister is 27 and she has a 4 year old son, whom I love more than anything in the entire world! My sister has always been a messy girl. I became concerned about this problem about a year ago.
My sister and nephew live in a small apartment together, and it is the most disgusting thing I have ever stepped foot in. I basically have no other family that is willing to help solve this problem. I feel like I am in this alone, well I did, until now. (Thank you Marie Claire for posting the Hoarding article)
My sister works in a low paying retail job, does not even own a car (she relies on rides from friends and family) and has my nephew at the babysitter most days of the week. When they go home though, they face things like: dirty diapers that are months old thrown around the apartment, very old aged food lying everywhere, all sorts of junk, my nephew's toys, dirty laundry (she buys new clothes everyday rather than doing laundry), months old trash, ALL SORTS OF BUGS-- especially roaches, there is nowhere for either of them to sleep, there are cigarette butts thrown everywhere in the living room floor, if she spills something she NEVER cleans it up, I could go on and on. Not only am I worried about my sister, but my poor innocent nephew's development is drastically important right now. She buys him fast food everyday because she can't cook in the apt because of the mess. He's lagging behind in being potty trained, in speaking, etc... Both of their hygiene is terrifying also. I feel horribly guilty having not done anything yet. I can't wait any longer! I have to do something... I just don't know who I can talk to-- as far as authority figures go.
My family and I have tried talking to my sister about this problem, but my sister is very very stubborn and won't get help. Honestly, I have thought about making an anonymous call to the police so someone will come look at it and take my nephew. I am only looking after his best interest. I don't know if there is a less drastic measure I could or should take before that?? I love them both very much, but I can't deal with this weight I'm dragging around knowing that they are not healthy and not even close to being healthy.
I've been battling myself with which guilt will be worse.. Not doing anything knowing about the problem, or the guilt of having him taken away from her. I wish I could take care of him, but I am not in the financial position to and I won't be for a couple of years.
I am open to any and all suggestions. Specifically, what types of authorities I can go to?!
Thank you so much everyone for posting what you have already, it means so much.
Please forgive me if someone already mentioned this. I stopped reading comments with the one in February in all caps from a lady named Kathy.
There IS a solution. FLYLADY
You can find FlyLady at www.flylady.net. This is a free website and also contains no commercials. FlyLady, as she puts it, teaches people to get the CHAOS out of their homes. What is CHAOS? Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome. Begin with Babysteps for Beginers - there's a link for it on the left side of the page.
Please keep in mind a cluttered home did not get this way in a day, and will not change overnight.
I suggest that if you recomend this to someone with a problem, mention it as a sight that helps a person to have more time. No computer? She wrote a book called Sink Reflections. FlyLady's real name is Marla Cilley.
What makes FlyLady qualified? PhD? Scientific behavior studies? No. She's been there. She had this problem and found the solution. It took her 9 months to declutter her home. It may take you (or someone you know) longer than this. This isn't about a sudden overhaul - it's about slow changes - babysteps as FlyLady calls them. She teaches us HOW to declutter, HOW to keep our homes decluttered, and more importantly, HOW to not beat ourselves up over it.
If you are suggesting this to someone who does not live with you, then do NOT criticize any of their home's appearance. Everytime you see even the slightest improvement, compliment it! And don't be surprised if they cry when you do - they never expected to hear that, especially from you. When I say slight improvement, I mean like if the trash can is not overflowing, or one tiny portion of the floor is not visible, anything! And DON'T stare looking for something to compliment. This will make them feel self-concious and defensive.
Living with you? Fly on your own. (That means, trying out FlyLady's system.) Don't deal with any of their stuff or nag them about it until you have dealt with your own. FlyLady explains how to do this - just sign up for her emails, also free.
Many people have sent her emails saying this worked BETTER than therapy. This from the people who have this problem and have resolved it or are in the process.
There is hope - and her name is FlyLady.
I feel so fortunate to have found this website because, for the first time ever, I see I am not alone. My mother is a hoarder, and is becoming progressively worse day by day. Her mess has made my childhood home uninhabitable. The person I feel most sorry for is my father. He puts up with her mess to avoid arguments or the infamous silent treatment she gives to him or to my sisters and me whenever we try to clean up. My parents have been talking about selling their house for the past five years. What's stopping them? My mother's inability to throw ANYTHING away. She has saved, among tons of crap, newspapers dating back to the 1970s, empty styrofoam containers, egg cartons and mold-infested baby clothes. The house smells stale and musty from all the crap laying everywhere. I've been tempted to call the fire inspector a few times, but I know that will launch WWIII and I don't want to put my father through that. I'm going to share this site with my two younger sisters who have tried to help clear the clutter to make the house habitable. Thank you all for your postings. I am now going to look for a support group or start one in my area.
