Trips Down Memory Lane
Quotes shared by children of hoarders:
Numerous half filled bottles…of ketchup/mustard/pickles <insert food item of choice, half filled crammed into refrigerator haphazardly, with brand new ones crammed in there too
Flea infestations that can’t be remedied because there are too many flea eggs/larvae hidden in the stuff!
Fly Strips Hanging down, slapping you on side of face (Guess where flies come from?)
Fruitflies–Almost as annoying as houseflies
Scabies–And being introduced to what “quelling solution” is
Maggots-Really don’t need a description–often found under the 15 year old sack of rotten pototoes, in the bottom of a pile
Filled freezers and fridges
Ovens used for storage, forgetting/not-knowing stuff in there, pre-heating the oven and having a “meltdown.”
(But of course it was *your fault*, because you didn’t check inside the oven first)
Broken Refrigerators Used For Storage-Repairmen don’t come in, so they stay broken and become…storage containers!
Hopefully food was removed, but often not, so they become……really STINKY storage containers and you pray the seal is a good one and keeps the bugs out and the smell in. Guess who (usually) finally gets the pleasure of cleaning them out one day?
When refrigerator not working, food/drinks put out on porch/other creative method to keep cold.
Meal Moths-Taking a spoonful of <insert food of choice>…and finding a meal moth in it! Pouring the cereal…<getting into crackers-flour-insert dried food of choice> and finding meal moths in it!
(Because they lay their eggs in the boxes)Want to read more about your old friends? Go here.
Mold-Making a nice tasty sandwich…take a bite…then you look at the sandwich in your hands and there is mold on the bread! <insert same scenario for cheese…juice…donuts, etc.>GAG!
Loading up the extension cords and power strips
No Running Water-Having to lug buckets of water to flush-Bathing at the kitchen sink
Ironing Boards–Using the ironing board(s) for teetering multi-storage
Clothes hanging on the shower rod, on top of door frames
On Christmas and birthdays…Being told when opening (trying to open) gifts with childhood wonderment:
“Don’t rip the wrapping paper!” “Save it, it’s still good!!”
“DON’T WRINKLE IT-I can reuse it!!” “DON’T WRECK IT!” “Save that bow!”
Lots and lots of cleaning supplies-hoarded and not used
Micromanagement-…of what we are doing, especially when trying to help them.
…Standing over us or pulling up a chair to sit there and watch…while critiqueing.
3/2010, sent in by site visitors:
Piles upon piles of coupons and newspapers “to be looked at later”
My 20 year old prom dress with the fresh aroma of moth balls.
Not being allowed to throw your OWN stuff away
Apr 12 2010:
Any of the 26 (mostly feral) cats I was forced to live with during my teen years, and being told that finding them new homes, going to the pound, or humanely removing any of them of was “like getting abortions”. Never mind that most of them never saw a vet, never got shots, never were spayed/neutered to prevent further multiplication, and many never even got a name… and one of them, who spontaneously died sitting under the coffee table, ended up in our apartment complex’s dumpster.
Apr 15 2010:
omg-thank you to whomever posted the wrapping paper comment.I insist my children rip the paper but i still feel guilty if i don’t carefully remove the tape ever so delicately to this day. Years of artfully unwrapping gifts have engrained a style of unwrapping gifts only COH’rs understand. I do sometimes rip paper myself but a twinge of guilt always surfaces at this glutenous extravagance.
Apr 27 2010:
I was terrified of my house catching fire. A normal rescue would be made double by the mess. I ate meals with a melon-baller or apple corer or with my fingers because there was never clean silverware. I remember silverfish, centepedes, spiders, fleas, mice, flies and maggots. The bathroom was covered in black mold- pieces of moldy grout used to fall into my bathwater. I partially cleaned her out about two years ago at her request (as a “mother’s day present”) and filled a 25 foot dumpster. While there, I discovered that one of her 13(?) cats had had kittens on the carpet and she hadn’t cleaned up the placenta… but my mom won’t even let me come to her house anymore…
Apr 24 2010:
Wow, like a few people I wasn’t embarrassed. It is was it is… and still is at the moment. I’m so glad I found this site as I am a child of a hoarder. I’m almost 30 myself & my mother is still hoarding on the side. 10 Years of storage before we got it cleaned out. Then 6 months go by, another unit & everything put back in again. Now it’s been almost another 10 years… YIKES! Now after numerous years, a blessing in disguise, we now have to empty it out, manditorily. Storages are blackholes for money especially when you are not using anything inside at all. Thanks for all that you do!
