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Crescendo Offline
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Question Mom and I May Be Mild Hoarders - December 18th 2009, 09:19 PM

The main question i have is: does anyone know any books about overcoming mild hoarding or can anyone relate?

This morning I overslept and missed the school bus and my parents didn't have time to drive me the hour to school so I just stayed home. I went on the Internet, and saw an advertisement about A&E's show "Hoarders" which is about intervention with Compulsive Hoarders. They had a full episode on the website, and I didn't have anything better to do so I watched it.Although they tried to end the show on a happy note- the clean houses- i felt frustrated by the shows minimal depiction of the the therapeutic aspect of the intervention which they stated was so crucial to the process. I thought about what a difficult thing hoarding must be to deal with. And then I looked up and noticed the incredible disorganization of the room I was in.

I thought back to when I was being evaluated by an OCD expert (I was diagnosed with obsessional OCD) and the questions he asked that I knew was evaluating me for hoarding tendencies. I remembered admitting that I had a trash bag in my closet filled with odds and ends I never used, but couldn't bring myself to throw away. I remember downplaying the size of the trash bag, feeling embarrassed and wanting to quickly move on with the evaluation. I then thought about how in the past I have joked that my mom "Hoards" magazines, because she has several subsciptions which pile up (i just took a quick look at several places which my mom keeps magazines downstairs, i would estimate she has at least 50 currently down stairs, which doesn't include the stacks i know she has by her bed, and that may be in the storage boxes under her desk in the family room.) And I realized, maybe my family really does have a mild hoarding problem.

I have always struggled to keep my room clean and my possessions organized. Several times over the years my dad has gotten so frustrated he would take large trash bags and dump in everything of mine that was on the kitchen table and counters, sometimes actually placing it in garbage cans outside. I think this would upset anyone, but I would cry and feel incredibly violated, going through the trash bags and having to decide over every object, every old school paper it contained.

While I was in residential this fall, my parents kept asking if they could clean my room while i was gone, and i would get very
anxious, and beg them to not touch any of my belongings. in the end my mom did take some of the clothes off of the floor, and rehang the curtain rod which had fallen. and i hated that. she rehung the curtain, big deal. but i hated that. i don't like other people touching my things. i hate it when airport security goes through my bags.

There were many occasions where over the course of a weekend hours on end would be spent by my parents and i trying to organize my room. i wanted it clean, and i did want help, but if they didn't consult me on every object i would get upset, and end up just doing it myself. I can't tell you how many times i have started going through piles, or bags, or boxes in my room, and would end up with a bigger mess because i would have to dump out the contents on the floor and go through each item, forcing myself to throw out some possessions that i hadn't used in years, but didn't want to let go of.

I have a very large room. But even when my things are organized there isn't enough room for all my stuff. I don't consider myself to be very materialistic. I'm not a big fan of shopping. I'm not a collector of anything specific. but yet i can't let go of all these possessions i never use.

My possessions have taken up more room in the house as I've gotten older. My clutter now controls our computer room, and a kitchen counter, and accounts for a large portion of the things that used to be in our basement, which had mold from water damage and had to be completely stripped and now is in our garage and a large storage unit outside our house.

On the show they said that researchers think there might be a genetic component to hoarding. my mom is definitely a pack rat, and although is often complaining of the state of our home, her possessions occupies a desk in a corner of our family room that i don't think anyone has ever actually used to work at, as well as part of the table on the porch and her dresser top, and space around a rocking chair and bookshelf in her room.

I think my parents and I are all ashamed of how our house looks, and we very rarely have people over. my dad is the only one whose stuff isn't everywhere, and i know it stresses him out that the house is so messy. he has tried to convince my mom so many times to let him hire a cleaning service, but i think she is the same way i am, not liking people to touch her things. i am the dirtiest member of the family, and what i mean by that is that i don't just have clutter in my room and around the computer, there are many used dishes and food wrappers.

My maternal grandparent's house (where one of my aunt's and cousins also live) also has rooms overflowing with belongings, most notably the basement, the office, and at least one bed room usually have one path you can walk through, from the door to the bed, from the door to the computer, etc. and the rest of the room is piled several feet high with various objects.

