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Hoarding disorder - any kids/family members? - Page 3

post #41 of 135
Subbing.

My mom is a hoarder. My dad probably is, too, but not as bad. In any case, he doesn't seem to be too bothered by it. Our house growing up was always cluttered, dirty and in disrepair. I was soooo embarrassed to bring friends over. When I go there now, I absolutely can not take it. I can't stand for my kids to be in it, crawling on filthy floors.

For example, she "collects" dolls. And she has two bookcases full of them. They're not rare dolls or interesting dolls. They're dolls she got on sale at Walmart. This is merely one of her "collections." She likes to think that she has plans to decorate and organize her house. Her favorite "style" is shabby chic. She actually thinks that's what's she's got going on with her displays of mismatched dishes, old kitchen implements, old sippy cups, old picture frames, old salt/pepper shakers, little girl dresses on hangers hanging from a lamp, etc.

I guess I'm still at the point that it pisses me off, as opposed to feeling bad for her. I really don't know what to do. I *don't* want to be the one that has to clean it when she's gone. I'm tired of making excuses for why we won't stay at her house when we're visiting. She's gotten offended about that before, thought I was too good for them. My sister speaks up about their house and they just think she's too "rigid."

So, what do you do as the child of a hoarder? Is there any point to talking with the person about it? How would you broach that conversation?
post #42 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinese Pistache
Subbing.

My mom is a hoarder. My dad probably is, too, but not as bad. In any case, he doesn't seem to be too bothered by it. Our house growing up was always cluttered, dirty and in disrepair. I was soooo embarrassed to bring friends over. When I go there now, I absolutely can not take it. I can't stand for my kids to be in it, crawling on filthy floors.

For example, she "collects" dolls. And she has two bookcases full of them. They're not rare dolls or interesting dolls. They're dolls she got on sale at Walmart. This is merely one of her "collections." She likes to think that she has plans to decorate and organize her house. Her favorite "style" is shabby chic. She actually thinks that's what's she's got going on with her displays of mismatched dishes, old kitchen implements, old sippy cups, old picture frames, old salt/pepper shakers, little girl dresses on hangers hanging from a lamp, etc.

I guess I'm still at the point that it pisses me off, as opposed to feeling bad for her. I really don't know what to do. I *don't* want to be the one that has to clean it when she's gone. I'm tired of making excuses for why we won't stay at her house when we're visiting. She's gotten offended about that before, thought I was too good for them. My sister speaks up about their house and they just think she's too "rigid."

So, what do you do as the child of a hoarder? Is there any point to talking with the person about it? How would you broach that conversation?

We must be twins!

Every time we visit. my mom is all perplexed that we stay in a hotel. I have to make up excuses. She does not see that the house is filthy and there is lterally no surface area for three additional people to lay down. She asks why we cannot stay there when we go camping all of the time (as in why can't we just use our sleeping bags). Then she goes on to complain to my sister and her friends that we think we are "too good" for her house. It is so frustrating and unfair. It is also very sad.

My mom too will tell me all about her remodeling and redecorating plans. She likes country stuff. SO of course the house is bursting at the seams with country stuff but you cannot see any of it. What is displayed is so dusty and dirty from neglect that there really is no point.

I am sorry to say I am angry too. I know she does not have control of this situation but I just want to yell "CAN YOU NOT SEE WHAT THIS DUMP LOOKS LIKE?????" I also worry about what will happen is she dies or disappears. I told my sister I will hire one of those companies that cleans and sells everyhting for a 75% cut. I do not care if I do not get one penny. I just really do not want to deal with the filth and sickness of it.