Jul 21 2010:
Nothing here has surprised or shocked me. I can imagine my mother doing many of the things I have read on COH. I am 43 now and have lived with this directly and indirectly all my life. What I notice hasn’t been sai is how the disorganisation makes them late for everything so socially things become consistently embarrassing away from the home too! Money was tight for my mum when it started and she was low with my abusive father’s treatment of the home and family. He would smash everything up. I suppose she kept things in case she needed them because of that at first; he would tear all our clothes up for example. As the mess has progressed and the wedge placed between us widened, I became the’knowitall’. She is also very jealous and bitter about everyone else that manages ok; always a reason why it has been easier for them too. I wish I could find more on suppport for my emotional baggage. I feel shame, gulit, embarrasment, loss, neglect, unvalued. I worry if I might be the same because of anything I do that remotely resembles that behaviour. I’m not a clean freak thank God but I cant gauge whats normal either and so am always so hard on myself about my ability to keep house.
May 05 2010
My mother raised chickens in our kitchen. They started out as “peeps” in trays, then got bigger, louder and smellier. Then we had to construct a chicken coop for them to live in. My sister and I had to feed and clean up after the chickens. I stepped on a nail one day and had to go to the hospital to get a tetnus shot. I hated the chickens and the nasty chicken coop. My mother wanted to raise the chickens to save money on groceries. I was happy when we butchered them. Unfortunately, they were not tasty in any way and were quite small. The amount of money that went into nurturing them was probably more than it would have cost to go to the grocery store and buy some chickens on sale.
May 26 2010:
Tons of bottles, boxes, etc of cleaning supplies. All unused and filthy on the outside.
“Icky bags” – my hoarder mother’s term
Filled with used Depends, dirty underwear, snot rags, etc. Hanging on door knobs.
Again, collected from the online support group for COH:
“These are a few of our least favorite things”….
1) plastic shopping bags
2) 50 lb catfood bags
3) individual condiments (salt pepper ketchup)
4) cardboard cup containers (drink carriers from McDonalds)
5) bread bags
6) duct tape
8 ) 1 gallon milk jugs
9) Dept 56 “collectibles”
10) pens / pencils
12) napkins from fast food restaurants
13) bread ties
14) the maid who never came on Thursday
15) phone books
16) stacks of printed emails
17) empty boxes (just in case)
18) shopping bags full of other empty shopping bags
19) QVC packaging
20) travel brochures
21) brittle rubber bands
22) out-of-date “points” from food packages
23) 40-year-old chemicals
24) Stacks of magazines that one has to step on, thus honing your surfing skills
25) dead flower arrangements
26) free sheets of return address labels
27) bubble wrap padded envelopes
28) free samples of lotion/shampoo/anything
29) canned vegetables
30) VHS tapes (recordings of television)
31) used wrapping paper and ribbons
32) plastic deli containers
33) those DAMN plastic rings off of milk gallons!!!
34 Appointment cards for doctors, haircuts, etc
36) little calendars from realtors, insurance agents, etc
37) National Geographics-they’re collectible!
38) wedding favors
39) baskets of mismatched socks-“the mates are somewhere”
40) crushed rolls of wrapping paper
41) “collectible” toys from McDonalds happy meals
42) Beanie Babies
43) pet urine soaked rugs that “just need to be aired”
44) plastic canvas for crafting (yarn and cross-stitch too)
46) used depends
47) construction sized dumpsters in multiples
48) avon, avon, avon, did I say avon?
49) cookbooks, cookbooks, cookbooks
50) bundt pans
51) ancient takeout food
52) hoard refrigerators
53) hundreds of medicine cups from the hospital
54) plastic silverware
55) christmas presents from years ago that were never given
56. Plastic plates -I still refuse to eat off of them
58. outdated mice crap coated spices -still has rows and rows
59. old bulging cans of food-enough already!
60. freezers-don’ t open don’t open!!!