I took pictures of clutter in my home, and my mom saw me doing this and got upset, asking what i was doing with the pictures and telling me if I'm going to take pictures of the house i should "at least clean it first!" but i think the problem goes deeper than disorganization. and just like the many times we have put forth a full family effort to organize our home only to have it quickly return to chaotic clutter, i think that although cleaning again would be a good first step, that my mom and i need help understanding why we become so attached to things, and coping skills to prevent this cycle that has caused so many fights in my family.

in the slide show the link below leads to, i have pictures of the most cluttered parts of our house. if you click the show info button at the top right of the screen you can read what room in the house it is, what types of objects are stored there, and whose mess it is.


When the patient's body has betrayed them,
and all the sciencewe have to offer has failed them,
when worst-case scenario comes true,
clinging to hope is all we've got left.
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Re: Mom and I May Be Mild Hoarders - December 20th 2009, 08:38 AM

I've got a cluttered room myself. I have a hard time parting with certain things, other things its no problem. My brother, however, is very bad for this. His room is PACKED with trinkets, pictures, empty cases from expensive beers, etc., etc. He also has about 15-20 different types of cologne, collects free samples of colognes, has lots of different shirts (yet they're all very similar), has 3 different pairs of Oakley's, about 3 or 4 leather jackets, and such. He's a major collector and hoarder. Hes also got lots of garbage in his room. Its very hard to walk through his room for anything. And when he does clean it up, he only gets rid of the trash that ISN'T special. Like, if he had a limited edition bottle, can, or whatever, he'd keep it.

I think this is very common, because really, everything has a value attached. And if you part with it, even though it may seem insignificant to others, you lose a little bit of yourself, or what you're about, with it. Maybe you guys could sit down and figure out what has criteria to stay or not? For example, if your mom has a phone bill from 2 years ago that isn't being saved for a court case, thats something to throw out. But if you had a letter from a pen pal in China or something, thats worth keeping. Try possibly restricting yourself to some kind of bin or chest, and figure out whats worth putting in there or not. *Shrugs* Sorry I can't be of anymore help.
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Re: Mom and I May Be Mild Hoarders - December 20th 2009, 09:14 AM

I would like to reply because I fit in this. My bedroom is cluttered with a lot of things that I am sure I could put in boxes and forget I own. Not as bad right now because that is what I did. I have three medium boxes in the living room i need to sort through. I have 4 very large plastic bins in the backyard under the porch full of stuff as well. The garage has another one and several file boxes loaded on a shelf, plus a lot of shelves full on the wall. In my basement I have a lot of crap as well there. Included in this, is the knowledge if I were to visit any electronics store I would not find anything I would need, because I have it. Any kind of wire, one of each at least. So many old power plugs from things i might not have anymore. Clutter has consumed me and I am so conflicted over how to reduce it without losing anything I might need, or might want to use. Hoarding can be a big problem. I only hope I can get my little sister back to help me sort through it and throw things away, because I cannot bring myself to do it on my own.

I think back to when I was around 11, when I was sorting my bedroom for my first time. I had a lot of toys I liked. All kinds of toy cars, legos, hockey cards, stuffed animals, marbles. I spread it all out to sort it before I had to go for supper. When I came back my step father came into my room and got very mad at me. He seemed to think I was stupid for having such a mess after being asked to clean it up. He took away my computer for a week as punishment. And he cleaned my room, taking away a lot of things which were never seen again. I think back to that when I need to clean up for visitors. And I remove as much from my room as I can, into a box, into the basement, no matter if there was garbage mixed in to it. For a little while my room is clean, until it is time to fill another box. That is my cycle, it seems.

One rule I have learned well however is it is much easier to clean someone else's mess than my own. This is true for so very many people. Perhaps you can trade with a cousin and your mother can trade with your aunt, if you do not mind me suggesting. I know when my sister came over to help clean we plowed through everything I set aside to sort, and had finished in surprisingly little time.

- Backstart

Last edited by Wishbone; December 20th 2009 at 09:29 AM. Reason: adding
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advice needed, clutter, disorganization, hoarders, hoarding, mild, mom, ocd, pictures

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