Calling minimalist children of hoarders - when did it change?

(19 Posts)
LessIsMoreFFS Mon 07-May-12 00:22:24

My mum, her sisters, her mother are all horrendous hoarders. My siblings and I are minimalist. So, what changed and when?

In my early teens I was allowed to have a friend round (unusual). I tidied my room really well before my mate arrived. When she was there I mentioned that I had completely tidied my room in preparation. She looked surprised, said something along the lines of "this is tidy?" and looked at me to see if I was joking. We quickly changed the subject but I was shocked.

Later, perplexed, I looked coldly at my room genuinely wondering wtf she had meant. Suddenly I realised that arranging random crap into neat piles on every available surface is NOT being tidy. Eureka!

My mum's idea of "getting organised" generally meant sorting random crap into stacks of similar random crap, maybe putting it into some new/different storage thing. She luuuurves a good charity shop/jumble sale so new random crap appeared regularly. Until that moment with my friend it had never occurred to me that my mum was misguided/wrong/mental.

I have had a glass of wine too many and wonder if other minimalist children of hoarders had such moments? Please share!

timetopost Mon 07-May-12 15:04:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bunbaker Mon 07-May-12 15:16:31

Are you me timetopost? Both my parents were terrible hoarders. I loathe clutter - it attracts dust and makes me feel claustrophobic. That said my home isn't devoid of books, photos, ornaments etc, but isn't at all cluttered.

My auntie and cousins are hoarders as is my sister and BIL, so to them, my home does look rather minimalist (and clean).

I think some of it is that OH and I have lived in 5 houses since we married and we aren't yet in our "forever house" so we like to travel light.

PorkyandBess Mon 07-May-12 15:22:27

My husband is the product of 2 hoarders who never threw anything away, in case it came in handy one day.

I am the complete opposite and any clutter or keeping of useless crap makes me furious.

So my dh with his hoarding gene, has had to accept my modus vivendi.

Hoarders should marry minimalists.

Picklepoff Mon 07-May-12 15:43:18

I grew up with my mum who is a hoarder and I have periods now where I get the urge to chuck out nearly all of my belongings just to have clear surfaces etc. My house is far from the minimalist house I'd like but it's definitely more normal than my childhood home.
DH has lots of collections (DVD's, CD's, LP's and books) and is loathe to part with them but thankfully our toddler is getting into all of his precious things so they are slowly being put in the loft.

I remember bonding with a friend whose parents are hoarders about the panic when you'd have friends over and how they can never fully understand the need/instruction to 'clear a path'. I think I clocked early on that no one else had rooms in their house that they couldn't get into. I don't think there was a particular moment though.

And yes, having cleared out my late (tidy) father's house a few years ago, my mind often thins about the enourmous task I'll have to undertake one day! Sigh!

timetopost Mon 07-May-12 16:22:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

2kidsintow Mon 07-May-12 21:56:44

I'm with Pickle.
My parents' home is a disaster. Cluttered. Not tidied. They are still capable of looking after it, but don't care to. There are piles and piles of paperwork everywhere that my Ddad should address but doesn't and Mum has thrown in the towel.
The place isn't clean and sometimes I offer to help, but they get offended.
I long to keep a tidy home and despair that I have to pick up bits and pieces if someone comes to the door to visit.

My OH collects STUFF and refuses to throw away anything that may have any value at all. He stems from a family where everything was kept tidy as can be. If you put the paper down to nip to the loo, his Dad would have binned it by the time you got back. He longed to be able to have things around him. I have to nag gently approach the subject of keeping things tidy on a regular basis.

My home is not the same state as my parents, but isn't as clutter free as many of my friends.

It's a compromise.

ampere Wed 09-May-12 08:22:25

My mum used to do that thing with the paper or magazines. If you left one open to nip to the loo, you'd come back and find it tidied away. The 'Has anyone seen the magazine I was reading?' question was met with 'It's where you left it'. No it bloody well isn't, you crazy woman, you've 'tidied it away'!

I was a bit concerned that when dad died suddenly 6 years ago, she went into a clearing out tail spin. I'd say within 6 weeks maybe 5% of 'his' stuff was left. I was worried that she might step back later and realise she had effectively expunged him from her house and life which she pretty much has, but she doesn't seem to feel that way.

Get0rfMoiLand Wed 09-May-12 08:40:04

I was raised by my gran who on reflection was mentally ill. She hoarded everything, food, clothes, old papers, shoes, tins, cardboard boxes.

