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All Family/Friends

Friends of Hoarders (FOH)-851 members, since 2001.

Friends-Family-Hoarders-Clutterers-288 members, since 2001.

Overcoming Hoarding Together (OHT)-130 members, since 2006.

For spouses, partners, significant others:

Mates of Messies-800+ members, since 2000.

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Please let us know by posting below.

Permanent link to this article: http://childrenofhoarders.com/wordpress/?page_id=477

  • Crisy

    Hi, I’m 23. I have a pretty hard time of it, mentally trying to deal with my mother a compulsive hoarder! The house she lives in is quite frankly discusting! It deeply depresses me! I know she could have had a better life! The spending & buying more is out of control! She just can’t seem to stop! I debt and depressed! It’s hard for me as all the other family live away! (Brothers & Father) I also am renting from my mum & dad a place with my partner. (I would not be able to rent otherwise as could not afford it!) so I am stuck! Help! I’m so depressed!!!!

  • adult child of extreme hoarder

    Your words will sound all too familiar to so many of us – they sure ring true to me.  My mom is 89 – I am 50.  She recently let me into her house for the first time in 20 years. She was visiting me for 3 months, and the time away from her place must have created the distance needed to see if from fresh eyes, because it was upon her return that she called and said she was so ashamed (mind you, she also said someone must have broken in and made it worse, because she didn’t leave it that way – that’s another problem altogether – no one was in her house when she was away – it’s either part of denial, or part of a coping strategy). Anyway, I knew it was going to be bad, but seeing things on TV or in books and seeing it in 3-D (odor included) is overwhelming. My heart is heavy. She is a danger to herself and others. I have hired a professional organizer, but after two visits, my mom now says “it’s going to fast and is just too much for her”.  The organizer has managed to get about 2 feet of a kitchen counter cleaned and some garbage tossed, dishes washed, but it could take years. Do I call social services to alert them of the potential danger my mom is to herself and others? Do I let her move slowly toward a solution – if she agrees to continue? Every time the phone rings and it’s her, my heart drops.  It’s all just so overwhelming and confusing. I think there must be some books out there to help, but I’m just in the process of looking for them. My advise? Live your life – take walks and exercise when it feels like too much. Invest in your own well being. If you have to move away to get your own space for happiness – do it. While this is weighing heavy on your heart, I don’t know that there’s anything you can do to help on your own, and even with help, I don’t know that this terribly debilitating desease is always curable.  Breathe deep.  I tend to think it’s the same disease as alcoholism in that you have to hit bottom before admitting to the problem. I wish I had a magic answer, but for sure, take time for yourself and try your best not to carry this on your shoulders day and night.  You deserve more for yourself. Take it.

  • I’m looking for a guest blogger to type about dealing with hoarding… either from the viewpoint of a significant other, child, adult child or someone suffering with the illness personally.

    Please contact me if you are interested. This would be as a volunteer (not paid) and a way to get your story out.

  • Reggie

    I am also the child of an extreme hoarder. I understand the shame, sadness, suffering, frustration, heaviness, and hopelessness. My sisters and I moved out over 20 years ago to save ourselves.  We still  spend time with her and try to help her. She is virtually impossible to help. She won’t let us in the house as we did a full clean out 10 years ago. Now the house is full again. We know she needs to be removed from the house, but don’t know how to do it.
    We fear she  is too difficult and emotionally unbalanced to live in an assisted living facility. Anyway, when we suggested that option she said she would rather kill herself.If anyone has managed to remove their extreme hoarder from their home please tell me how. Did you work with an attorney? Where can hoarders live if they are removed from their home?

    • Jennifer

      Reggie – Did you ever get answers to your questions? I am in the same situation and don’t know where to turn.

