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To wonder why people hoard?

(33 Posts)
Gone2far Sun 24-Feb-19 16:33:20

Is it a generational thing? My parents -in their 90s- live in a house full of crap. Especially shoes. And coats. From charity shops. Not that i've got anything against charity shops. They've got at least 5 watering cans. And 3 mops. And piles of old magazines and papers. And lots and lots of little mats.when you open a cupboard stuff pours out and has to be jammed back in to shut the door. I haven't got a good enough relationship with my mum to ask her why she does it.

TheMobileSiteMadeMeSignup Sun 24-Feb-19 16:34:36

Lots of reasons.

Mental health issues.
Inability to see stuff as junk.
Not realising the extent of their problem til it's overwhelming.

PooleySpooley Sun 24-Feb-19 16:35:43

I think it can be a mental health issue but anyone who went through WW2 or the immediate aftermath (my parents) seem to do it.

I think it’s to do with not wanting to waste anything.

NightOwlHoney Sun 24-Feb-19 16:38:06

I don't hoard, but from threads I've read on here in the past, people who grew up in poverty with very little sometimes do it, which is understandable.

SexNotJenga Sun 24-Feb-19 16:40:52

Can be anxiety - based ("But what if we need it in the future? What if we can't afford to buy another one?").

If your parents are in their 90s they were born circa 1930. A lot of their youth was lived under rationing. Thrift as a virtue was probably drummed into them.

Also, if they're that old now then decluttering could seem like an overwhelming task - physically exhausting if there's that much stuff. Difficult to get stuff to the tip /recycling if they're not driving. Maybe some emotional aspects too. Binning all the old tennis racquets (a made up example) could be like saying you're never going to play tennis again - no one likes to think about their own mortality.

myidentitymycrisis Sun 24-Feb-19 16:47:36

It might be a mix of being from that pre WW2 generation, so as a result never throwing things away , and the more modern consumer society we can and do buy more because they have got so much cheaper. We can now afford lots of watering cans, so we get another/new one while simultaneously not being able to get rid of the "perfectly good" existing 4.

AwdBovril Sun 24-Feb-19 16:48:56

My PILs hoard. They both grew up in relative poverty, MIL especially so, & she is the main driver of the hoarding. Strangely, the rest of her family don't hoard. My DH also hoards, although I am working on him to overcome it, I suspect with him it's a combination of growing up in poverty, MH issues, & the fact that that's what he grew up with - it's his "normal". It has led to extreme financial difficulties for PILs, & significantly affects their quality of life - there are parts of their house they can't access at all.

Dahlietta Sun 24-Feb-19 16:52:42

I don’t hoard, but I do struggle to throw things away, especially if they’re not actually broken. In my case I form sentimental attachment to things “Oh we bought this crappy lamp for our first home together. I remember the trip out to buy it” and I anthropomorphise “I can’t throw this poor little teddy out- look at his little face; it will hurt his feelings”. I hasten to add that I can defeat these urges, but I find it far easier not to purchase too much in the first place than to part with stuff!

mrcharlie Sun 24-Feb-19 18:08:40

Have to agree with the other posters above.
I think my hoarding tendencies are a result of my childhood.
I hate how much (expensive) crap I own. If I were ever to win the lottery I would skip the lot, as it is I cannot afford to just throw it or give it away. I'm in the process of systematically selling it, but it's taking forever, been at it for the past 2yrs and I've probably only shifted a third of it.
Still the money raised has cleared all debts..Yay!!

Ribbonsonabox Sun 24-Feb-19 18:12:11

I've got hoarding tendencies... moved around loads in childhood.. am an only child... I guess my childhood home is gone and all these memories are gone so I have this weird fear of not being able to re visit things when I need to... like I might suddenly decide I want to see and touch that broken coffee mug again and I wouldn't ever be able to if I threw it in the bin... I have to work really hard to chuck stuff or ideally just leave the room and let my husband do it

picklemepopcorn Sun 24-Feb-19 18:17:24

DH has hoarding tendencies. It's a combination of natural collecting, but also a worry about not having something you need. Keeping everything helps him manage anxiety.

The war generation were brought up to 'make do and mend'. Nothing is thrown out in case it can help fix something else.

bibbitybobbityyhat Sun 24-Feb-19 18:18:54

I've got hoarding tendencies. It's not because I have lots of stuff with sentimental value, it's because decluttering/charity shopping/selling/car booting is YET ANOTHER domestic chore that falls to me. Dealing with paperwork makes me cry with boredom and I can do about an hour every six months max.