The house was chaos and was just pile of shite all covered in dust. She hated to throw anything away.

I am the opposite - I don't keep anything, and have no sentimental feeling towards anything. I can't bear stuff everywhere, to the extent that people think my house looks a bit bleak. Unfortunately DP and DD like to keep everything, however we have lots of outside storage where DP can keep his broken VCRs and DD can put her old jigsaw puzzles <froths>

Get0rfMoiLand Wed 09-May-12 08:40:05

I was raised by my gran who on reflection was mentally ill. She hoarded everything, food, clothes, old papers, shoes, tins, cardboard boxes.

The house was chaos and was just pile of shite all covered in dust. She hated to throw anything away.

I am the opposite - I don't keep anything, and have no sentimental feeling towards anything. I can't bear stuff everywhere, to the extent that people think my house looks a bit bleak. Unfortunately DP and DD like to keep everything, however we have lots of outside storage where DP can keep his broken VCRs and DD can put her old jigsaw puzzles <froths>

TwoJackRussellsandababy Wed 09-May-12 09:27:53

My mother and father are terrible for hoarding, they cannot bring themselves to throw things away and the house is getting to the point that it's a monumental task to clear a room of the clutter even when I do get them to agree to throwing some things out, I already know that when they die I will be spending weeks going through everything to sort the decent things out from the trash.

The really sad thing is that my Mum has admitted that she uses her things to help her remember, but she did laugh when I pointed out that if she can't remember without these things, she won't remember that she has forgotten things when the stuff has gone iyswim?

I have the same tendencies with my things, but I do have to be very very brutal with myself sometimes, which is really really hard to do...

Bonsoir Wed 09-May-12 09:31:23

Hoarding is similar to overeating, IMO. Consuming more than you need to nourish your body is very similar to possessing more things than you require for comfort and to nourish your soul, but there is a sort of natural human tendency within many of us to overconsume and overpossess as a some sort of misguided and ill thought out insurance policy against times that are less plentiful.

Once you have intellectualised it all, it is much easier to stop hoarding!

PigletJohn Wed 09-May-12 11:30:25

""getting organised" generally meant sorting random crap into stacks of similar random crap"

yep, that's it

My old grandad had a barn full of stuff, including his old ARP gasmask and tin helmet, old bicycles, lawn mowers... House was OK though.

I need a barn.

ampere Wed 09-May-12 14:35:20

I must say, re 'mental illness' I always felt/feel a bit hmm when reality TV strays into 'hoarding' territory. I mean, it's one thing to have Trinny hoiking yer tits out and sticking you in clothes you might never otherwise consider, but it's altogether another wheeling in the skip and pulling out the scrubbing brushes to 'sort someone out' who has a genuine, life-limiting hoarder mentality. It usually comes from somewhere, either somewhere obvious like living in deprivation and want as a child, or it's displacement, a way of feeling you have control over your 'security'. Genuine hoarder is rarely about 'that old CD player might come in handy some time'.

I guess 'hoarder' is different from keeping hold of something that could genuinely have some future, as yet undefined, use!

ampere Wed 09-May-12 14:35:54

'overpossess'- good word!

Nelleh Wed 09-May-12 14:57:19

Minimalist 'children' of hoarders unite! I often wondered if my mum kept stuff as a result of poverty as a child - baby boomer; one of eleven children? She also overate for most of her life (Bonsoir). I do not hoard. I would LOVE to be minimalist but I have a husband and 3 teenagers. It is a family joke that I have OCD about things 'being in their place' - and my whole house is painted white inside!! No permanent fixtures have pattern. I cannot BEAR warm and cool rooms - is it because we had an orange lounge and blue kitchen when I was young? NOTHING matched!

Phew! That was like counselling! Thanks!!

Bunbaker Wed 09-May-12 15:58:49

I think my mum was a hoarder because she came from the make do and mend generation and had a hard time of it during the war. I used to keep reminding her that the war had ended a long time ago when she hoarded far more empty jars than she was ever going to fill with pickle or jam.

Bonsoir Wed 09-May-12 16:37:37

smile @ ampere

I do think that overpossession is a real issue for lots of people - they buy more than they need, they keep more than they need and all it does is fill up space, which in itself is very valuable - we do well to remind ourselves of the benefits of ordered space to well being. I find it much easier to throw things I no longer need away when I remember all that lovely space I will recover in the process!

SBlink Tue 10-May-16 16:52:59

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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