61. flea markets-used to like ’em
62. cookbooks-I have one modest bookcase of them
63. anything from grandmas house of horrors
64. antique stores-used to like these too
65. magazines-love National Geo- I throw mine away when done!
66. newspapers-must cancel subscription, thought I had time, I don’t
67. coupons-I hate hate hate Piles of coupons!
68. rotting pieces of reclaimed wood stacked in neat piles (rusty nails and all.)
69. crumbling reclaimed bricks and cracked concrete blocks (“gonna build an apartment building”)
71.plastic trays from frozen dinners
72. cereal boxes and empty cereal bags
73. cake mixes infested with bugs (“just a little extra protein”)
74. the smell of frozen stale bread
75. rotten potatoes
76. rotten onions
77. used toothbrushes
78. used disposable razor blades
79. yogurt containers
80. dried herbs hanging everywhere
81. junk mail
82. tiny scraps of paper with “important” notes scrawled on them
84. anything that the dogs have chewed up (it still might be good)
85. bathtubs too full of crap to actually use
86. a fireplace full of old credit card solicitations (they must be burned to protect against identity theft, but she only gets around to it once a year or so)
87. Tiny scraps of saved soap.
88. Rinsed (or unrinsed!) cat food tins *for recycling*.
89. Old clothes from the last 40 years or so.
90. Tools and other totally inappropriate things which end up living on sofas and floor space in the house.
91. Extras of things like toasters, kettles *because it was a good deal*.
92. Gadgets and items- especially large ones- that were fad buys (good deal) and used only a handful of times, then sit taking up counter space or floor space for years.
93. Dozens of salvaged electronic/electric al equipment such as computers, mini photocopiers (about a dozen!), TV’s etc.
94. Catalogues and brochures
95. Books especially bought from secondhand shop or book clubs
96.”The Lady” magazine
97. Newspaper cuttings about “Important Things” or recipes
98. Kitchen gadgets(especially when more than one of each item)
99. Crockery especially earthenware
100. Empty envelopes
101. Junk Jewellery
103. Clothes that do not fit
104. Anything still in its wrapper
105. Shopping bags full of decomposing fruit
106. Little ramekins/teak nibbles trays/scallop shaped dishes/implements for eating lobster/baking tins and anything else purchased for elaborate entertaining
107. Empty cardboard boxes
108. Any items brought home from hotel rooms/restaurants
109. Anything bought as a present
110. Tea cosies (NB this is probably a UK specific fetish)
111. Plant pots
112. Interior of freezer/refrigerator (especially if switched off!)
113. Birthday and Xmas cards
115. Unused but too old to use, cleaning supplies
116. Large Plastic storage containers with no matching lids
117. Grass that goes in Easter /gift Baskets. Tinsel.
118. bags of old newspapers
119. Hardcover Organizing books
120. Dolls & toys that come to life w/batteries where no children visit
121. Things children really needed at one time, but were never given.
122. plastic potty trays(?) & pitchers from hospitals and nursing homes
123. unrolled ribbon & thread spools around wire hangers
124. Dried up cat-o-nine tails retrieved from roadside
125. garages that can’t fit cars
126. 1/8 filled bottle of anything
127. carpets needing Shop-Vacs
128 wet cat food crusted on plates
129. Bags from Christmas craft fairs w/food & bugs inside.
130. spider sacs
131. Things from my childhood I’m very HAPPY to see, because then I falsely pretend I could care less about them, try to turn into a rock with no emotions, so I don’t encourage anything being saved
