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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Off Topic » Has anyone had experience with hoarders?

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Author Topic: Has anyone had experience with hoarders?
Kara Tyson
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My aunt has this type of OCD and my family is just at our wits end. All the PAPER in the house! Newspapers 20 years old stacked to the ceiling.

She has a large home so it isnt as crowded as someone in an apt. but the repair guy cant even get into the garage.

It is a sensative subject in that she gets angry if anyone mentions helping clear things. My mom threw away advertisments 10 years old and a 5 year old grocery list and she was furios at my mom.


Posts: 6022 | From Mobile, AL | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
24bit
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My aunt was kind of like that. She kept old magazines, stamps, etc. and her basement was full. It stayed that way until she died. I think a lot of people can have slight tendencies to do things like this, but some people get pretty extreme.
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Kara Tyson
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We all realize that someone's trash is another person's treasure (otherwise there wouldnt be yard sales) but there is a catagory identified as TRASH that basically everyone agrees on.

Obviously this is a mental illness. No doubt about it. At the same time I tell my mom...it is her house and she has the right to live like that if she chooses. The outside of the house looks great.

I just dread when she moves (if she ever moves) how are we going to get all that stuff out of the house??

[This message has been edited by Kara Tyson (edited 10 August 2005).]


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Lymester
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I hope I don't become the aunt like that, but from living with my grandmother I do tend to take after her paper and plastic bag collections, sandwich bags and ziploc bags. If possible everything gets used at least once again if in good condition. When it starts falling out of the cabinet at me, I clean house.

I mail the plastic shopping bags to my other aunt for her pet litter. This one collects pets and volunteers for multiple shelters.

Would she know if you trashed this stuff? Can you go through the papers with her to encourage her to save only the monumental articles (ex: 9/11, Presidents, local news)?

Your aunt is lonely and is just keeping herself in comfort with familiarity. I would not say anything and clean while she naps, sleeps, etc. If she moves? you hire a dumpster for the driveway.


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Kara Tyson
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The handyman told my mom he had been secretly removing things--2 truckfuls.

It is like she has an emotional attachment to trash.

You just cannot rationalize with her.

My mom found 15 pairs of scissors, and an armload of tape. A box of shoes...she wouldnt even let my mom remove the tissue from the inside of the shoes.

Boxfulls of pens without ink..but we cant throw those away!! Oh no! They have cutsie messages, such as Bank of America, on them.

She has multiple magazine subscriptions...none of them thrown away. When she buys a magazine, she buys 6 copies of the same issue!

There are 7 dogs living in the house. They destroy the Living Room furniture, then she replaces it all...then they destory it again, and then she replaces it again.

The dogs destory the carpet (urinate all over it), then it is replaced, then destroyed again...on and on and on...money, money, money.

Closets filled with brand new lamps. Not needed and not used.

The elevator shaft (yes, there is an elevator in the house) is filled with office supplies. She gave me typing paper that was from the 1970's!!

I have very little tolerance for this kind of behavior. I dont keep anything and I dont collect anything.


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pq
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put the stuff on ebay, for collectors.

if in sale-able condition,there are collectors who'll scoop this stuff up in a flash.

i suspect the contractor who went off with two truck loads is probably calling collectors of magazines, newspapers, etc., and on the web "taking orders."
i'd wager that this guy is helping himself in more ways than one.

E.g., i went to meet a contractor at a relative's house to let him in. while there, i noticed a fred flinstone doll on the cellar floor, and some other dolls, and broken toys from the 1960's.

when i returned day(s) later the fred flinstone doll was gone! the circumstances underwhich this occurred pointed to this contractor,or one of his workers having stolen it.

maybe it was the Antique Road Show or some such show, but i learned that many dolls,toys, etc. are collectible. i kinda always knew this, but i'm not into "collecting," and would never have thought, and still don't know if a fred flintstone doll is worth anything.


periodicals covering major events--pictures/stories of (in-)famous sports figures,politicians,elections, assasinations, catastrophe's, and whatever, are collectible.


Call the Montclair Bookstore in Montclair, NJ. this guy buys and sells old zines,books, etc.

perhaps you can convince your aunt, and her family to get a professional collector to assess this stuff, before she looses the money this stuff is worth.

she'd be crazy NOT to have someone at the least look at what she's collected and give her contact numbers.

she should always have another family member, in the house any time you have strangers, like a contractor,for example, in her house.

her seeing the value in her collection(s), might convince her to at least preserve the preservable, and discard the rest.


