Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Living with a hoarder support thread(166 Posts)
Hi I'm not sure if anyone else would be interested but I'm sure I'm not the only one.
Dh is a hoarder. Not tv worthy but he definitely is an it requires managing. His "room" is the attic. Haven't been up there for years. He doesn't use it other than storing crap and I know he's never cleaned it.
I'm happy for the attic to remain in this state but it's starting to creep down the attic stairs and onto the landing.
He's promised to tackle it (in his own sweet time). I just wondered if anyone else has to deal with hoarders.
He's otherwise great and I'm convinced his hoarding is actually a problem with his brain (learnt and maybe some genetic factors). His family are all awful hoarders.
Anyone else feel like venting about their hoarder partners?
Yep. Mine is a hoarder. And the massive double garage is full of his boxes. The boxes will contain a leather belt that last fitted him 25 years ago. A new receipt book, hotel brochures etc. Ie. In the unlikely event that he loses lots of weight, he's not going to go through 50 boxes in the garage to search for that belt.
We have 4 children, so could really use the storage in the garage!
Hi cricri I knew it wasn't just me
That's one of my irritations if he ever needed anything he can't get to it because it's underneath a pile of precious treasures (crap).
How do your kids cope with it? Is it well contained in the garage?
Yes and this time next year it will be creeping in to your bedrooms and then the following year it will come down the stairs, you can see where this is heading.
There was a very moving series of posts from a mumsnetter a couple of years ago in relation to her husband and his hoarding and its impact on family life. It was incredibly distressing to read and I have often thought of her and hope she and her DC are well and happy.
This is a good website to read:-
In May 2013 Hoarding Disorder was officially recognised in the DSM-V (the fifth edition of the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).
Yes I have lived the dream! Piles and stacks of papers all ver the house, receipts being kept for 10 years in little cocoon shapes around the house like something has laid an egg. I have laughed, cried and shouted, to no avail. Luckily we are in the process of splitting up (due to him being a pig, not a hoarder) and the thing i am looking forward to most is getting a skip and throwing out any of his leftover shit. It's actually suffocating my life. Not that I am perfect, I do have a shoebox of important memories, but I have noticed through the relationship that there is almost no point in tidying up. You just end up shifting one pile of crap to another area. I used to be a very organised and minimalistic kind of person (not saying that's right either) but there's so much paper around, it's a fire hazard! I can honestly say it has affected me quite badly, you never feel like you have a clean and tidy place because there are always piles lurking somewhere and when the other person refuses to gave quay kind of sort out, it can affect the relationship badly. That's just my experience, everyone is different.
As a person who is prone to hoarding, I can tell you what works for me.
You need to put aside a day, maybe more like a weekend if necessary, to go through the stuff up there and organize it and youll need to do this on a semi regular basis. Just tossing the stuff won't work and will make the hoarding worse in the long run, so you divide the mess in three; dump, donate and keep. Try to get him to make three second decisions about what's useful and whats not. Remember that the mess has a psychological aspect to it and try to be patient.
Try to get him to make three second decisions about what's useful and whats not. Remember that the mess has a psychological aspect to it and try to be patient
Dh has never done anything in 3 seconds. If I ask him if he wants a cup of tea it takes 10 seconds for him to mull it over.
I think the slow decision making he has is all part of the hoarding condition. Oddly in many ways he is a perfectionist / risk adverse (sounds really odd when you see the shit tip that is his attic). I think he has a panic that if he throws away something it might one day be needed.
Can I join? DH has all three wardrobes in our bedroom and both chests of drawers, my stuff's in the spare room. He has an office full of crap and a garage full of god knows what. He has both bathroom cupboards, I have half a shelf.
He is addicted to tat and if it comes with a free gift he has to have it. His "office" has shelves full of free clocks, crystal ornaments and hundreds of pens.
If he dies before me my sorrow will be mixed with excitement at the thought of how many skips I will need.
One thing I have found quite useful is the guidance from Marie Kondo, a Japanese tidying expert. You can still organise all your own stuff but you are not allowed to touch the hoarder's stuff. It might be when they see you all nice and organised, they may do the same. It's worth s try. A lot of people who hoard are OCD or perfectionists in other areas of their lives and yes they do panic about stuff just being thrown out, so I agree that the 3 piles method is a good one.
One thing I've learnt (too late) is that no matter how much storage you give a hoarder they just fill it up and need more.
My DD is like her father and has filled up a large three bedroom house and garage all by herself.
I have just suggested that we go through one of DH's wardrobes this morning, he's looking doubtful. We are going to.......this may take a while.