Hi, I'm a child therapist and have family members who have mental illness. Michelle's post really concerns me... Michelle, it sounds like your sister's illness is preventing her from being the mom she could be -- and probably yearns to be -- to your nephew. Where I live it is social services who we call to have someone visit and find out if the family needs help. You can call anonymously in my state. Although no-one wants to get DSS involved in their family, generally I think things have gotten better in these agencies and they really do work to keep families together and get them healthier. Please do reach out and help him -- children of depressed moms can have really negative outcomes, but one stable unconditional loving person can make the difference. I wish you the best of luck!
I have a 15 year old sister. My mother is a Compulsive Hoarder. Our home has always been abnormally isolated (NOBODY allowed inside). As with most Hoarders, Mom plays herself to be the "Victim" when called on the carpet.
Going out of their way to diligently diagnose EACH and EVERY dysfunction of teen, DSS has YET to call parents on the carpet for the pain that they've imposed. Not trying to be argumentative; however would like to point out that unfortunately, (depending on the area) DSS isn't always as effective as one would think.
Education is the key.
I'm working on initiating a support
committee in Minnesota. I'm in search of volunteers (both Professional and Children of Hoarders). Please let me know in the event you or anyone you know is
P.O. Box 209
Crookston, MN 56716
I didn't even know about OCD hoarding until I stumbled over your blog, but my mother was a hoarder, and I'm in danger of becoming one. I inherited her house (and her piles of stuff) after she died. She had some REAL treasures buried in with all the junk, and I've had a terrible time dealing with the mess.
My parents grew up during the Depression, and developed some fears of deprivation that were entirely rational at the time, but they couldn't let go when the Depression was over.
I spent my entire childhood being chastised for throwing away anything that had even the remotest possibility of being useful someday.
Being an environmentally-concerned crafter who likes to recycle things doesn't make it any easier, either. If it wasn't for FlyLady, Goodwill, and FreeCycle, I'd be a complete basket case by now.
Chicklet is right, Flylady can be a big help in clearing clutter, even if you're afraid to throw things away.
Thank you so much for sharing this. I am also the adult child of a hoarder whose behaviors have ruined her lives and damaged the lives of her children.
Are there any resources available in the San Francisco Bay Area -- I think my mother needs a support group or other type of mental health treatment to be able to move on with her life. Every hoarder starts hoarding because of something -- sometimes it's genetic, but usually it's something in their own childhood or life that gives them the emotional justification to do something so irrational for so long.
I really think hoarding is an OCD behavior or an addiction, just like any other addiction like drinking, smoking, shopping, gambling, etc.
Thank you so much for sharing your video and experiences.
Thanks for posting a comment. There are some resources in the San Francisco Bay area -- there is even a hoarding conference which brings together public/social services every year or so to discuss how to handle the situation. Check out http://www.childrenofhoarders.com -- there is a lot of information there.
HS is right, San Francisco has a lot of resources for hoarding. You can find them here:
Or, search for: MHA San Francisco Hoarding.
You might also want to look at www.hoarders.org
Hope this helps,
After going to social workers, police, county authorities, organizations to help the elderly, etc., I have been told dozens of times that the end game is: "They are adults. It is their choice to live that way."
Your mother's plight was NOT your fault or your doing. She had to hit bottom to see the danger and give you the opportunity to help. For those who have not hit bottom, we can beg, plead and maybe help them make small changes (paying for each one by enduring yelling, crying, screaming, suicide threats and threats of physical harm to others) but THEIR CHOICES ARE NOT OUR RESPONSIBILITY.
Can this "choice" be deadly? Yes. Is it done with a sane and clear mind? No. But it is also not done with a "crazy enough" mind to be considered a danger to oneself or others. Is there anything I can legally do about it? Remarkably not. Just be there when they hit bottom. And be ready to cry.
Yes this video is disturbing. See my wife and I saved up to go to Arizona. To part from this broke WV state. We encountered a transmission problem wich financially wiped us out. We then had to move in with her aunts.
Her aunts house is a complete horror show. Newspapers and JUNK everywhere. In every room clothes piled to the ceiling and the bathroom and kitchen is nasty. Goat paths everywhere. I fire hazard at its best.
