hoarders

“Do you know what my favorite part of this is, Mommy?”

“What’s that, Honey?”

“Knowing that you will never ever throw this away. You may have to buy a new home once this one is filled with art projects, you may even end up on ‘Hoarders.’ But you would still never ever throw it out because if you do, Mama, if you even think about it, I will come unhinged in a way you have never even imagined.”

5

I decided to search “Children of hoarders” on youtube, and here are some of the comments on one of the videos that came up. Responses like this are why it’s so difficult to talk about this topic and people are so secretive about it. There are so many misconceptions about hoarding, especially the idea that hoarders are just too lazy to clean up.

Here is what I wrote about why family members can’t “just” clean the house.

Hoarders 1947: The Collyers were wealthy and eccentric brothers. Both were found dead among 130 tons of junk after complaints of a foul odor. It appeared that Langley had been crawling through the mess to bring food to his paralyzed brother & was crushed by one of his own booby traps. Homer,blind, paralyzed & dependent on his brother,starved to death just hours before police arrived.

(via http://www.dwellingsnyc.com/talesinthecity/new-york%E2%80%99s-most-eccentric-hoarders)

For those family members who live with a person who hoards, such as a wife, husband, child, or dependent parent, it is impossible to live in the clutter and not have physical and emotional trauma. Not only the clutter, but the person who hoard’s need to control all items and areas of the home causes extreme friction and tension. Those with hoarding often attach an emotional, instrumental, or aesthetic value to items. Instrumental value is also referred to as the “just in case” phenomenon. They keep the item “just in case” they may need it at a later time. Ironically, when the person who hoards may need that item, they may be unable to find or access it due to the clutter.
—  How Compulsive Hoarding Affects Families