One thing I've learnt (too late) is that no matter how much storage you give a hoarder they just fill it up and need more
Oh this is so true. Years ago dh insisted that he just had a storage issue, I think even he has admitted its not a storage issue.
Hesitating a little whether to sign in or not..... we don't live together, yet. It's under discussion. DP also says its a storage problem - it's so clearly not. There is a huge psychological component. So far I've adopted the strategy of not pressurising him to do anything he doesn't want to do but not hiding my view that it is a problem, being clear that I accept him how he is, and am here to support him if and when he wants to improve things. He has started to do a few things in the 'right' direction - selling things on eBay etc - but then just acquires more stuff in its place. It's mainly collecting things related to his interests - but there is physically no room to display these treasures, you can't enter the spare room, I've never stayed over at his as his bedroom is so cluttered he actually keeps stuff on one half of the bed and just has a pathway to the door, it's piled up downstairs where he shares communal space with his father who frequently complains he feels hemmed in his own home (although he also has pretty severe hoarding tendencies and is as much to blame I think!)
DP says his dream is to have display cabinets and rotate his collection in and out of them (he's eyeing up my guest bedroom for displays and attic space for storage I think!). I'm not the most minimalist person myself, and have my own mental health issues which both impact on and are impacted by my home environment. I have found things like Kondo and trying to stick to home routines very helpful though.
I'm not sure how to approach things as we negotiate if and how we merge our living space.
Hi little not sure I should be advising you. Dh and I manage ok but he's still a hoarder and probably will be till the day he dies (probably of a severe asthma attack in his dusty attic).
I manage dh by inviting people over - he doesn't like people seeing the house in a mess so that helps keep control of the public areas.
All I can suggest is firm rules about what space is his - but in all honesty if you can't sleep at his because half his bed is covered that's pretty worrying.
little think really carefully and maybe have a trial period of living together before you fully commit. You wouldn't believe how stressful it is to live with FT.
My husband is a collector hoarder, he 'needs' to have one of what ever he is collecting at the moment. Currently it is tea bags, he has hundreds of boxes of the stuff in three kitchen cupboards (and in the car,the bedroom etc...), then complains the kitchen is a mess! He doesn't seem to see the stuff in the end. His whole family have serious hoarding problems. He is currently on ADs for anxiety so i'm trying not to nag him, but it is very difficult. I feel suffocated and stressd by the huge amount of stuff everywhere, but he gets very anxious if I even mention trying to clear some things.
Little do not move in together, it will never work and he will never change.
The three second thing is a habit to get into, if he's got a compulsive nature he can adapt to it as part of a routine. Pick up an item, think, decide. Don't discuss the item, or theorize about it, just decide quick where it goes.
Whats also handy in the case of books and media is to recall that almost everything is online now, and recycled stuff is renewed so its not being wasted. Remind him of this during a clean up.
If he dies before me my sorrow will be mixed with excitement at the thought of how many skips I will need.
^^* YY this!
little, don't do it!
My DH has discovered selling on EBay, so the many many shelves of DVDs, many unwatched, have now been replaced by a room full of packaging materials.
He does slip up, and by an item for every two he sells, but we are slowly winning now.
I have been brutal about never allowing things to be stored on top of cupboards, under cupboards etc, but I have to be attentive and fierce at the first sign. He managed to fill all the under bed space with books in boxes before I noticed, and I can't reclaim it now. He's more a collector than a hoarder, once he has a book he has to have the others by that author. If he likes an album, he'll buy the albums by the band, then any spin off bands, then the producer... DVDs, then others by the same director, with a particular actor and on and on...
Anything which escapes from his space (creeping down o to the stairs) needs to be gathered up and put on his place at the table or on his pillow. Keep forcing it to his attention so he can't forget he has nowhere to put it. Then he must make space for it in the attic.
We have a strong streak of ASD in the family, which I think is connected...
I have a dear friend married to a hoarder. He seemed to become so much worse once he discovered EBay. It meant that rather than looking in shops to add to his collections, he could buy a collection all in one go and then another and then another. Have others found this to be the case?
What would happen if you just hired a skip and got rid of it all? (I'm not suggesting you should by the way!)
I'm afraid I just couldn't live with that, my first husband was a horder and brought a suitcase full of papers and sundry crap on a once in a lifetime holiday to Mauritius courtesy of my parents and proceeded to go through it all stuck in the hotel room while me and ds enjoyed the holiday on our own. We have been divorced for years now.
I am a minimalist so living with him was hell.
He asked me a while ago if I'd like some curtains for my room - they were my parents old curtains from 1975. I told him to burn them.
Join the discussion
Please login first.