I won't send anything to landfill if I can possibly help it and I won't drive the 6 mile round trip to the council tip unless I've got a car full (because I feel guilty about pointless car journeys).

So it's a combination of laziness and concern for the environment. Steam comes out of my ears when I read threads encouraging people to "chuck the lot" on here.

Looking around the house and almost all of our furniture except the beds and sofas is second hand and very old. I like it that way.

KanielOutis Sun 24-Feb-19 18:19:28

It's a waste not, want not mentality. I'm fairly minimalist but a lot of my elder family hoard. They also live within their means and don't like to spend where they don't need to. It's a completely different mindset.

SaucyJack Sun 24-Feb-19 18:33:25

I think consumerism guilt plays a part, specially with the younger generations.

DP is like this. He won’t chuck out old tatty toys or books, and I won’t let him dump them on the chazza- because realistically no other kids wants a puzzle with 3 pieces missing any more than our kid.

So they just stay on the bookcase in the lounge, as that’s preferable to landfill apparently.

IncrediblySadToo Sun 24-Feb-19 18:34:49

I have never known a proper hoarder who doesn’t have emotional trauma at the root of it.

For your parents, in their 90’s, it’s likely (as other have said) to simply be from the lack of stuff during the war and the very make do and mend mentality that got them through the years after. Waste not, want not.

We’d all be in a better position had that filtered down better than it did.

I find it very hard to part with stuff but I know where that comes from, plus I have my grandparents and parents ‘it might come in handy’ genes.

I see ‘keepers’ as people who keep things for the memories or for practicality, but hoarders as people who buy excessive amounts of stuff and if you got rid of it they’d be back out there replacing ‘stuff’ immediately.

I think there’s a big difference between ‘keepers’ and hoarders though. Are you sure your parents are hoarders?!

AfterSchoolWorry Sun 24-Feb-19 18:35:38

I believe it's part of the OCD family of disorders.

BarbarianMum Sun 24-Feb-19 18:36:35

Fullblown hoarding is a mental illness. I think the tendency to hoard is also genetic - dFiL, BiL and dh are all potential hoarders - kept in check by partners.

Fil will blame his WW2 childhood but its more than that. He really, really strughles to get rid of anything - old running magazines from the 1980s, old calanders, a singing fish that no longer sings. No one can tell me that keeping a broken "Billy the Bass" is a rational response to potential Armageddon (or even Brexit).

Ribbonsonabox Sun 24-Feb-19 18:38:17

I cant bare to get rid of books, music or films! I've carted the whole lot from rental to rental lol... sadly my husband is exactly the same so when we got together the hoard doubled... it looks like our walls are made from DVDs, books and CDs.... sometimes we say 'we must do something' and it takes us about four hours to select two DVDs to take to a charity shop....

Gone2far Sun 24-Feb-19 19:20:38

I'm staying with my mum and dad. In my childhood bedroom. There's barely room for the bed. You can't get near the cupboard. The sheer volume of stuff makes it feel like the walls are closing in. I hate it.

flirtygirl Sun 24-Feb-19 21:00:53

I've been with my mum 8 months and now there 1 or 2 nights a week whilst I decorate my new house.
My mums house is stuffocating and dark. It's dusty and cramped.
In the hallway which is about 8 feet long x 3 feet wide there are 4 2 metre long sides of old wardrobes and 4 bags of stuff, 2 are massive black bags, it's a death trap. If there was ever a fire, I doubt we would make it out alive.

My daughter says it makes her feel sad as it's seems dark.

She has piles everywhere, on top of things and under things and broken bits that's she is halfway through fixing.

I hate it. I upset her today when she wanted to keep a blind that I have to sell or give away. I said no as it will be 5 years before she gets around to using it and it would just be adding to the stuff in her house. She told me off for putting her down. I said it's the truth but I won't say it again. She was very upset with me.

flirtygirl Sun 24-Feb-19 21:01:09

She not old though only 63.

Rockmysocks Mon 25-Feb-19 04:17:01

I fight hoarding tendencies but clutter builds up and I discipline myself to take stuff to charity shops. I remember coming home from school when I was about 8 to find my mum had a bonfire down the bottom of the garden and had burned a load of my books and toys. One book in particular really upset me. I loved it and it had lovely black and white pictures that I had been carefully colouring in. She told me I never read that book, like she would ever have known.

We weren't well off and a lot of my things came from jumble sales so weren't easily replaceable. I think it shook my world that my things could be taken off me so arbitrarily and grew up wanting my stuff close and having more than one of something meant I wouldn't be left with nothing if I lost one.

Laterthanyouthink Mon 25-Feb-19 04:37:11

It's often a response to a loss of some kind, often a bereavement.

