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About my mums hoarding?

(37 Posts)
ShouldaWouldaCoulda Sat 03-Nov-12 08:30:41

I have a mum, she is a hoarder.
Not really extreme but every room is FULL with... Stuff.
"useful" stuff or "things she might need one day"
Now she I desperate to get things sorted (grandkids can't visit) but still she cant help but take in more stuff. she is more of a rescuer than a buyer.
I'm having.a clear out next week and I'm thinking of banning her from the house until everything is gone.
For anyone that doesn't understand she gets genuinely upset if I throw things away without consulting her first.
So aibu to ban her or should I just let her get on with it??

mutny Sat 03-Nov-12 08:33:36

How can you ban her from her own house if she won't let you?

InNeedOfAPennyForTheGuysBrandy Sat 03-Nov-12 08:37:05

Why would you want to upset her by throwing her things away, you don't live there.

GailTheGoldfish Sat 03-Nov-12 08:39:24

She has to really want the house to be clear though and if she is still taking stuff she doesn't sound ready to make a permanent change. My mum is a bit like this and holds on to stuff, even really negative stuff, and the thought of getting rid of it has a huge emotional impact. She is doing it though, for similar reasons to your mum. I'm not sure if you just binning stuff will really help as unless she is ready she will just replace it. But on the other hand I understand that it might be hard to have her involved as she will probably think of ways to justify keeping all the junk. You know her best, is she ready to change?

ShouldaWouldaCoulda Sat 03-Nov-12 09:07:07

I'm having a clear out I n my house I know she will want to come over and will take over half the things I want to throw away.

ShouldaWouldaCoulda Sat 03-Nov-12 09:13:18

Sorry for the confusion.

She does want to sort things out but in her mind that means organising not getting rid.

To put it into perspective she lives in a 3bed semi and has easily enough to fill a large 5 bed house, probably including garage/s.
Organising isn't enough

cozietoesie Sat 03-Nov-12 09:13:30

My Mum was a hoarder so I know a bit about your problem.

Keep your own house as a special 'clean zone' is my recommendation. If you're throwing out do it fast and surgically without telling her. I mean really fast so that you don't have to 'ban' her for more than a day, as an example - and that can be easily achieved by some sort of excuse. Banning for any extended period would make her feel rotten if she likes to visit.

Just get the refuse bags in or the skip ordered and set aside one day for doing it. (Decide what's going over a few days and - if possible - assemble it in one place, even, say, a neighbour's garage if you're on good terms with them.) Then get rid of it. One day should be fine - think moving house!

GailTheGoldfish Sat 03-Nov-12 17:36:26

Oh right - do as cozietosie says, whatever you do don't give her a chance to pick over your stuff. Maybe if she gets upset afterwards it will give you the chance to bing up the subject along the lines of, "mum, I didn't tell you because I knew you'd want my stuff and it's not good for you to have more. Remember that the kids can come when your house is cleared and that's what we want to help you to enjoy".

lovebunny Sat 03-Nov-12 17:58:43

hang on, hang on. this is a mental health issue!

do NOT (excuse me, but this is important) barge right in and rape her house, stealing her stuff.

stuff has taken on significance to her which you cannot understand unless you have been there. she needs that stuff for her identity.

she is going to be really distressed if you take it away. she will feel violated. but if you get it right she might also feel freed of the burden of stuff.

can you get her some help first? or spend a lot of time talking with her and be sure she's with you on this?

could she sort out twelve absolutely vital things to keep, put them at yours, then go away with you and yours for a couple of days while professional cleaners deal with her stuff?

cozietoesie Sat 03-Nov-12 18:02:02


The OP is clearing out her own house and not her mother's.

DontmindifIdo Sat 03-Nov-12 18:04:16

Lovebunny - i'ts not the mum's house OP's going to clear, but her own.

OP - I would say don't 'ban' her but could you just not tell her and get rid of stuff? Does she come over every day? Could you tell her a white lie that you are going out so she doesn't pop round.

You don't need your mum's permission to throw things out. Clear your house first.

cozietoesie Sat 03-Nov-12 18:07:11

It's real difficult though, DontmindifIdo. The OP has said that her Mum is more a rescuer than a buyer and if the OP was to take a week to throw out - and her Mum got wind of what was happening - she'd be round there like a shot with 'Oh, I can use that' or 'No - that will be useful to me, I'll take it' etc etc. The OP is trying to think of how to prevent a mass new acquisition.

mutny Sat 03-Nov-12 18:09:50

Firstly do NOT (excuse me, but this is important) barge right in and rape her house, stealing her stuff.

