My father is a hoarder and my sister and I have been trying to deal with this our entire lives. I never had friends over as a child b/c our house looked as if we had just moved in and I was too embarrassed. Boxes of papers, TV Guides, magazines, newspapers, etc. were kept for that one article he might want to read one day. He kept every twistie tie from bread bags, every margarine tub, every produce bag, every strawberry basket. There were paths around the house through all of the boxes and clutter. He would cram everything into his bedroom when we had company over so no one would know how bad it was; I called his bedroom the attic b/c of the amount of stuff in his room. I never got in trouble as a kid for coming home at 5am but I got in trouble for throwing a few bags and tubs away.
My father moved overseas in 1997 and I could not help him clean out his house b/c it was entirely too overwhelming. Several family friends helped and as a result of the chaos and extreme clutter, important papers were thrown away. They filled the big dumpster outside the apartment complex and still left an entire apartment's worth of clutter.
Last year I tried to help my father get rid of some things and organize his nice, new apartment. He responded by running into his room to hide a handful of spinach bags. Those familiar paths are present in his new apartment and I as much as I look forward to seeing him in a few months, I am anxious to see how bad his apartment is today.
This is a problem that is very difficult to treat; the person must admit they have a problem and many do not. It makes me sad, upset and worried that I too may turn into a hoarder, or already am in a little way. I'll catch myself holding onto something thinking "I'll use it one day" and make myself get rid of it if I haven't used it in over 6 months- one year. We need a support group for the relatives of hoarders. This isn't a problem that is going to get better on its own.
posted 3 years, 9 months ago
view in context