I am also always in a dilemma about Christmas. My family always had very lavish holidays. Tons of presents. Usually cheap stuff we did not want but still HUGE piles for each person. When my dad died and my sister was still in elementary school, I felt the need to replace some of the missing pile that resulted from my dad not being there to get stuff for my mom. But after the first year, I did not want to contribute to the collection of crap, had very little money as a college student, and really wanted my mother to cut back so I did not have to find places or new hoems for the pile of stuff that was never going to fit in my car, let alone my dorm room. I had found simple living and wanted to share that. I naively thought it was a simple as that. That was 13 years ago. I have been having this discussion and pleading to cut the amount of stuff my mom gives us. She has only social security so she really should not be spending this much on us anyway. She always findsa loophole. I had a one gift rule. She could only get dh and I one gift each. So she wrapped a million little things and put them in one box. I told her no santa for dd. So she did "Father Christmas". Augh!!!!!!! We go to the ILs right afterwards every year and my MIL takes great delight in mocking the used/dirty/cheap/worthless stuff my mom showers on us. It is horrible all around. And while MIL's behavior is bad and so is mine, I direct my anger at my mom. And I feel sad and mean when on Christmas morning, my mom's pile is tiny because I do stick to the one present rule. If I buy more, I am just adding to the heap. My poor sister spends a good chunk of her very limited income on the hope that a few good, quality wardrobe pieces will help my mom dress better and get her whole life back on track. But inevitably, my mom will wear it once, spill something on it, then put it in a pile in her "closet" to never see the light of day again. I cannot justify spending too much of our limited income on things that will not get used or taken care of that just contributes to the insanity. But I still feel sad for her on that morning. It is like she is being punished for something that is not her fault.

Anyone elses parents have colse friends that do the same thing? My mom's best friends is just as bad and they feed off each other.
post #43 of 135
Yooper

I want to go to my mom's house now and see what it looks like. I haven't been over there in years because it suffocates me. I don't think it's dangerous and my kids love to go to Grandma's house, but for me it's mental. I just can't mentally be there.

However, three years ago my Grandma died and my mom and one of my Aunts had to take care of her stuff. Grandma kept a neat house (at least compared to Mom) but she had tons of stuff. In the years before she died she had to move to an assisted living apartment and tried to bring most of her stuff. It's become sort of a joke that she was living in this small apartment with one table and had agreed to cull *down* to 26 tableclothes. For her, I think the problem was just that she had to downsize and couldn't because when she was in her house, it was fine. Yes, a LOT of stuff, but not piled up in rooms like my mom (she had cluttered closets, cluttered shelves, stuff like that).

My point in telling the story though is that when my mom and my Aunt had to deal with their mother's stuff it seems to have been a wakeup call for them. My mom has even said she doesn't want to do to us two kids what her mom did to them and intends to clear her house. She doesn't want us to have to deal with a housefull of stuff when she dies. Now, she talks a good game, but like I said I haven't been over in years so I don't know if she's actually doing it. Maybe I should get up the nerve for a visit before I decide if she's a hoarder or not. Miracles do happen and maybe her house is better now. On the other hand, if I do go there and her house is just as bad as ever well . . . . I don't know, what's the point? I'm not going to change her right?

Christmas, omg, don't talk to me about Christmas! My mom definitely thinks more is better for Christmas. When we were little we were pretty poor and she could only afford the five and dime. She'd buy a ton of cheap crap and the quantity would make up for the quality. Of course we loved it, we were kids! Now she has more money but she's still stuck on the "ton" part.

This year is the first that my dh and I will not be taking part in my family's Christmas Eve gift exchange. I'm going to use the money we would have spent to donate to Heifer.

Oh and the loopholes! Gawd you've never met a woman more precise about language than my mom (I wonder if that has anything to do with OCD or it's something different?). Once I told her I didn't like that the kids came home with new stuff (toys & clothes mostly) everytime they went to her house, it was too much stuff (they go to her house every week so it adds up!). So the next time they go over they come home with stuff and I bring it up and she tells me they're not "new", they were from a thrift store. I told her I'd prefer they not come home with things that are new "to them" every time they go over. I'm not saying she can't ever give them things but please, not every week! The worst is when they come home with stuff from my mom's basement, smelling of mildew and stained uke Something that I would throw away.