132. photographs in magazines
133. country-cutesy angel stuff
134. Clothes hanging on doorframes/showerrods
135. Cabinets that won’t stay closed
136. moldy oranges
137. Decorations, new, unused, crushed
137. plastic pots that plants/flower arrangments came in
138. tupperware with no matching lids
139. Bread crusts cut off and left on counters
140. Any maganize over 2 years old, especially Woman’s Day & Family Circle
141. things that fall off refrigerator door when opened
142. more than 2 potato mashers/other utensil in a drawer that won’t close
143. empty banana boxes
144. tax paperwork mixed with National Enquirers
145. Dead plants in bathtub. For decades.
146. full, unopened bags from The Christmas Tree Shop, TJ Maxx, Walmart
147. Paperwork and photos teetering precariously on anything
148. More than 3 of the same spice in a cupboard
149. scraps of food saved for “squirrels”
150. Stuff with cats on it it
151. Things of MINE I’ve thrown away but appear again
152. fruit flies
153. Beanie babies that cost over $100 each with plastic tag protectors on them to guard “collectibility factor” that aren’t used for target practice or sandbags
154. car trunks with no room
155. things that are *probably* an antique and will be “worth a lot of money someday”
156. Unopened Reynolds Wrap, Saran Wrap & Ziplocs
157. making a delicious sandwich, getting ready to take bite, finding bread is moldy
158. Finding fleas on yourself at work (this happened at my first job when I was 14)
159. Paper bathroom cups left around half-filled with water and fleas
161. Dried cat s**t
162. Cardboard boxes
163. Outlet malls
164. Pantry moths
165. Pantry moth larvae
166. Mattresses without sheets
167. Christian romance novels
168. Those sticky, curly fly traps hanging EVERYWHERE
169. Starbucks cups with iced tea from the day before, or the day before that..
170. Phone calls from my dad at 7:30 in the morning
171. Phone calls from my dad at 11:30 at night a few days later
172. Willful unemployment, while I’m double-majoring and working 30 hours a week
173. Flea foggers
174. fast food bags
175. packets of ketchup
176. plastic spoons, forks
177. empty paper coffee cups/lids
178. empty food containers
179. miracle vitamin/supplement du jour
180. anything pertaining to “secret cures the FDA doesn’t want you to know about”
181. anything pertaining to “make millions at home”
182. anything pertaining to “take this pill and lose weight without changing your eating habits”
183. shredded up pizza delivery boxes
184. plastic soft drink bottles shoved under the bed
185. Flea-infested vacuum cleaner, such as the one my mother shipped to my sister.
186. Toy trains kept in boxes piled up higher than my head and not in a nice train display.
187. Cheap ugly dolls
188. Any collectible toys that will “someday” be worth “lots of money” but don’t speak to any interest of the owner or will never be given to a child to play with.
189. Dust. Inches thick.
190. Piles and piles of shopping bags, paper or plastic, doesn’t matter.
191. Ants marching along the same path in the bathtub for *years*
192. Did I mention dust?
193. Large dogs that are badly/not trained to behave in the house. You shouldn’t have to crate a 6-year old dog!
194. Buckets that the sink leaks into, which overflow if not emptied every 2-3 hours.
195. Load-bearing books/leaflets/catalogues with SHINY friction-free covers, 2/3rds of the way down a pile that you have to walk past ten times every day. Woe betide you if you brush against it even a little! Down it all comes and has to be put back just right before Mum comes out of Her Kitchen to see what you’ve done now.
196. Black-encrusted carpets in those spots where you have to tread.
197. Knowing that something you need is either in this pile, this pile or this pile – and you’ll never be able to check through ALL of them before Mum comes out to see what you’re doing. “It isn’t in there! You don’t need to look in there! You’ll – see? I knew that would happen! No, go on, leave it! Don’t touch it any more! I’ll sort it out.”
198. The little tiny moths.
200. Live or dead mice. The live ones make noise, but don’t use poison, use a mouse trap (where you can get to it later). The poisoned ones still die, but in the walls or the piles. The good thing is that eventually the smell will stop.
201. Trying to find library books you want to return so you can get something different.
202. Having to explain to the librarian that the book really is gone, and you just want to pay for the whole thing.
203. Worrying about your parents and their health or worse, a fire. (Now, not too much back then)
204. …the tune from ‘The Sound of Music”, ‘My Favourite Things” popped right into my head and stayed there. You know the one that starts off “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Today while cleaning out the hoard and the house, while humming the tune, I rearranged the words a litte to suit my least favourite things.
This form was submitted: Jul 21 2010 / 11:06:28
Having a back problem since 14 because I had to hang over a bath for years and wash my clothes by hand. Our machine never got fixed because Mum needed to tidy up to have someone in.
(To the tune of These Are A Few of My Favorite Things)
‘MY LEAST FAVOURITE THINGS”
Urine soaked carpets that are littered with faceas
Pools that are black, Wow heres a new species
That crawled out from that primordial sludge
Whats that stuff caked to the floor that won’t budge.