  • Beeg

    My father is not only a hoarder, but loves to build onto the house. He was in general contracting, and he constantly purchases building materials from Home Depot and add onto to the house my sister bought for them. The house was very nice when she first bought it. It was a new re-hab and had brand new appliances and granite counter tops in kitchen AND bathrooms. The place now is covered in layers of dirt, piles high with junk and furniture, and his “add-ons” throughout the house. He did that previously to two apartments we rented for them (all of the children chipped in together to pay the rent), and when they moved out, we had to leave the place as is and just paid the fines. I think the only solution is to move my parents to a home where they are not allowed to do anything to the rooms. I hate to do so, but I couldn’t even let my toddler visit because the last time we went there, my daughter found push pins and peanuts all over the floor. Thank goodness my daughter didn’t choke on any of them.

  • Steve

    This is my story. My mother is a pack-rat and moved to what I call hoarding about 10 years ago. Our 30 year old cottage, as well as her house (where my father also lives), is now full of “useful” stuff. Plastic containers, paper in all forms, toys, books, wooden-frame windows, salt and pepper shakers, a rack full of useless keys, a lot of stuff from leftovers from church sales where my mother helps out, … it is overwhelming to me. I’m now 42 and have moved a lot because of my jobs, but I realized a few months ago that I always returned close to my parents as deeply inside, I wanted to help them. I have a lot of shame, cry weekly even when I could be happy, I tend to over-organize my house to the point of it being not too comfortable (like less carpets, making sure the kitchen is cleaned up, removing pens and paper from counters, putting books back into shelves). I’m also very critical of small things. It is very subtle but I think I’m reacting against what I see in my mother. As a teenager, I would keep my room clean. When I would vacuum the house, I would get reprimanded for having moved the chairs, or having slight displaced items in the kitchen where I had wiped the counter. When I’m at someone else house or on vacation, I’m not the same person. It’s almost like I have carried the shame and behaviour of my parents house into mine. When my mother asks for help, say she says she needs more space and would I not like to have this book or that table, as soon as I mention that she should throw it out, she become defensive and I feel like she loves her stuff more that she does me. I get angry that she calls me for help, only to be disappointed by ideas (of throwing stuff out). I fell shame that I never had a “nice” home where the table had space to work on and where kitchen utensils were in a “normal” place, like at my friends’.

    Now that I know that I may have moved back to be closer to my parents to help my mother, (but that I cannot help her), I feel very depressed and sad for my lost time and energy. I hope that my story will guide others in clarifying their feelings.

  • Anonymous

    I am only 14 years old and my mom is a huge hoarder. She buys so many things and always says that we will use it sometime. Sometimes we never even take things out of their bags. My dad has no problems with hoarding and he and my mom fight about it all the time. It got so bad once that they separated for 6 months when I was 8 but eventually got back together. I don’t have any place to put my clothes because there is even so much clutter in my room that I can’t get to my closet. All my friends at school leave me out of things because they think I don’t like them because I never invite anyone over to my house. I have no idea what to do. I tried telling her how I feel but she wouldn’t listen.

    • hev

      Hey! I grew up in a house like that. At that time I considered it normal and would laugh at it at first when i had friends round. I kept my bedroom tidy and that was my escape. Is it her stuff or yours in your closet? If it is your room and her stuff I would sneak some out of the house to a neighbour’s bin. Even if you live in a house like that you need your own sanctuary. I explained to my friends and they did not seem to mind although I did feel somewhat different and I longed to have them over to watch a movie or something. Now I have moved out and the house has become so bad you cannot even see the sofa. I can now go home to my own house and appreciate the tidyness of it even more. Good luck.

    • PDX_listener

      So sorry to hear. I am lucky in that my mother did not get bad until the kids moved out of the house. My dad had his “space” and my mom had the rest of the house and filled it up with clutter.

      If you have your own room, I would ask your mom to stay out of it and then just keep it how you want.

      If the hoarding is really bad and you (or someone else) reports it to authorities, your state agency that handles child welfare could actually remove you form the house. I don’t know where they would put you. Maybe with a friend, maybe in a foster home. So that might be worse than just sticking it out for a little bit longer.

      The good news is at 18 you are free to move out and do what you want.