Really - rape? Can you save over reaction.

Secondly OP I am sorry, when you said she wants to sort it because her GC can't visit I thought the clear out was at hers. But I see you mean she will 'rescue' your stuff.
Ban her. Tell her why and tell you are doing it on a different date.
But if she does want to fix her issue she needs help. Perhaps start with the go?

mutny Sat 03-Nov-12 18:10:18

or rather start with the gp not go.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sat 03-Nov-12 18:15:31

My Mum hoards and I spent last week sorting out two of her rooms. I would just get on with doing your house and tell her you've got new homes for everything. Something along the lines of it going to the local women's refuge or something similar.

lovebunny Sat 03-Nov-12 18:23:46

phew! thank you for your clarifications!

there's no risk to your mum in clearing out your own house. its a wonderful feeling. i throw things away all the time. all the time. so much so that... i won't go into it but its rather like being a hoarder in reverse.

but don't attack your mum's house. and mutny, it does feel like rape, violation, when people touch your stuff.

mutny Sat 03-Nov-12 18:26:13

and mutny, it does feel like rape, violation, when people touch your stuff.

but its not. Its like when people say they have been 'fraped' its disgusting. I am sure if your FB account in hacked you would feel violated, but its not rape.

giveitago Sat 03-Nov-12 18:52:24

Oh op - my mum the same and it has a big impact. I'm helping her to clear out clothes from the 1960's and she's then putting the stuff in another bin bag ready to put back in a cupboard. Her reason is that she might be poor one day and need the warmth of these clothes. Yup - her 1960's size 6 tennis dress will really keep her warm now she's 73!

It's all emotional. I kind of get it but it does have a negative impact on her. I'm treading very carefully but helping her to get rid of stuff in dribs and drabs. I'm car booting the stuff so she sees some cash that she can spend on relevat stuff.

I respect her stuff but at the same time I'm trying to make her see how alot of the unused stuff that holds bad memories is weighing her down.

DontmindifIdo Sat 03-Nov-12 18:55:22

I meant, don't feel the need to 'ban' her, just don't tell her that's what you're doing and be 'out' - would she notice if things have gone or more if she sees them boxed up she'll want to rescue them? If it will be a meltdown if you are throwing things and she wants to rescue them, can you just not tell her and have your house the way you want it, after the effect you could say you'd done a clear out but it was nothing she'd want.

Of course, if your mum is the 'popping over unannounced pretty much every day' type then this won't work...

cozietoesie Sat 03-Nov-12 19:12:13

If she's a constant visitor, 'decorating a room' is a good excuse Shoulda. (And who knows - you may actually have one that needs a lick of paint.) You stand the risk of being given some old rolls of wallpaper or tins of paint that have been in her cellar for donkey's years but Hey - they can go out as well if needs be.

Just fling a few sheets over some furniture, pile up the black plastic bags and you're away on the day you do the deed.

Kundry Sat 03-Nov-12 19:36:34

Is it possible not to tell her you are having a clear out so the stuff is gone before she has a chance to rescue it?

There is a great book called Stuff by Randy Frost and Gail Steketee which explores why people hoard and might help you understand your mum and support her

ChickenFillet Sat 03-Nov-12 19:43:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

rogersmellyonthetelly Sat 03-Nov-12 22:03:45

I would just ban her tbh. If she turns up, refuse to continue until she goes. In the same way that you can refuse to give an alcoholic a drink, you can refuse to give a hoarder more pointless shit for them to clutter their house with.
My father is a hoarder. My mum has managed to restrict it to one room (now full) and a double garage (also full) to give some Idea, there's a carpet rolled up in the garage which has been there since I was 10. I'm now 37. It was threadbare and knackered when it went into the garage,
Dread to think what state it's in after 27 years in a garage with mice. Not that we could get to it if we actually did need it, as there a wall of stuff 2m thick in front of it which would need moving first. My dmil is also a hoarder, but we manage to keep that under control by refusing to allow the kids to visit if the house is out of control, and since she doesn't drive, the dc are a very effective carrot for her keeping things within reason.

mutny Sun 04-Nov-12 07:47:49

mutny when we got our car stereo stolen, it felt like our car had been raped. and i have been raped in the usual sense too.*

But its still not rape. And I find it offensive to say it is. As per my Facebook example you may feel violates, but it is not rape.

SavoyCabbage Sun 04-Nov-12 07:52:13

One of my best friends is a hoarder. Yesterday I going nine identical milk jugs in her cupboard. Also two soup tureens, four sugar bowls, a butter dish, a teapot and seven soup dishes she had bought and totally forgotten about.

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