Plastic bags, magazines, paper and wrappings
A room stacked with unused goods, still in packing
Oh look here honey now heres a suprise
Used sanitary napkins from 1995
Oh no no no, just found my Fathers ashes
Tripped over a dead cat and fell on a mattress
Its moving, slimy and smelly and makes my eyes sting
These are a few of my least favourite things
Cigarette stains on the walls floor and ceiling
The smell is so horrible, I’m suprised were still breathing
Diabetic needles, nail clippings in jars
And under that mountain of stuff theres a car
Grass is six foot high, the plants become a rover
The pool and the fence, the house its all over
Cleaning the ceiling, got chemicals in my eyes
Ambulance was called, gee I hope I don’t go blind
Honey did you bring over the detonater
So I can open this quite large container
I wonder what it there, hand me the chainsaw
So I can cut us an emergency door
The lighting is faulty, airconditioners broken
When my friends turn up, not a word is spoken
We clean and we throw and into the hoard dive
Lucky there weren’t any sharp pointy knives
Ornaments, bottles and food rotting in freezers
and fridges and other appliances that seized
Went onto the verandah and fell through the floor
Honey I don’t think I can take anymore
When my back breaks
When my bones ache
When I smell real bad
I simply remember my least favourite things
And then I just feel sad (and go home)
205. Stacks of National Geographics from the 70s that haven’t been opened and read but that are still “worth something”
206. Dirty, unmended clothing that doesn’t fit but just needs a button or a zipper or a patch to be useful
207. Drawers that have broken the tracks because they are so full of stuff and now can’t be cleaned
208. Mice turds…
209. Persian rugs so covered with cat piss and animal fur that not only can you not see the original pattern on the rug but their worth must now be negative in value (although inlaws still claim they’re worth the thousands they paid for them…)
210. Countertops covered in canned cat food stench so that even if you could find a space, you wouldn’t want human food anywhere nearby
211. Dried garlic and chile chains hanging from the ceiling that are black with age
212. Drawers full of cosmetic products that will never be used
213. Electronics that have had their batteries erode(corrode? ) and leak but still might be salvageable
214. Loaded guns “hidden” throughout the junk in the house because “guns without bullets won’t save you”
215. Three large bins of stuffed animal toys for the dog, more than their six grandchildren have combined
216. the dead dog in the freezer who can’t be buried yet because the ground is still
217. Snapple caps.
218. 52 DOZEN! Easter Eggs dating back to 1974
plastic margarine containers annual reports from clubs you aren’t a involved in meeting agendas for meetings you’re not a secretary for school newsletters
Having to sneak clothes that don’t fit, or that you don’t wear anymore, to the Goodwill.
Being ordered to pray for rain when the landlord was working on the house, so he didn’t see what was inside.
Any trip in the car started with “I’ll have to clear some space.”
Not having access to the car for 2 weeks because both sets of keys were lost.
The kitchen sink was broken for 5 years because Mom didn’t want the landlord to see the inside of the apartment.
Being yelled at when I moved some junk so I could close the bathroom door.
Stacks of dishes on the kitchen counters. When I tried to put them in the cabinets, Mom screamed “If you put them in the cabinets, the cabinets will fall down!” She still kept buying dishes, and stacking them on the counters.
Dreading the annual church rummage sale, especially “Fill a bag for a buck” on the last day.
Moving magazines to make space on the sofa to sit down. All the baking pans. The mouse scratching in the wall that was never addressed. I turned the radio on to fool him and make him think I was awake so he would be quiet so I could go to sleep. The same peach paint in my parents’ house from my childhood until I cleaned out all the mess after they died when I was 38. The “junk drawer” with all the thread wrapped around everything. The roach turds in all the storage areas. Not fitting any groceries in the cabinets because they were full of old rotten food. Grocery bags on the kitchen floor and in the car trunk. “Straightening up” when company was expected. My dad visiting with his friends outside always because the house was never tidy. The dirty clothes hamper filled with moldy things that never got washed. My mother fussing because my dad had moved something of hers to the garage and she couldn’t find it.