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Kara Tyson
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What he is taking out is junk..pure junk. My aunt employes several contractors full time (same people for years). I hope he takes it all away.

I have never understood this notion of "one day it will be worth something".


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pq
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No experience with this behavior.

an email to radio psych joy brown, et.al. might yield some tactics to try.


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Sue vG
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My mother has a moderate tendency to hoard. I think that living through the depression and seeing the toll it took on her immediate family had something to do with it.

I have a cyberfriend who is on psych disability (and is well aware of her diagnoses), who had to sell her home and go into assisted living a few years ago.

She lives in another part of the country, and when I went to visit her before she moved, I was horrified at how she lived.

She mail ordered stuff all the time and couldn't throw away the packing material. She has lupus and osteoarthritis, and eventually, if she dropped something, that was where it lived.

She lived along a little path that meandered through waist-high piles of junk mixed in with nice stuff. I saw presents I'd sent her in those piles. Funny that there were several new vacuums and other cleaning apparati just to the side of these paths, never used, of course.

She even had papers piled on her stove, so close to the burners I feared she was going to torch the place.

It's a sad sickness.


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brainless
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Its one of my Lyme symptoms, according to my LLMD and, this year, I'm throwing things out. Its killing me to see all that good stuff going to the dump...killing me! I can see the floor in the basement and the attic is next. Beloved books are given away. Dishes I've had for years are gone. I have a question though.

If she feels so strongly about it, how do you feel it's your business to throw her things out that matter so much to her? Does her "hobby" hurt anyone? We all tend to tell other people how to live. In other words, we want everyone to live the same way we do.

pq's idea to have it appraised is excellent. A high appraisal may convince her to get rid of it... It would work on me.


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Kara Tyson
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Actually, it my belief that it is none of our business. I feel the same way about alcoholics and drug addicts.

My mom has given money because my aunt cannot manage money (my aunt has a good income--she just spends it all).

I just told my mom kiss the money goodbye and dont give her any more!!


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Sue vG
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Brainless,

Do they have thrift stores or assistance ministry stores in lalaland? (like Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.)

Your treasures don't have to go to the dump -- you can donate them to charities who will get them to those who will appreciate them a second time around.

I'll toss out a response to your question about whose business hoarding is....my mother is always complaining about her tight budget and about how crammed with stuff her cellar and attic are.

She has stuff that would sell in a heartbeat on e-bay, but always turns down my or my sister's offers to clear out some stuff and hold a garage sale and put the better stuff on e-bay.

We're her only heirs and will have to deal with these piles when she passes or goes into assisted living.

I have a bad back and live halfway across the country, and sis and I will both be in our 50s or 60s when she leaves us with these piles of stuff we won't want. But we'll have to go through everything, because there are some real family treasures in amidst the Sears catalogs from 1967.

We could totally empty the basement and attic, make her thousands of dollars, and not touch the stuff she uses throughout the year.

She either needs to let us help her or shut up once and for all about wanting more money and space.

Happy load-lightening,

Sue


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lymeloco
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My daughter's mother-in-law is like that!
House looks great on the outside!

Unfortunately, my son-in-law seems to be following in her footsteps!

It's funny because before my daughter got married, my son-in-law hated that about his mother!

My daughter is to the other extreme. She just throws things of his or donates them without telling him.

I donate mine to The Epilepsy Foundation.
You bag it, put E.P. on the bag, put it out by the door, and they pick it up.

I have to say her mother-in-law came from nine children, so I'm sure that has something to do with it!

She doesn't even sleep on her bed. Hasn't for years. Why? cause it's covered with stuff!

Some people get in over their heads, and it keeps piling up, and they really don't know where to start to clean up first. It gets too overwhelming.

I also used to work with a woman that's mother is a pack rat! She says her mom hides things, and forgets where she puts them!

They used to have a housekeeper when she was growing up.

I admire her parents because they're close to ninety, and live life to the fullest! They'd rather be out having fun, than cleaning!
You have to admire that!


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Meg
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[This message has been edited by meg (edited 01 September 2005).]


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