If my mom died and the house is like it is, I'd walk through and see if there's anything worth taking and then I'd call one of those clean up companies too. I really think that's the way to go.
post #44 of 135
Thread Starter 
Ladies, I'm sorry I haven't had time to reply to everyone personally. I've got 2 sick little ones and DH was out of state for a few days. : I am sorry to hear that so many of us are dealing with this problem, but glad that we can join together for support.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinese Pistache
So, what do you do as the child of a hoarder? Is there any point to talking with the person about it? How would you broach that conversation?
This is the question so many of us are grappling with. On the COH Yahoo group, there are folks who are trying everything from just letting them do their thing to involving the authorities. There doesn't seem to be a good choice - the challenge is to find the one that is the least bad for your situation. Ideally, I'd like to think I could reason with my mom, explain to her that it is a mental disorder and not her fault, get her in therapy, and she'd eventually let us help. Realistically, I can't see that happening. :

If you decide to gently bring up the subject with your parent, the COH web site has some great resources.
post #45 of 135
Hi,
I am new to this forum- have read threads often but just joined today. My mother and father both are hoarders (not married anymore). Both have different components about the stuff they hoard-my mom clothes, books, newspapers and my dad old car parts, pieces of motors (any kind) and newpapers too. My dad is remarried and his wife goes crazy over this. He built a "barn" a few years ago to contain all his stuff so he could get it all out of their house and keep the peace- his wife refuses to go to the barn. My mother lives in the house I grew up in and only has paths to the various rooms. It seems to have begun just as our family was breaking apart- parents divorcing and sister being diagnosed with mental illnesses.

On another note about me, I am a masters student and currently working on my thesis. My thesis is all about this. The title is The familial impacts of compulsive hoarding. After reading here, I am wondering if anyone has thoughts about what questions might be most relevant to ask (on my questionnaire). I have noticed a theme with the onset of hoarding being after some sort of "trauma"- and this is substantiated in the research. Any thoughts would be greatly welcomed. (I have been working on this for a few years now- since I had my 2 little ones during this process!!)

Sorry so long. Hope to hear your thoughts.
Thanks.
post #46 of 135
Just something I keep mulling over here

Quote:
(1) the acquisition of, and failure to discard a large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value; (2) living spaces sufficiently cluttered so as to preclude activities for which those spaces were designed; and (3) significant distress or impairment in functioning caused by the hoarding." This definition distinguished hoarding from the collecting of objects generally considered interesting and valuable.
#1, why do the items need to be useless or of limited value? If I have 40,000 Faberge eggs in this house, to the point where I can't use rooms and can't walk except for paths, isn't that still hoarding? (yes, I know there aren't 40,000 Faberge eggs in the world )

#3 WHO needs to be distressed? From what I've seen (stories here too) it seems like most hoarders are NOT distressed about the hoarding. Most of them feel comfortable in the hoard.

And the other part of #3, "impairment in functioning". What do they mean by this? Does that mean if your house is packed to the celing with trash but you manage to take a shower and go to work in clean clothing every day, you aren't a hoarder?

#2 is the only one I don't take issue with. I really think, despite what it is (diamonds, Ming vases, etc) and despite the rest of your life (getting to work on time, having a good relationship with friends) if your house is cluttered to the point that you can't walk in rooms and have to be careful of the stuff *and* you can't give it away - that's hoarding.

Can anyone explain these to me? Maybe I'm not understanding it correctly.
post #47 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShannonCC
Just something I keep mulling over here ....
Can anyone explain these to me? Maybe I'm not understanding it correctly.
I think this definition is too rigid. While Frost is one of the leading experts on compulsive hoarding, this was written in 1996, and I believe the understanding of hoarding disorder is changing as more study is done. Frost and Hartl were describing "clinical hoarding," which is when it reaches the level of a "clinically significant problem." (Frost, 2000) There is a trend to view obsessive compulsive disorders as a spectrum, and I think this suits collecting/cluttering/hoarding/squalor very well. It will be interesting to see how hoarding is understood ten years from now.

Quote:
#1, why do the items need to be useless or of limited value? If I have 40,000 Faberge eggs in this house, to the point where I can't use rooms and can't walk except for paths, isn't that still hoarding? (yes, I know there aren't 40,000 Faberge eggs in the world )
I would call this hoarding. If you have any collection of items which interferes with your ability to use living space, it's a problem. A hoard of "valuable" items may not be as clinically interesting as one of used ziplock baggies, but it's still a hoard in my opinion.