Having to eat the slightly spoiled food that the grocery stores wrap in plastic on those styrofoam trays with a big
REDUCED ticket on it that a frugal, astute shopper (aka hoarder) could not resist buying.
having to use every teabag twice despite pointing out to my mother that they were only worth 2 cents
This form was submitted: Apr 27 2010
Old Sears Catalogs from the 80s that have things we ‘might want to order’ from. Even though Sears obviously doesn’t carry those items anymore, and catalogs are obsolete/gone because of the Internet.
This form was submitted: Jun 30 2010 / 19:54:39
broken down computer equipment
This form was submitted: Jun 22 2010 / 06:01:26
Cigarette trays overflowing with cigarette butts. Not being allowed to empty them because there may still be one lit and could start a fire…like having them flowing over and burning holes in the wooden end table is different. Then picking up my pop can to take a sip only to find out your Mom decided to change it into her cigarette tray because the cigarette tray was overflowing. When I complained that she used my pop can she would yell at me it was my fault because the cigarette tray hadn’t been cleaned…yet I wasn’t allowed to empty it because it might start a fire.
This form was submitted: May 05 2010 / 12:33:05
QVC Boxes – with brand new, never used items
This form was submitted: Jun 03 2010 / 10:44:47
“After all the sacrifices I made for you, you are so unappreciative. Anybody else out there would be happy to have these things, I guarantee it.”
This form was submitted: May 06 2010 / 23:47:28
Believing that if I tried harder, I could understand the logic of the contradictory rules (it’s better to leave it really messy than to clean it imperfectly! This stained, moth-eaten sweater is handspun alpaca! etc)
This form was submitted: May 26 2010 / 10:15:29
Seeing dried up old cat biohazards and getting the excuse “I’m not picking up the cat vomit, crap, hairball, etc, from the carpet because it’s easier when it’s dry.”
This form was submitted: May 18 2010 / 17:09:08
PAPER! So, so, so, soooo much paper!
This form was submitted: May 06 2010 / 23:22:32
Those standout memories where you learn that cleaning gets you in trouble (and still, *still*, hoping for excited surprise)
This form was submitted: May 27 2010 / 04:50:56
Rat poison and later finding half decomposed mice.
This form was submitted: May 06 2010 / 23:15:04
“Well, it may be a mess, but it’s MY mess.”
This form was submitted: May 06 2010 / 23:14:21
People watching: 2 a.m. at the 24 hour laundromat because it suddenly became the most important thing in the world to do 10 loads of laundry simultaneously.
This form was submitted: May 06 2010 / 23:05:48
Making up excuses for why the phone was always getting turned off (“I think my dad paid TOO MUCH and the phone company got confused”)
This form was submitted: May 06 2010 / 22:59:04
Discovering, by smell, that the cats had brought in a dead squirrel.
This form was submitted: May 06 2010 / 22:55:03
The ambitious clothes sorting ritual – keep/clean, donate, trash – that must take place on the driveway due to space restrictions elsewhere. And the clothes stay on the driveway for a few seasons.
This form was submitted: May 06 2010 / 22:47:26
Putting leftover food on the screened in back porch in the winter because the fridge was full, and my mom insisting that it was still good for the next couple weeks. And relatedly, finding food on the back porch that had been placed there the previous winter.
This form was submitted: May 26 2010 / 23:07:50
Empty baby food jars, tin cans of bent rusty nails, cheap tools still in the package and rusted now because they’ve been in the damp cellar, wax paper saved from inside cereal boxes, more than 80 junk cars in the yard, piles of rusting scrap metal, milk crates full of cedar shingles and carpenter ants, old refrigerator drawers, old doors, old windows, old car seats, closets full up with his clothes and no room to put anything of anybody else’s, piles of books that libraries had thrown away, bits of cardboard from pasta and cereal boxes, twist ties, old fuses even though the house was converted to circuit breakers years ago, tires, tires, tires, ketchup/sugar/salt packets, pens that don’t work, containers of used kitty litter, old bills in the envelopes with SAVE written on them in red…
And then there’s having no hot water from age 6 to 16 because he wouldn’t fix it, and wouldn’t allow anyone else to, a toilet that didn’t flush properly for most of my childhood, heat in the winter at a minimum so that my fingernails were blue…
This was child abuse, wasn’t it?
Post a comment with your trip down memory lane! Maybe someone out there can relate…