Justagirlwholovesaboy Mon 25-Feb-19 04:44:35

@Dahlietta You are me but slightly less weird! My mum always humanised every toy and I felt guilty for giving it away, even when encouraging me to clear out for charity.

ThePollutedShadesOfPemberley Mon 25-Feb-19 04:56:16

Hoarding is a type of OCD. We have several genetic hoarders in our family. When I cleared my Grans bungalow there was stuff from her childhood prior to 1900 that I was able to donate to The Robert Opie Museum. She did keep the bungalow nice though but the three generations on from her and it has become worse incrementally. It's hell to live with though I imagine. You can barely get in the door at my brothers house. It's a fire hazard for a start.

ThePollutedShadesOfPemberley Mon 25-Feb-19 05:03:56

Rock flowers that was brutal.

MaverickSnoopy Mon 25-Feb-19 05:21:29

My grandmother taught my mum that stock is as good as money and so on.

We have too much stuff at the moment because we don't have much money so I hang onto it. When I have some time I will sell some bits - I have made a start. I do declutter and keep things tidy though.

kateandme Mon 25-Feb-19 05:40:21

hoarding when it goes that far can feel terrible.if you hate it,and she has a problem then I can gaurentee it makes her feel sick to the stomach.an overwhelming doom that is with her all the time every second.but she wont be able to sort it now.its gone too far and that in itself can be hell.
has she said or shown its a problem to you

Raspberry10 Mon 25-Feb-19 09:15:41

If they are in their 90s that’s a war generation thing to never throw anything out. My MIL however is now 68 and her hoarding started in her mid 50s. Suddenly everything had potential value and couldn’t be parted with. Literally loads of old crap and none of it could be parted with. She now has mid stage dementia, I’ve often wondered if it was an early sign of the disease starting?

pushingdaisies Tue 26-Feb-19 13:38:55

When I lived with my ex partner a couple of years ago I hoarded terribly. He was emotionally abusive, I was terribly depressed and I didn't work. I literally had nothing to do all day and didn't feel up to it. So I hoarded clothes. I bought clothes for when I felt better, thinking if I had something nice to wear I might make an effort and in turn feel better. But it didn't work so I bought more. It did creep into the rest of the house, I started buying things that I thought would make me happier and I found it unbearable to part with the stuff that gave me "hope".

When I left I took most of the stuff with me, I left some stuff behind. I binned probably 75% of it and now I have my own place, it's nothing like that. I think mine was hoarding due to misery and wanting to hold on to things that I thought made me happy. When I left, I didn't "need" them any more so I could get rid. I cried terribly getting rid of it all though, not because I was sad to see it go but because I was embarrassed I'd lived like that and spent so much money on stuff to try and feel better that was now just going in the bin. It was a real waste, which I think is why some people hoard, because they can't stand the thought of wasting stuff and keep things "just in case"

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Tue 26-Feb-19 13:44:02

Here you are, some facts for you to look at

www.nhs.uk/conditions/hoarding-disorder/

If it really is an issue, you need to call SS for an assessment.

CallMeSirShotsFired Tue 26-Feb-19 13:53:05

I hoard money, if that doesn't sound too weird. I don't just "save".

I hate spending it and I never have enough. Right now I could lose my job tomorrow and be ok for months, if not years, on what I can access readily.

Despite objectively knowing that/being able to see the numbers on my statements, I still fret and have a compulsion to save more in order that the ground is secure under my feet. I can't quantify what is "enough" though.

I had some therapy for a different (I first typed 'unrelated' but actually it's all intertwined) issue and I've come to realise it's all down to a family issue when I was younger, which I had no idea had affected me this way or so badly.

The impact of it was slow to manifest, but is perfectly summed up by the below quote by DH Lawrence:

"And dimly she realised one of the great laws of the human soul: that when the emotional soul receives a wounding shock, which does not kill the body, the soul seems to recover as the body recovers. But this is only appearance. It is really only the mechanism of the resumed habit. Slowly, slowly the wound to the soul begins to make itself felt, like a bruise, which only slowly deepens its terrible ache, till it fills all the psyche. And when we think we have recovered and forgotten, it is then that the terrible after-effects have to be encountered at their worst.”

MadGreyCatLady Tue 26-Feb-19 14:20:56

I think there’s a big difference between ‘keepers’ and hoarders

I agree with you . I am a keeper, I never had much when I was growing up, nor during my first marriage. Since I married for the second time I am a lot better off financially (and all round really smile ) but I still find it hard to let go of "stuff". I don't dash out and replace it though once I have been able to let stuff go, so I don't see myself as a hoarder

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