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What do you do when you live with a hoarder?

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
Seriously! How do you deal, and successfully declutter, when your dh, dp, or other family member / housemate hoards?

My dh is a hoarder, and I am the only reason he doesn't have his own tv show on TLC. He loves his stuff. I can keep him in check most of the time, for example, I've stopped the trips to used bookstores (oh god), but still.

How can you get rid of stuff when (1) he's so hard to convince to let go of anything (even though he knows he has a problem), (2) sometimes he notices when stuff is missing when you purge. So frustrating!
post #2 of 56
My advice is to give him 1 room or area (for my dh it's a section of the basement) and he can fill that area, but no more. He will probably try to push the limits, which is why a room or closet would be best. But for me, I'd rather not give up a whole room, so I nag until dh goes down and tames his crap every so often.
post #3 of 56
Honestly? I would seek help for your DH. From a decluttering standpoint, this is a problem you're going to continue to struggle against until you treat it head-on. And I imagine from a mental health perspective, your DH would much rather be free of this problem. hug.gif
post #4 of 56

If he's a "pack rat" - my term for people who aren't really hoarders but tend to accumulate - I'm sure some suggestions (like his own room or other space for his stuff) would work.


But if he really is a hoarder, professional help is needed. You could try all sorts of strategies and they might even help for a week, but then it will just come back, and back, and back.


I am friends with someone who has their own show on TLC.

post #5 of 56

any suggestions for useful reading on the matter and some sort of self-help manual ?

I need help but where I live, I would'nt know where to turn for advice ...


post #6 of 56

I agree with PP... get him in therapy.

post #7 of 56

Hmm, I see you're in Europe. That could indeed be a little trickier.


I will try to think if my friend had any books she thought were useful.

post #8 of 56

Laohaire thank you for trying, I read english and can order books online, usually from the UK .... USA as well actually but it takes longer to arrive !


when you say professional help, what kind of training have done the people who can help ?

post #9 of 56

That's the problem, professionals specializing in helping hoarders is a new thing even in the US. There's only a handful of real experts. And even they haven't totally figured it out.


I am still trying to remember the name of an expert that seemed to really get it with my friend, and I was going to look to see if he had a book.


I have not read this and have no idea if it's good, but it could be a start:


And look at the titles in the "Customers who bought this also bought..." area too. (I realize you might not be able to order from Amazon; it's just a good place to browse).



post #10 of 56

Regardless, something like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is helpful. Hoarding is essentially an anxiety issue, so a doctor that has a firm understanding of how to treat anxiety can usually work with the person to help deal with the symptoms of that anxiety, in this case, the hoarding(though I suspect there's probably other symptoms as well). 

post #11 of 56

DH doesn't have a ton of things, but he's pretty attached to what he has (even if he got it for free!). Thus far, I've only decluttered my things, DD's things, and community things (like the kitchen). We're still early in the process, but I'm hoping that once I get through all the stuff around the house and only his junk is left, he'll be more open to it. 

post #12 of 56

thank you for your suggestion Laohaire ... I used ********.com to read reviews (which are more numerous that on the european websites of the same company) but ordered 3 different books from the UK website, which I think, from reading various reviews, will hopefully be a reasonably good fit for my particular needs ....


having people to talk about it on this sub forum is already a great help to me.

post #13 of 56

My DH is like yours, only he doesn't purchase a lot. He's just really attached to what he has.

post #14 of 56

What is ********.com?

post #15 of 56

I thought we were not to mention commercial websites or something .... I meant amazon.com

I've now realised that I can order from the UK (amazon.co.uk) or from France (amazon.fr) or from the US (it's just that shipping is more)

... I can't just always ask a friend to go and buy and then trail to the post office to send it to me, even if I send them a cheque to cover costs ....

post #16 of 56


Originally Posted by IsaFrench View Post

I thought we were not to mention commercial websites or something ....

Probably only if mentioning sites that sell things which compete with mothering.com's shop?  I am guessing anyway. I can't see any books on hoarding in their shop.

post #17 of 56

COUNSELING! Especially if he really is a hoarder. Then again, if he really is a hoarder, he might not see that it's a problem and be willing to get help. But if he really is a hoarder, trying to make a deal and having him limit himself to one room isn't going to work either because the stuff and getting it and having it is way more important to them than a deal with an SO. My mom's a hoarder and has taken over my parents' entire house and there's nothing my dad can do about it. No deals can be struck and anytime anyone mentions anything about it, they're juts being mean because the stuff is really valuable.

post #18 of 56
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for all of your replies! Glad to know I'm not the only one with a hoarder / messy / attached-to-his-stuff husband.


We have a man cave where most of his stuff goes. Problem is that I sometimes also use the man cave for tv and the couch. So I don't want it too gross in there. And his stuff still spills over into other areas like the bedroom, living room, etc etc. 


In my case, he does have mild to moderate anxiety in many areas of his life (oy the babies! Every little red dot that might appear on their skin is like, OMG call the doctor!) and he is cognizant of his issues. He's learned that he's a mild hoarder and that he has to control his impulses to collect, buy, and save. He will allow me to veto purchases and occasionally help him clean out a drawer or his closet (he is so attached to free t-shirts that he brings home from events!) So we have that going for us. We've talked about him getting therapy, but he is reluctant. He doesn't want someone to just give him a prescription (has tried Rx before in the past and didn't like it), and he's just kind of stubborn about using talk therapy or CBT. Hoping that sometime in the future he will reconsider and talk to someone.


A question I have is, do you ever just make items disappear? I do it all the time. Usually it's fine and he doesn't notice, but once in a while it will be something that he remembers or really WAS useful, and I feel so bad! But seriously, sometimes I just have to clean out his trash.

post #19 of 56

Even though I think it is wrong, I have "disappeared" stuff.

I would hate to have my stuff thrown out, without being consulted. 

I just get tired keeping an ever growing accumulation of stuff at bay...

post #20 of 56

having some of my stuff "disappear" would drive me nuts .... suppose I should be very grateful that DH doesn't do it ...

I think I'll get even so protective and resentful that I would slow down even more


the more anxious I'll get, the less likely I am to tackle the issue too ...


so for me... a tentative (and very slow ,unfortunately) plan of action is to make sure that some conditions that are necessary for me are met so that I can feel my mind at ease to start tackling the project of decluttering ....

by that I mean that I already have to have the flat in a minimum of cleanliness (all the water point scrubbed) + shopping done + know what I'm going to have for the next 2 or 3 meals, + no deadline to be met with the PTA + the stuff I do with the dance classes sorted out already + reasonnably good sleep + children at school or out of the way, and not all worked out by some recurring issues we have about in-laws or stress related issues with Dh's work .... etc .... so in short, I'm rarely "ready" to tackle it ....


+ there must be varying degree of clutter and it probably is different for males and females ?????


have just received the "no more clutter" by Kay .;. and am puzzled because I pass the test on page 8, no problem, yes, I can find 5 key items(passport, spare key ...)  in less than a minute (mind you my last bank statement is not in its folder, it's in a pile that's vertical near my computer but has been growing for more than 4 weeks ... and need to be sorted and put away 'in their right place" ...) so I don't have that sort of clutter problem ...


+ in a magazine I read recently they mentionned ... well, put the magazine aside 2 days ago and cannot find it now .... the "easy stuff" and the "weak spots" (another wording but I cannot remember, english not my mother tongue) so I suppose I have quite a few weak spots/area where I'm terribly cluttered and other where I'm fine ... or not so bad .... ?


=> would it help to define with a spouse which different areas or categories there are issues with ?

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