Quote:
#3 WHO needs to be distressed? From what I've seen (stories here too) it seems like most hoarders are NOT distressed about the hoarding. Most of them feel comfortable in the hoard.
And the other part of #3, "impairment in functioning". What do they mean by this? Does that mean if your house is packed to the celing with trash but you manage to take a shower and go to work in clean clothing every day, you aren't a hoarder?
I think even if the person is comfortable in their hoard, it does cause distress when thinking about outside forces which might threaten it. As for "impairment in functioning," not being able to use furniture and living spaces for their designed purpose is impairment in my book. For instance, if you can't cook in your kitchen because of all the junk and have to eat out every meal - that's impairment even though it might not be apparent to someone else.

Also, the sad fact is that "impairment in functioning" can be applied to the interpersonal and familial relationships of many hoarders. This is most apparent in the circumstances of children who grow up in hoard houses, where the parent-child relationship is twisted by the hoarding problem. But even in the case of my mom, who lives alone, her ability to function as a participating member of the family has diminished as the hoarding has worsened.
post #48 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by momof1sofar
There is a trend to view obsessive compulsive disorders as a spectrum, and I think this suits collecting/cluttering/hoarding/squalor very well.
Like my earlier example of alcholism and how a person doesn't have to be lying in the gutter to be an alcoholic. Yeah. I just don't see it as being so black and white here, but I guess they have to start somewhere when they're defining things. Thanks.

hspj, that's interesting about trauma. What about when it just runs in the family? Is that less common? I'd ask about that, just to see the numbers. Also, have you looked into a relation to IQ? There are a lot of social disorders that *can* be more likely with unusually high IQs. I wonder if hoarding is one of them.
post #49 of 135
Here's an article I found interesting http://www.metroactive.com/papers/so...ters-0011.html One "bad" word (for those who might be offended). It mentions (among other things) that hoarding often runs in families along with OCD. That definitely runs true in my family. Whether we have actual hoarders or not in my family, we definitely have some problems with clutter. I've mentioned my mom's house but my sister's is very close. Actually, I haven't been in there for so long, it might be just as bad by now. And she has pets while my mom no longer does. I don't know why I won't just say it. Maybe I need to see their houses again before I admit it. Just on the off chance they actually have cleaned up since the last time I was at either of their houses.

I also found that article interesting because of what it talked about with SRIs and chemical imbalances. First let me say I'm not a hoarder, but my house is cluttered so it's related. Just like I have OCD tendencies but not actual OCD like my mom. However, a few months ago I started taking amino acid supplements (per the book The Mood Cure) to help me with depression (it worked). Then a month ago I started getting really serious about cleaning up this place and getting the clutter out of here. It wasn't til I read this article this morning but OMG, it's related isn't it!

What about the rest of you here? Does it run in our families or is there just one hoarder? Are you anywhere near a hoarder or just a clutterer or do you live in a minimalist style? If you aren't a packrat at all does that come easy to you or is it a struggle to keep the house neat?
post #50 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShannonCC
What about the rest of you here? Does it run in our families or is there just one hoarder? Are you anywhere near a hoarder or just a clutterer or do you live in a minimalist style? If you aren't a packrat at all does that come easy to you or is it a struggle to keep the house neat?
I'd love to hear everyone's answers to this! I think my mother's hoarding is a manifestation of general OCD tendencies that run in our family. None of us have been diagnosed with OCD (though we're 100% sure my mom would be if she'd see a professional), but here are some examples:
* my maternal grandmother would save things "for good" and never use them - like the living room furniture that NO ONE was allowed to sit on - it was like brand new when she died
* my mom was perfectionistic about cleaning (when we were little, our house was kept very clean) - for example, we had to scrub the kitchen floor by hand because mops wouldn't get it clean enough. (This kind of perfectionism is pretty common in hoarders, btw.)
* my maternal uncle is a borderline hoarder - apparently my aunt is the only thing keeping his behavior in check, according to my cousins.
* my sister and I both developed moderate germaphobia after becoming mothers - mine mostly focuses on raw meat, unwashed vegetables, etc. When my husband has handled raw meat, I have to SEE him wash and disinfect his hands before I'll hand him the baby. I'm getting kind of anxious about it just typing this.
* my sisters and I are all prone to clutter - this is one benefit to my mom's hoarding, in that it's inspired all of us to get a handle on it before it's too late. I have a particularly hard time throwing away paperwork, class notes, etc. I'm also having difficulty in getting rid of the kids' outgrown clothes and toys. This is most interesting because our house was not cluttered while I was growing up - it started after my dad left when I was 14.
post #51 of 135
I once started a thread called Help for Hoarders. After reading this, I can see I was only talking about pack-rats and clutterers, not true hoarders.

