I took the kids to a bookstore the other day to buy them each their "camp" book (the one book they get to take to camp, which we don't use the library for in case they lose or destroy it at camp). I ran across "The Secret Lives of Hoarders" and began to thumb through it.
So many of the sentences describe my house and husband's hoarding issues. I have known that he is a hoarder for a long time, but never really objectified it. The book made it clear and concise. He is definitely a hoarder, with a myriad of mental issues (which he refuses to acknowledge, let alone treat). I would categorize him as Stage II. He was never "neat", but now, well, it has gotten scary. We have 40+ bicycles in the garage, shed and a tent in the backyard. Probably 30+ sets of skis, boots and poles ("the kids will grow into them"). His "office" is only passable in a narrow pathway through and over the junk and papers. The office clutter overflows into the hallway and bathroom right next to it (shower is stuffed with stuff). It is absolutely disgusting.
But, of course, it is not just his issue, it affects all of us. We no longer invite anyone in or over. My teenager is an OCD neat freak who refuses to let her dad in her room, and discards anything she is not immediately using, . I am so sick of him bringing home crap that "can be sold", "stripped for parts", or might be useful to someone. He sneaks stuff into the attic when I am not home.
And what am I doing about it? Up until now, I have tried to manage the stuff - keep the common areas fairly clear and usable, and take stuff to church or Goodwill every so often when it might not be noticed. However, his behaviour has degenerated and he is now prone to rages. He goes absolutely apeshit ballistic whenever anyone touches or moves his stuff. He refuses to believe that all this crap has created significant anxiety in everyone else in the house. He refuses to consider counseling because "he doesn't have a problem, every one else does, and besides, all those guys are quacks and more messed up than their clients".
For my sake and the sake of the kids, I am preparing for separation/divorce. Of course, hoarding is not the only problem. It is just the most visible symptom.
The very depressing thing is that, as I clandestinely prepare to separate by organizing my own stuff, I realize that the hoarding has been a bit contagious, and I have a very hard time getting rid of, say, artwork done by my kids, or things that might be "useful". I am trying to be quite ruthless and get angry with myself every time I hear my brain say "hey, why are you donating that, you might need it someday!"
I have gotten some encouragement in reading some of the other threads with de-cluttering ideas, so thank you so far. It will be very interesting to see what happens over the next year. I honestly can't wait for the time that I have only my own stuff and that of the kids to deal with!