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Packrat/Hoarder Parents?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Anybody have these? I knew my grandmother who lived through the Depression was a hoarder to the extreme  especially after my grandfather died (we had to talk her out of saving envelopes once because she said "what if I need to make a list or something?"). I also have one aunt who is to this day a hoarder (I will hardly even sit on the edge of the couch in her house and will NEVER eat or sleep there).

 

But I never realized how much that hoarding tendency ended up being passed down to my mom from them until they settled down in the country in the old farmhouse my mom inherited from her parents. My parents were missionaries until five years ago and many times that meant that all we could take from one place to another was what would fit in a vehicle or into our checked bags (they never shipped more than a couple boxes of books from one place to the next because it was so expensive). Since settling down now after retiring as missionaries and starting to care for my other frail grandmother (not the one who was a hoarder) it seems that not only has my mother become a bit of a hoarder, but so has my dad (who grew up an Air Force brat and then was Army himself before becoming a missionary..so he never carried around a lot of stuff ever). Once a few years ago at Christmas my husband and I stood in the middle of their kitchen and just started counting all the coffee mugs we could see (not counting ones hidden inside cabinets)...and stopped counting after hitting 65!! I know they probably have even more since then, cause my dad will buy any mug he thinks is funny and cheaper than $1 at yard sales. 

 

So now I am wondering, did the hints here and there of their tendency toward hoarding when I was younger (we'd accumulate whenever we were somewhere for a year or more and then do a massive declutter before moving to the next place) affect my tendency towards being minimalist? Also, will my tendency toward minimalism then affect my child to want to hoard? Will my efforts at keeping things uncluttered and minimal mean that he will want to keep stuff? Since the hoarding of my grandmother could most likely be attributed to not having a lot in her younger days and the hoarding of my mom and dad could most likely be attributed to HAVING to keep things minimal because of constant moves...will my minimalism affect my child by him wanting to hang onto stuff?

post #2 of 7

My mom has these tendencies. Growing up there were lots of books in the house, but everything else was under control. When my parents moved to another state the house size doubled (even though they were down to only my youngest sibling) so there was way more places to hide things. I think for mom it is linked to depression/loneliness. Mom replaced friends and family connections she lost by moving with stuff. My stepdad used to be very minimalist, but he seems to have adjusted to the accumulation now. It has gotten bad as they now just don't have the will to deal with a major overhaul.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainey Daye View Post

So now I am wondering, did the hints here and there of their tendency toward hoarding when I was younger (we'd accumulate whenever we were somewhere for a year or more and then do a massive declutter before moving to the next place) affect my tendency towards being minimalist? Also, will my tendency toward minimalism then affect my child to want to hoard? Will my efforts at keeping things uncluttered and minimal mean that he will want to keep stuff? Since the hoarding of my grandmother could most likely be attributed to not having a lot in her younger days and the hoarding of my mom and dad could most likely be attributed to HAVING to keep things minimal because of constant moves...will my minimalism affect my child by him wanting to hang onto stuff?


I think parents influence has a strong impact one way or the other on children. 

Parents clutter tendencies can rub off on children. My Dh used to keep stuff just because "it's good quality" or "I might need it someday". His parents are the same. They would tell him he couldn't get rid of a book because it belonged to so and so or a piece of furniture because it was solid wood so he grew up with a distorted image of stuff.

 

Parents lack of things could also have a negative impact on children. If you watch those hoarding shows you do see people who grew up very poor often keep things because "you never know when you are going to need something that you just can't buy". Also if you grow up embarrassed because you didn't have something or your stuff was ratty that could affect your adult thinking. I can see someone buying their children loads of stuff because they don't want them to feel the same sense of longing. I don't think it is minimalism, but more deprivation that leads to hoarding. If your kids don't feel deprived then I don't see it as being such a problem, I guess I think there is a difference from feeling "poor" and feeling like we don't have a lot of stuff because be don't place a high value on items.

post #3 of 7

My one set of grandparents were awful at what they kept. They would keep it just to keep it and it would literally disintegrate. My other grandparents, very much simple livers- very influential in my life. My parent were collectors- on the verge of hoarding. We had weird this, farm equipment and tools and old vintage items. It was fun but often it overwhelmed me. My mother just didn't have one of anything, she had to have a least 3. When the first Wally world went in, she really amped up the buying and collecting. Between that and the Dollar store, it was getting awful. They definitely influenced me strongly.

post #4 of 7

Hi, I'm new to this group and am hoping to find some inspiration here. My parents are both light hoarders, but of different kinds of things.  My mom still has my preschool class drawings and my dad has the leftover materials from every construction job he ever ran. I kinda picked up both styles and struggle with being realistic about what to keep and what to let go of. I don't like feeling obligated to my stuff, but do want to be frugal  and savor the memories. So I guess I am on the rebelling side of my parents habits.

post #5 of 7

I don't think anyone in my family are hoarders, but they do have a lot of stuff.  I think as long as I respect my children's belonging then my own lack of stuff won't be detrimental, you know?  My grandfather never had a teddy bear when he was a kid, and as an adult he collected teddy bears.  My father's mother gave away all his stuffed animals when he was a kid and is just starting to let go some of the ones he has collected through the years.  But those are cases of deprivation and loss, which is different then actively choosing to not own something.

post #6 of 7

I'm going to resurrect this thread.  I just blogged about this last night because my thoughts finally crystallized on the matter.  My dad is a hoarder of the don't waste/may be useful/my parent's lived through the Depression type.  My mom is more pack-ratty than hoarding and doesn't let her belongings take over the living area, but she stores so much sentimental objects it's stifling.  I've carried these attitudes with me and then make me feel smothered and anxious.  I've found that I've had to give myself permission to be "wasteful" (you know, throwing out those "useful" fabric scraps), forgetful, unencumbered.

 

Bleh, I explained it better in my post.  It's just very complicated to distill into a paragraph or two, and my brain is already burned from putting it together last night.  So I'm going to link through and let my blog do the explaining.

post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramzubo View Post

I don't think it is minimalism, but more deprivation that leads to hoarding.

 

I think there is a lot of accuracy to this statement. Watch a few episodes of Hoarders (it's available on netflix streaming) and you will see a lot of the same themes running for the adults. They have said, and so have the Nanny shows, that when parents who have a hard time letting go of things, it affects the children in a similar manner. Even though our family *tries* to not have tons of stuff, we still do :/ We have less toys than the average family, but still, what I think, are too many. My kids are still quite young (4&2), so I can get rid of things & they don't much notice, but this will obv change as they get older. I will be respectful of their belongings and not just trash their stuff. That would not be nice at all.

 

We are also trying to raise our kids to not be typical "consumers", right? If I see that my child is genuinely happy with her doll, does she need another doll? Of course not. Toys, clothes, and books are all nice things to have & we are grateful to have them. It's having them in excess that we are striving to avoid. Being content with what we have, trying to quiet that voice that says, "More, more, more!"

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