Didn't get a whole lot of activity. But there are a few tips there.
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=320600

There but for the grace of God go I!
post #52 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by momof1sofar
* my mom was perfectionistic about cleaning (when we were little, our house was kept very clean) - for example, we had to scrub the kitchen floor by hand because mops wouldn't get it clean enough. (This kind of perfectionism is pretty common in hoarders, btw.)
My mom was not neat when I was a kid, but this is her too. When she does clean something, she goes overboard. So the kitchen might be a dump, with dirty, smelly dishwater in the sink and crap piled on the table, counters covered with stuff, but if she mops the floor she scrubs it to perfection. Her living room might be so bad it's suffocating but her desk will be overly organized with a place for every little thing. Stuff like that. At work she is a very detail oriented perfectionist who does a fantastic job.

Flylady talks about this too, about how perfectionism paralyzes some people. You either feel like you can't start (because what if you do it wrong????) or you feel like you don't have time to "do it right" so why bother.

Quote:
* my sisters and I are all prone to clutter - this is one benefit to my mom's hoarding, in that it's inspired all of us to get a handle on it before it's too late.
I worry about later down the line though. So many stories seem to say that things were ok (or manageable) when the people were younger. I read on one link that the average age for a hoarder is 50. So maybe I'm ok now but as time goes on will I get worse? Of course my mom has always been like this (my life at least) and my sister is younger than me so it doesn't always hold true.

Quote:
This is most interesting because our house was not cluttered while I was growing up - it started after my dad left when I was 14.
The more I read, the more I think that for many people it is *not* learned behavior. It's something inherited. Some mental problem, chemical imbalance, whatever. So even if my mom had hired cleaners and kept the house spotless when I was growing up, the tendency to clutter would still be in me.

I think it's different if you went through some trauma like the Great Depression or a war or something. That hasn't been my experience with the people in my family though.

Gotta go find more to get rid of
post #53 of 135
I think my mom's is related to feelings of deprivation and probably depression (she thyroid issues and other health problems). She was poor growing up, dd of a single mother, who practically raised her siblings. Then, she married my dad who was always under-employed. They scraped by until 8 or so years ago when my mom went back to school and got a good job. I do think that she still feels like the shoe's going to drop at any time and she'll be poor again. (TBH, her fears are not unfounded. With some recent health probs and my dad losing some hours, they ARE scraping by again.)

I was/am prone to clutter, but I think it was a result of never learning to be organized. My mom's house growing up was ALWAYS disgusting. She has this problem that she must "see" all of her things. So, paperwork in stacks on a desk, as opposed to filed and put away, makes her feel more in control of it. Growing up, her sewing table was in our dining room, overflowing with junk. Now, her sewing stuff is in her family room. She likes to see it all, so she has this put away in little bins, holders, boxes, etc. Funny thing, she commented on my uncle's OCD once (brother of my dad with a true diagnosis, probably also has Aspergar's), and how "crazy" it was for him to keep his whole garage filled with neatly organized, super clean boxes packed into his storage shelves (but not messily, just obsessively filling every blank space). She doesn't recognize herself at all.

On to my habits again. . . I'm prone to clutter, but honestly, I think it was a result of never seeing a healthy example making decisions about what to keep. My dh helped me tremendously. He does not keep junk and he's ruthless about tossing stuff (he, fwiw, did not grow up poor like I did, so he never had that deprivation feeling that I've experienced). I don't think I put an emotional investment into things like many hoarders do. I'm pretty unsentimental (my poor kids! I've hardly saved anything but pictures).

Kids need me, but I'll come back and address the issue of perfectionism and cleaning.
post #54 of 135
I am subbing.