We have 2 little kids 8 months and 2 years. We are trying soo hard to get out and are scared CPS will come take our kids and blame us. Its hard to survive out here. And When we try to clean they become furious. As all hoarders to they think they cant trust us with there precious junk. I almost feel like calling CPS and going that route to prove to them from professionals, its wrong and unsafe. But I love my kids and i'll keep fighting to survive and get out. Pray for us.
P.S we had others aps and they were SPOTLESS> We are very clean people and now where depressed and have health problems. God I feel trapped. Its not the rent that is keeping us stuck its the deposit. I have soo many pictures of this place and the horror we live in.
I'm so sorry to hear about your situation. I made the mistake of moving back to my mom's house for a year or so after my dad died, and I felt trapped every day. Eventually, I had to get out, even though it killed me financially (I was a student at the time), but it was worth it to be out of the hoard. Good luck getting the deposit situation squared away -- I hope that you get the kind of living conditions that you and your family deserve soon!
Pink Sneakers Productions and TLC are currently casting for a new documentary series entitled “Life Chronicles: I’m a hoarder”.
Here is some more info on the project:
"Life Chronicles" aims to inspire and/or enlighten others by relaying the
personal experiences of those facing exceptional circumstances or coping with
life-altering events in a true documentary-style format. Each show intends to
tackle a different life-altering topic, including an episode dedicated to
obsessive-compulsive disorder We're interested in exploring each story through
a personal perspective and show how OCD affects you on a daily basis. We're
also interested in daily life and relationships with family members (or lack
there of). We do realize the sensitive nature of the subject, and intend on
covering the case with the utmost respect of all parties involved.
I'd like to thank you in advance for speaking with us.
In the meantime, feel free to check out some of the programming on the TLC
network, a division of Discovery. They do a lot of documentary programming:
Pink Sneakers has also produced various episodes of MTV's True Life series:
Thank you so much for your time!
1000 COLOUR PLACE APOPKA, FLORIDA 32703
P: 407.464.2080 F: 407.464.2081
Thank you for posting this video. For a very very long time I believed I was the only person who had a mother who chose to live like this, and that somehow it was my fault - I mean, she's my mum, she's the one person who is supposed to have her life together!
Seeing things like this video is helping me realise I'm not alone in being affected this way, and even though I don't live at home anymore it's natural that it still affects me.
I do not come from a family of hoarders, but my mother is somewhat disorganized. She has a tendency to cook gallons of soup, and she'll leave it on the range for days - no refrigeration. It's frustrating because this habit doesn't change. I also did not develop a proper sense of meal portions. It took years for me to learn about normal portion sizes. Fortunately, I never became obese or developed diabetes.
I am naturally organized. Now, as an adult, I cook smaller quantities of food. However, I remedied some of her cooking habits by donating her gigantic pots and pans. I understand some of the frustration of not being able to see progress. I explain that only small quantities of food are necessary, but she insists on making enough food to feed a small country! Her idea of a “tiny” amount is a gallon. She wants to deliver me gallons of food which I do not consume. All of this waste (time and money) and lack of common sense drives me crazy! Nothing I say changes things, but at least I donated those huge pots when she was away. People wonder why I'm stressed about this, but growing up in these conditions is chaotic! In some sense, this may be a mild form of food hoarding. It has ALWAYS been this way. I'm stressed out.
My mother also collects plastic containers for fermenting berries. I tossed her last set of 20-year-old fermenting berries which looked like lab experiments. She protested my tossing of her grains, but they were full of LIVE weevils! Teaching her to seal food, make smaller quantities, and plan meals doesn't change anything. There is no space in the freezer, but she keeps buying more food. She complains that there are people starving in the world, but more will starve when she wastes all this food! Older people are more vulnerable to food-borne illnesses such as botulism, salmonella, and other contaminants. Sanitation is very important.
I don't believe in enabling mild hoarding, so I make it a point to donate, sell, or recycle whatever gigantic plastic containers she uses for food experiments. It's far safer to remove the junk (and hurt tender feelings) than to find someone physically hurt and emotionally drained by the junk. I am proud to say that she is now weevil free!
Hello Hoarders Son and all: I am 52, and a hoarder. Although my house is neat and orderly, (there are several degrees or levels of hoarding) I have space to live and cook, etc., and I am not walking over garbage. But I have been an antique and collectibles collector for about 30 years now. My stuff is all boxed neatly and stored in outbuildings and closets, but I have too too much. I collected antique glass for almost 20 years, then switched up to jewelry and other things. I want to quit collecting and really downsize bigtime, but like the hoarder or shopaholic I am, it is so hard to stop buying.
