I am extremely relieved to find a forum of this particular topic. It really hits home for me. I totally agree with the comment that "hoarding runs in families". For as long as I can remember growing up, my parents always collected stuff, we lived with tons of things. A lot of which they purchased and others things they found in the street being thrown out as trash. My father would always say one man's junk is another man's treasure. I never understood why they would grab things that in my mind were only making our home more crowded and messy. I believe it all started with my father, and then my mom, and now it's my 2nd oldest brother. My gm from my mom's side also is a hoarder to some extent so she must of started it. I never understood how people can live in such conditions and feel good about it. It was harder when I arrived to high school and I was too embarrassed to invite any friends to my home. It was then that I said to myself, I will never be that way ever!! It's was really hard to grow up with hoarders. Now as an adult I find myself trying to help my mom to change her way of collecting and keeping useless things. I sometimes wonder if she died God forbid what I will have to deal with besides losing her of course. I have ultimately figured that this is also a behavioral problem, most hoarders in my opinion are so use to doing what they do that they don't even realize how its not important to be so attached to insignificant objects. It's really a difficult behavioral mental condition to change. The person has to also be willing to want to change just like alcoholics.
Right now, I am visiting my 2nd oldest brother because he desperately needed my help in cleaning out his apartment. I am not sure if his condition is "hoarding" or just a plain "slob". He called me in desperation to come help him, but it seems like he is not ready for change or not willing to change. The reason I say that is because I have been here for 12 days now, and for the first 8 days all I could do is wash his clothes, yes non-stop laundry. He tells me he has not done laundry for 1 yr now. I was so shocked when I first arrived that he lived in such terrible conditions. The negative energy I felt in his apartment overwhelmed me so much, that I almost took an earlier flight back home. Just seeing this situation is depressive, recently he ended a long term relationship with his gf of 6 yrs. She left, and well I am 100% sure that the apartment was messy when she was living with him, but it got worst when she moved out. I even found lots of clothes that belonged to his ex-gf. I believe a combination of depression has affected him also. But he's the type of guy that dislike going to the doctor for anything, let alone telling him to go see a doctor for therapy.
What bothered me the most is that I love my brother, I admired him for starting his own business and making a living with it and how he's allowed his home to get to this condition. His business is the only thing he definitely makes sure to take care of it seems these days. But when I ask him questions about how did it get this way: he saids he does not have time, that he's a busy person, he runs a business etc... But his excuses for me is non-sense to some extent. Here is a few examples: instead of washing clothes every week like the majority of the population does, he would go out and buy clean clothes and just leave the dirty laundry in piles; When he eats, he would leave the empty take out containers in the LR & BR instead of throwing it in the trash. In the kitchen where he has his W/D machines, the floor was covered of piles of dirty clothes and grind. Floor looked like it was not washed for a few yrs. So after throwing out expired cans and spoiled food in the kitchen, I tackled the washing of the floor while doing his laundry. Considering how much I have done, his place still looks like a mess. Anyhow, I took the initiative to clean completely the kitchen, laundry and bathroom. But now, as I need his assistance for the rest LR/BR and hallway regions it looks like he's avoiding it or just plain lazy. Even when I ask he creates excuses. I read that you have to let the hoarder participate in the cleaning up, this way the individual begins to establish a different form of behavior and also does not feel like your not being considerate to his belongings. Has anyone else read this?
I am afraid that he was not mentally ready to clean and my time here trying to help his situation was a waste. I even suggested him to move to a different apartment, but my husband stated that even if he were to move in this mind frame he can possibly do the same in the new apartment. So if that is the case, then it would be useless to try that route. So now I am left with my arms crossed as the rest of things needs to be done with him, since throwing out or giving his things to Goodwill on my own would create even more tension.
Anyhow, thanks everyone for creating such a forum. It definitely has helped me cope with the situation I am currently dealing with now, and it is what has kept me from jumping on the next flight back to my home. I try to think that any little bit of cleaning I can do will definitely help him in any form. I just fear that if not a lot more gets done before I leave, it will return to what it was when I began.
Thanks for listening! I appreciate your stories, it helps me realized that I am not alone in this! Plus that other families deal with similar situations.