  • Anonymous

    I am trying to help a friend who is a hoarder. She has custody of a couple children, and I am not sure where they even sleep because there is so much clutter. There is no place to sit, there is food littering the place, and a mold problem in the house. My spouse cannot even spend 10 minutes in the house before his allergies are acting up. Parts of the ceiling in the house have fallen in because of recent flooding. She has found a way to avoid confrontation with the children’s caseworkers by meeting them outside the house. I am asking for any advice on what to do in regards to when to report something like this to DCFS. I am feeling really torn but believe strongly that it is a health hazard, and the entire house should be condemned.

  • Beauty Girl

    Hi, Im Caroline. Im 13 and I live in California. My mother is a hoarder.. Its very hard for me. Im a young girl and I want my room to be perfect. I see all my friends who have there room exactly how they want it. I know in the future this will make me stronger, but right now it is very hard. I can’t throw anything away without it coming back. My house is disgusting.. The bathrooms are filthy. My mom has her clothes in my room. Its all her stuff around the house from newpapers, magazines, to clothes and dirt. I have so much anger to my father. He lives in it. He doesnt do anything to stop it. Why cant he divorce her and leave? Take my sister and I.. Im scared to call cps or something.. I just want someone to talk to…Someone that is in my shoes…

    • Michaela Wade

      Hi there, You sound JUST like I did at 13. I had the EXACT same thoughts. I am now an adult and I am also looking for someone to talk to about this. I thought I had gotten away with it but recently it all came flooding back. I need help. Look forward to hearing from you or anyone. Nice to know I am not alone.

  • Tears in Houston

    I just found out that my mother is a hoarder. She was what I call a pack-rat when I was growing up, but things were stored neatly, and while our house was cluttered (what my mother called happily lived in) it was clean. But, we always had to run around and straighten up like crazy before we had company. My mother was a single parent, my father died when I was 6 and my sister was 5. Now let me tell you my story…My mother retired from nursing 16 years ago and still lives in the house I grew up in. After retiring,she helped my sister, who lives 60 miles away from her, by taking care of my niece and nephew when my sister and brother-in law worked. She did this 2 weeks a month. I live 1200 miles away from them with my family. When we visited, we stayed with my sister. There was more room for both families to be together and my mother would stay as well. My mother would visit me in Houston often, usually 2-3 times a year. This weekend I received a call from my mother’s neighbor, whom I know very well. She told me that she heard a strange noise at my mother’s house and went to check on her. My mother was fine but then the bombshell came. She told me that when she looked into the living room windows there were boxes and bags of stuff everywhere. Stacks of newspapers and papers almost 5 foot high. Evidently my mother had left the drapes open (she never does). The neighbor said that she had voiced her concerns to my sister several months ago. My sister never said a word about this to me. I called my sister. She said that she hasn’t been in mother’s house for at least 10 years, that mother always had a meeting or plans when she wanted to visit her, and mother was at her house at least 4-5 times a month. She said she didn’t want to tell me what she knew or suspected because she didn’t me to worry. And besides, she said, what could I do 1200 miles away ? I told her that I wanted to fly up there and surprise and confront mother. She told me if I did that mother would be furious. Then I suggested to her that I call mother and tell her I was planning to visit her, IN HER HOME. She said that if I did that mother might hurt herself trying to clean up the clutter by herself. My sister is right, however I am heartbroken and devastated. I am researching this problem, and trying to make plans, but I feel like I am spinning in circles. I am numb, and don’t know what to do. Does anyone have advice for me ?

  • Anne

    My father is 92 and a hoarder. It is my job to make sure he is safe which means going there each day to check on him. This is not social time. He cannot hear what I say due to his hearing and his refusal to wear hearing aids, which he has. He is not a social person. I’ve read many of the hoarding horror stories here. I would like any suggestions anyone has.

