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Living with a Hoarder

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From what I can find online, it seems like hoarders often suffer from mental health issues like depression and/or OCD. They are also resistant to efforts by friends and family to seek treatment. The situation that I am presently in is that I live with a hoarder. Her behavior had been pretty consistent for years. I am only now trying to face it and deal with it because our living space is full of junk to the point that it's impossible to live a normal life.
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First Helper loupie
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replied June 27th, 2009
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Yes, hoarders do suffer from mental illness. If this person refuses to get help you might want to find a different place to live. I've seen people go into hoarding after a loved one dies, or because they are suffering from an illness like bipolar disorder and/or OCD.
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replied July 13th, 2009
feel sad for you, hoarding is bad - my 80yrold reli. is one - thats alot of hoarding stuff. To make matters worse the memory is going fast - dementia or mental health not sure - does it matter - but whilst reli. still enjoys relative independence it cant go on for much longer - house full to brim - literally, only someone such as yourself will understand the truth in that-and so much anger when you try to suggest a clear up...........Ive given in gracefully - all can be responsible for consequences of own actions - serenity prayer rules- and i recognise i cant change these behaviours for my reli.
Good luck x
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replied February 5th, 2011
Hoarding husband
My husband of 47 years is definitely a hoarder! We are living in our third house, but I'm still coming across useless stuff from our first. We have discussed this at length. He agrees that he hoards, but doesn't think it's a problem and won't get help.

We need to downsize NOW, but no one would look favourably at our double garage and basement loaded with his 'stuff'

I'm at the point where I want to call in a junk collector to haul it all away, but have been told that this would be 'devastating' to him. What can I do?
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replied February 5th, 2011
Move out and let him get on with it ,i am living with a hoarder and a clutterer if there is an empty space somewhere it gets filled ,we have had constant arguments about this ,but it still continues !!!! Its driving me scatts ,i am a minimalist ,and i like order , i feel overwhelmed and distraught with the heaving piles of magazines and crap left around the place none of them ever read,shelves are filled so that you could not put anything on them ,i look the next day and low and behold she has managed to balance an object on it . sitting at the dinner table is a task too ,you pull the chair out and find a handbag and bits of paper with useless notes written on them staring up at you with almost a grin .HEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLPPPPPPP!
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replied February 6th, 2011
Thanks so much for your reply, harrybelafonte. I was considering doing just that, but then I thought of the $$ involved and also that I'm not the guilty one, why should I move? Have you moved out?

Obviously, my 'devastation' at having all the *crap* around isn't bothering him a bit. I'm seriously considering arranging a deadline (he hates deadlines) and if cleanup is not completed by ???, then off it goes to the junkyard. Drastic, maybe, but after 47 years of 'collectibles' staring at me, I'm willing to risk the aftermath.
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replied February 6th, 2011
My father is a massive OCD and obsessive buyer. He is 55. It was at such a terrible point that my father was sleeping on the floor because he had crap all over his bed and there were tiny pathways all over the house because there was crap all over. He buys tons of things that he never uses just because he thought they were "cool". I have helped him some over the years to the point where our home looks normal and presentable. Of course, our basement is absoultely LOADED and looks terrible, also his bedroom is the same way. I have got him back to sleeping on his own bed. Everything that was in the house scattered about is now scattered about in the basement. Whenever I discuss this with him he gets really angry and brings up my faults which I do not believe come close to this, just an excuse for him. He will get really mad and crazy, but then the next day will talk very calmly about the subject, and I oftend wonder why he doesn't just do that in the first place.

He has been doing it for too long to change, but I believe I have helped. I really don't have an answer to it though, I have not fixed anything for him, he is just going along more with the norm of having a mostly tidy home. I'm 21 years old and a guy as well, I like a clean house, I vacuum, try to keep it as tidy as I can because he will not. We do not have anybody else living here. I do not mind cleaning. But I really feel sorry for him but sometimes do not even want to discuss it with him because of how angry he is and how he threatens to kick me out if I "don't like how it is."

Also, my father is not a hoarder of garbage and dirty stuff, he just has a massive amount of clothing and stuff that he has bought over the years. It is just junk in the sense that he is not using it. It is not un-clean. It is just a whole ton of stuff and he keeps adding to it all of the time, but he tries to hide it from me. I still find it and will bring it up and like I said he gets angry that I'm snooping about.
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replied February 6th, 2011
You are truly a good son trying to help your dad with his problem (even though he doesn't really want help). It seems as if nothing will change unless your dad and my husband are willing to accept treatment. I know the anger very well. I'm not allowed to literally 'touch' anything that belongs to him. Now, that's sick.

I hope you'll be able to either have him agree to receive help or (you) can move on.
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replied February 6th, 2011
He once told me he was going to toss me out, I told him he would have to call the "sheriff" to get me evicted, I told him I wasn't going to leave that easily and afterall I am trying to help. It doesn't seem to sink in. Sometimes I think he tries to do better but he has much difficulty. He is a math teacher, he once told me it is hard for me to understand how a mathematical mind works. Perhaps so, I hate math and never had an interest in it. He is very OCD about the alignment of things, position of stuff, etc...