Honestly, I do not know if my parents are "hoarders." They keep everything, but they (especially my dad) are meticulously organized. He even puts the garbage out organized (and he can throw some stuff out). Their house is cluttered, but stuff is behind closed doors. Now, they keep adding more and more "storage systems" to every wall, so the house seems smaller than when I was a kid. Inside those doors, stuff is PACKED TO THE GILLS. They have china cabinets packed with stuff. Some collectible, some just stuff. Including 30-year-old wedding favors--one from every wedding they've been too. 30 year old Jordan almonds--gross! My brother's old room is filled with 1) his childhood furniture, some with 20-year-old toys in it! and 2)boxes and boxes of stuff from my grandmother's house. My dad is an only child and kept virtually everything. I don't mean pictures and sentimental things. I mean pots, pans, books, old crappy TV, carpets, cheap paintings, old coats, everything from the medicine cabinet (yes, my parents have metal band-aid boxes w/original bandaids in the bathroom!). They also have "locking" trash cans in the yard with linens stored in them--including new sheet sets from gram's house for queen beds. They don't have a queen matress anywhere!

They think they need a bigger house, and have looked into adding on. My mom thinks my dad needs to part w/some stuff, but those wedding favors, sheets, pots and pans (they never cook!), cheap thimbles, fake eggs, bells, are all hers.

It makes my very tired and tense to be there--so much stuff, to get anything out they have to move a bunch of stuff, and it's just so crowded w/wall-to-wall furniture.
post #55 of 135
RE: Cleaning. I do have the problem of being perfectionistic about cleaning and therefore, feeling like I never have time to tackle it properly. I'm slowly putting those thoughts away and just doing a little at a time so that I don't get overwhelmed. I am a perfectionist in other ways, too, so this is not surprising.

Our house growing up was really bad and my parents still live that way. Their dog pees and they don't clean it up. I sewed them a slipcover for a couch my grandmother gave them. I really took my time, and the fabric wasn't cheap. I was really hoping it would inspire my mom to want to keep things nice. Nope! The next time I visited them (several months later), there were huge dog pee stains on it and it was filthy. It was a removeable slipcover, so don't ask me why they didn't take it off and wash it:
post #56 of 135
craftymom, I don't think hoarding has to be messy.

Quote:
Our house growing up was really bad and my parents still live that way. Their dog pees and they don't clean it up
Do they also walk around piles of poop for hours pretending they don't see it so someone else will clean it up? That was my house growing up. It always got cleaned up by the end of the day at least so I guess it wasn't *that* bad.

If my dog pees on the floor I actually (gasp!) clean it up. As soon as I find it, not hours later. I may not be the neatest person around (hah!) but really, it shouldn't be so hard to figure out that if someone goes on the floor you clean it up!

At least my mom has decided not to get any more pets. Her last one died a year or so ago and even though I sort of think she should have a dog (because of her neighborhood) she doesn't want any more. So at least no more pee on the floor.
post #57 of 135
Personally, I do think my parents are hoarders. However, I have checked out the kids of hoarders website, my parents' house was/is NOTHING like that. There are not piles of stuff everywhere, there is no animal waste of any kind. Of course, as they have aged, I can see their cleaning standards going down (or--since their cheap labor, me, moved out 20 years ago!). My mom, though, I really think can't see some of it, she has _bad_ eyesight and beginning mac. deg. My father will.not.clean.anything.but.the.car.

They don't even have a pet anymore, but when I was a kid, they would both FREAK if a cat peed or pooped in the house. There are plenty of places to sleep, they (OK, mom) does laundry, dishes, vacuums, etc. Of course, they also have the box of carpet shampoo stuff for a vacuum they had in 1973 in the laundry room. Unopened. They don't have that vacuum anymore. But it "might come in handy." They even have shelves in the laundry room (1 bottle deep) on every open wall that my dad designed to store their "great deals". They buy stuff super cheap at a discount store and get so much they end up opening it 5 years later (dad has a dating system so he can rotate the deals), it's moldy and they toss it. How is this saving $$?

Basically, someone new walking in would think that:
1) they have too much furniture AND
2) the carpet needs to be stretched--desperately--but they won't get it done because there's too much furniture to move (I worry about them tripping)

My dh and I do reference having to go through their house someday. We have even "joked" with my mom about it, as they had to go through my grandmother's house. My mom says dad can't toss anything, he says its her. (FWIW, they both kept tons of unsellable stuff--like plastic tables--from gram's house. And saleable stuff, like the purchased rock/gem collection dad always thought was stupid but won't sell.)