I'm so glad the series hoarders has come on, for me it's inspiring. I just wish they'd give more tips on where to try and get your money back out of nice things you've invested in. I used to ebay, but am not that fond of that site anymore, too many changes and I don't feel like they are for the better.
So if anyone here has any helpful suggestions on how to dispose of 30years worth of very, very nice collectibles, I'm all ears. Thanks for letting me post.
This post made me cry... it hits so close to home for me, especially what you said about pushing emotional buttons they have identified in us since we were toddlers. I struggle with this so much.
Also the condition of the home is similar to my partents home and although my sister who lives there was no injured there, she was badly injured in a car wreck this summer and still lives at home, I fear every day she will fall and break herself worse than she already has...
I've offered her a place to stay, but the apple doesnt fall far from the tree and she is quite "comfortable" in my mothers mess.
I'm searching for answers and what to do, your post has given me a shove in a direction which involves intervention... I still must find the how, but at least I have some direction.
You are so brave to post this, thankyou thankyou thankyou!
VENTING:.....I just don't feel as much compassion for the parents here as I do the kids! I am a child of a hoarder -- my mother is an outgoing woman: charismatic, lovable, sociable and then some (she is mentally ill). The house was not always the way it is now. She use to throw us birthday parties and host family events but something changed when I was like 6 or 7. It started in one room, then the next, and snowballed to everywhere in the house from there. We did not even have a washer or dryer the whole time I was in middle school or high school (I have 3 siblings). My mother's solution was to buy new socks, clothes, underwear (she did this ALOT!), or we could wash it ourselves and line dry it. She cleaned the refrigerator one time when I was 16 and took out all the shelves and they still are not in there (I am 34 now). We NEVER could have friends over. She has bought & collected so much crap over the years that there is 4 generations of family memorabilia in the house and the 4 storage lockers (that I now of) that my mother has paid for every month for the last twenty years (I am not joking). It doesn't get better with time! So, I think that everyone should sympathize with the children of these hoarders and encourage them:
1.) tell a school counselor. 2.) perhaps a home inspection: most cities requires a occupancy permit which verifies safe living conditions if failed the owner/renter a specific time frame to make corrections then a follow-up inspection to verify. 3.) maybe contact the fire department about potential fire safety risks -- they may also do an inspection of the home. 4.) if need be call Child Protection Services on the parents on behalf of these children. I can attest that growing up in a hoarded house as a child that it is emotionally & psychologically damaging -- I wish I would have told so an adult authority figure would have intervened. Sorry, illness and all, BUT the kids come first!!!!!!!
I would like to vent about my mother in law being a hoarder. I moved in with her recently and she cleaned up her house a little bit and cleared out a room for me, though instead of getting rid of all the piles of junk she had she just boxed it all up and shoved it in the garage or took it to a storage unit. Though there is still crap all over in the kitchen, dining room, and den. You can't even eat at the dining room table because it is piled with newspapers, magazines, and junk mail. I won't even let my kids friends come over because it is embarrassing.
She has a room where my kids stayed with her when I was at work and school and I was appalled that she had so much junk piled up in their room they could barely walk in there--not to mention all the trash ALL over! I spent days cleaning out my boys room only to have her complain about everything that I was getting rid of, she literally dug into the trash to pull things back out.
Though she is getting better with the clutter since I have been here, I have to say that she is ridiculous when it comes to food. You can barely fit anything in the fridge or the freezer, not to mention she also has a deep freeze in the garage that is fully packed--mostly of expired food. I spent a half a day cleaning out her kitchen pantry, which I ended up taking out 7 garbage bags of expired food, the oldest thing I found had expired 25 years ago. I was throwing away things in the fridge that had expired several years ago when she came home and actually yelled at me for throwing her food away and dug it back out of the trash putting it back in the fridge. I was completely shocked!
I absolutely dread when she goes to the grocery store because she never looks to see what we have and just goes out and buys more of the same stuff. For instance, we have several bottles of spicy mustard, several bottles of regular mustard, several big bottles of ketchup, several containers of mayo, 30 cans of chili, ect ect. I get so angry when I see all that, but when I say something to her about it she gets all defensive.
I am so happy that I am not the only person that deals with this, but it is so frustrating that it stresses me out and makes me want to move.
Glad there are news articles to bring attention to how hoarding can effect people other then the individuals living in the home. We know about the documented cases of individuals being crushed and killed in homes when piles have collapsed on them. As well as health risks from dust, waste, fire, and insects! I've worked with many people who have inherited homes like this in Arizona.
(623) 760 -2066
thank you for a great post.
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