I once "joked" about calling up that hoarders television show and getting him a case. He said I was trying to make fun of him. Now perhaps that wasn't the best thing to tell him...but I believe he will never seek help or allow help. I wouldn't even know where to start. I don't want to pressure him too much, sometimes he gets so angry I worry about his health. He is a little bit overweight and all I'd need is to have him get ill or have a heart attack. My mother has cancer for the second time in two years, both of my grandmothers aren't doing too well, and my only grandfather is 90. I don't really want to incite trouble because then I'd even have less help. I have no siblings to help with anything and the rest of the family doesn't seem to care about anything, they figure it is my sole duty to take care of my parents, because apparently that is what they did for theirs. I believe in everybody taking a part, but who cares what I believe, apparently.

Thanks for the kind words, however, good luck to you with your husband as well, I wish you the best.
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replied April 27th, 2011
I just came across this Forum and it is such a relief to hear other people that deal with the same issues. I have a wife who is a hoarder and also, I think depressed and OCD. Our marriage is in such a low state that we practically don't even talk anymore. I pressured her into going to a therapist with me, but after two visits she walked out saying that she did not have an issue with all the stuff and the therapist was just picking on her. In my case it is far more that the stuff. She has isolated us from friends and family. She doesn't want anyone visiting because the house is too small. I agree with Marmalade5 "Why should I move" it is my house, but it would be devastating to her to just get rid of her stuff. My stress level goes through the roof every time I walk into the house. I love her but I really can't live with her. HELP !!! what should I do?
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replied May 31st, 2011
You tell me! I am thinking of visiting a social worker--I'd be very surprised if hubby came with me. My problem is even worse, because I am old and arthritic and have enough trouble trying to clean with stooping and lifting causing back pain, and pain in my knees and hips. And, of course, all of this causes tremendous depression. If I had money, I'd have been out of this situation years ago, believe me!
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replied May 31st, 2011
You tell me! I am thinking of visiting a social worker--I'd be very surprised if hubby came with me. My problem is even worse, because I am old and arthritic and have enough trouble trying to clean with stooping and lifting causing back pain, and pain in my knees and hips. And, of course, all of this causes tremendous depression. If I had money, I'd have been out of this situation years ago, believe me!
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replied June 16th, 2011
My husband is alcoholic depressed and hoards. I work like crazy to keep a few rooms of the house clean. And he fills the basement It is horrible. I am so fed up and I offered to get rid of it and he freaks out. I feel shallow but it may be time to just be rid of him!,,, I am just really having a hard time. This is not how I want to live! Anyone successfully get rid of a hoarder and their stuff. ? Inspire me. I am so overwhelmed!!!!!!!
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replied November 30th, 2011
It pains me to say that I have reached the breaking point with my wife. We've been married over 10 years and it's been a never ending barrage of excuses as to why the house is a literal disaster. Nothing can be thrown away without a huge fight. Every scrap of paper has to be saved. There are shopping bags, unemptied from the store, all over the place. I can't really begin to describe it all.

My wife likes to watch these hoarder shows, too. She'll look at the horrid filth in some of those houses and just say "at least we're not THAT bad". I want to scream.

What I hate the most is that our 2 daughters have to live with this. I don't know what to do. I'm at the point where I no longer care about my wife's feeling on this. I wonder which would be crueler for her? the pain of throwing everything away? or the pain of divorce?

This sucks especially because I still love her. But my health is failing. I can't prepare meals without spending an hour disinfecting things. I can't exercise inside the house because there's no place I can even lie flat. Our finances suck because I spend all my time trying to keep things from imploding. I have nothing left for side businesses or to devote to advancing at my job.

I've avoided it until now though. I didn't have the heart to explain the cruel dilemma to her. I don't care anymore about consequences. It really is shape up or divorce.

I'm not a psychologist but it doesn't matter. She refuses to even consider that our house is a serious problem. No. I'm the jerk for mentioning it.

Sorry to rant.
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replied December 10th, 2011
Tired of stuff running my life
I threw out 3 boxes of "important papers" that was in my son's room. As I type this, my wife has been digging through the recycle for 2 hours to reclaim whatever she thinks is so important. Oh, by the way, our son is a year and a half and his room has been a hoard zone that I am trying to fix so the kid can sleep in his own bed instead of our bed. I have reached my breaking point and seriously do not even care anymore when she gets upset about stuff I throw out. I told her I am dealing with it because she does not. I also told her she better get ready to fight because I am not stopping. Sad that it's got this far and I hope our family doesn't break apart because she feels stuff is more important.
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replied February 23rd, 2012
I am thankful to find this forum. My husband is a hoarder, and I constantly fight the mess. Besides hoarding, he never puts anything away, ever. He won't sort the mail (he piles it) or throw away ATM or store receipts from his pockets, he just piles them up. He piles his clothes, dishes, you name it, and it is a constant battle for me to create a clean space anywhere in our home. I am becoming very stressed, to the point it is affecting my health. I am depressed, embarrassed, frustrated... he invites people over to our home and I am so embarrassed I can hardly stand it! I love him dearly - he is a kind, thoughtful, and loving husband in every other way. He refuses to believe that my stress is a result of his hoarding and messiness! I am so distraught over this whole thing and so sick of it!
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