My mom says _I_ can't throw anything away. This stumps my dh to no end--I always tell him to tell me if it's true, and he just says "I don't get her."
post #58 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by craftymom
Personally, I do think my parents are hoarders. However, I have checked out the kids of hoarders website, my parents' house was/is NOTHING like that.
As someone said before, it's probably a spectrum. One hoarder can have 1,000s of the same useful item (neatly organized and in good condition) while another might keep bags of garbage. They are both hoarders but one is much more likely to attract notice and be called a hoarder. That's how I'm thinking of it.

I've checked the pictures online and yeah, for some of them, my mom and sister's houses are not nearly that bad. Like I said, my mom *does* take out the garbage. I've even read descriptions of people saving their bodily wastes which would make the people who save garbage look good in comparison.
post #59 of 135
I never post over here, but I feel like I grew up with all of you.

My mom lives alone (dad died when I was 14). I always remember us having too much stuff. I always remember too many toys, too many papers, going crazy for a whole day before someone visited...but it was livable. Then, as years went by (especially after my dad died), it got really bad really quickly.
I never had friends over. This sucked the most.
I am prone to clutter, but I always make sure my house is clean and stuff is put away (if only temporarily) so that my dd can have lots of playdates. I never want her to feel the loneliness that I felt as a teenager--and the sort of wierd looks/reactions I got from people when I didn't invite them over. I can remember dating guys when I was away at college, but praying that the relationship wouldn't get serious so that they would never have to visit my home. How sad is that?

My mom's house is horrific. She doesn't have pets, but it is just mass amounts of papers, boxes, ...and one of you talked of wedding favors...
My mom is a collector. I think she has 40 years worth. She saves the ENVELOPES of her mail. She sleeps on the couch because her whole room is full of everything from my old toys to bags of brand new stuff. She kept all of her shoes from when she was in her 20's...and they don't fit anymore...and they are in horrible condition!
I never let my dd or ds play there. It's just a safety issue. I feel awful for her, and sad too. She never has company.
I get scared sometimes....I just never want to turn into her. I just want to throw everything out.
I am so glad to hear that you are all dealing with this too, in some sort of way. I am also interested in the OCD part...because I know I suffer from this in certain areas. I do hand scrub my floors. I also get sidetracked from simple tasks by doing major cleaning. Right now, my house is just a little cluttered, and I'd like to keep it at that level.
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I've been looking at a lot of pictures online. They are inspiring (in a "don't turn into this" type of way). I wish I could find more before/after ones though. Not many "after"

Welcome IansMommy! Sorry you're here (I mean sorry you have to be here )

So this past year my hubbie and I decided we will not be taking part in the Christmas exchange with my family anymore. The decision was because of our stress level with Christmas in general and my family in particular but recently I'm thinking of another reason. I've been thinking and I realized that whenever I give my mom or sister something, I'm just adding to the pile. No, I'm not going to cure them or anything, but I don't feel like helping them make it worse. Like, if someone was an alcoholic I wouldn't buy them beer right? (I keep coming back to the alcoholic example - probably cuz that's in my family too).

I was looking at this http://www.badjason.com/RegularArtic...eBay%20mom.htm She's a bit harsh on her mom but I think some of you can understand her frustration and forgive her that. This house is far worse than my moms but there's one picture with a Christmas bag on a couch. My mom does that. She has Christmas gifts from years past still in the bag/wrapping, never used but she won't give them away because they were gifts.

I understand that a bit. I've been de-cluttering lately and I've given away some wedding gifts. Part of me (though that part is getting smaller!) says "you can't give that away, that was from your wedding!". The ever growing part of me says "you never liked that so out it goes!". I gave away a vase my aunt gave me. I love my aunt, she's great, but I'm not getting rid of HER. Just getting rid of a vase (it's a nice enough vase by the way, not ugly, I just wanted to whittle myself down to one large one instead of 3 - when have I ever had three bunches of flowers at once?).

I guess my mom is not able to do that. She sees a gift and it would be like throwing away the person. I'm not mean about it. It's not like I emailed my aunt and told her I was giving it away, yk?
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