    The the house he lives in crammed with “useful” things-coupons that expired in the ’70s, giveaway calendars from years past, professional journals from the 50’s, etc. He was a chemist, so there are jars and bottles of chemicals. He also owns the house next door and it’s completely full of the same kinds of things. I have tried to clean up the main house myself a number of times. He goes through the trash I set out and brings it back inside. According to him “it’s a sin to through out a banana peel” (or orange peels, egg shells, plastic bags). I had a professional company try to clean it 10 years ago. I was blamed for allowing “the robbery” (as he calls it) to happen. Paramedics could not get their equipment through the door to help when he fell several years ago. I’ve tried adult protective services and other agencies.

    He is not going to change. I cannot stand being in that house in the state it’s in. I feel guilty and depressed constantly. Three weeks ago I tried to commit suicide due to the depression, and spent a few days in the hospital. He thinks I had the flu. Can anyone point me in the right direction to get help?

  • sdhoarding

    Does Your Loved One Have Trouble Throwing Things Out? Have friends or family that save too many things? Your loved one’s house is cluttered with objects? If so, you may be eligible to participate in a research study on the experience of family members with hoarding. Please call Dr. Ayers from the Department of Psychology VA Hospital/ UCSD Department of Psychiatry at show contact info ext 858-552-8585 ext. 1251 or e-mail us at sdhoardingresearch@gmail.com for more information. The study will take place at the VA Hospital in La Jolla.

  • Worriedmom

    My ex-husband and father to my 11 yr old daughter is a hoarder. No one but her has been allowed in his home for at least 4 years. She is just now old enough to start talking to me about the problem and her concerns. It’s a lot for a young child to deal with. I have concerns about safety issues and don’t know how much to try to intervene. He has a very good public job in law enforcement and is well respected. He will retaliate if pushed too much. Talking to him will probably not work and besides the hoarding he is a good father. I need to be able to support her and protect her without damaging her relationship with her father. Very difficult since I can’t enter the home to check on the condition. Any suggestions would be welcome.

  • ashley

    Please help by donating to our cause: http://www.gofundme.com/hoardinghelp

  • Renee Harris

    My Best Friend is a hoarder. She is the mother of 2 girls ages 15 and 11 yrs old. The girls are my God daughters and there has not been 1 home that she has lived in that has not been a cave of hoarding. We have been best friends since we were 15 yrs old and now we are both 42 yrs old. I deliberately have not been inside her new place because I was afraid of what I might see. If I see the squalor I can’t help but to be plagued by it and I just didn’t want the emotional heaviness associated with seeing my God daughters and their mother living in this manner. After going inside the new place that she has only been in for 3 months my heart is so heavy and my mind is riddled with what to do.
    The 11 yr old met me in the hallway of the apartment building and to put it simply she was embarrassed about me coming inside the apartment, the anxiety on her face and the shame was enough to make me want to cry. I could only tell her ”I’ve known your Mom since we were teenagers-I know your mom does not know how to maintain a clean house that is not your problem, its Mommys problem.”
    The front door could barely open there were clothes, shoes, objects and garbage covering every inch of the floor, the stench was unbearable it smelled like vomit, and the girls bedroom was dark but in squalor when I asked where the light switch was the youngest replied ”we ran out of light bulbs some weeks ago” When I went into my friend’s bedroom she was feverishly trying to clear out a clean space for me to sit on her bed. While trying to maintain a normal look on my face I noticed there was an old half eaten hotdog in a bun laying in her bed along with silverware and dirty dishes-ALL and MORE in her bed!!
    We left the apartment to drop the oldest at a friends house and my friend wanted to meet the parents of her daughters friend when my God daughter said ”Mom, you forgot to comb your hair” My friend tried to do something to her hair quickly and I kept to myself the fact that the sweater she was wearing carried the stench of her apartment.
    The long and short of this is what can I do to help? In the past I have always gone over to her places and cleaned up or assisted in picking items up but, it’s a temporary solution. I hate that the girls have to live this way. The youngest has even asked to come to live with me.
    What can I do to help my friend that wont end her in trouble with Child Welfare? She recently began taking Prozac for depression about 2 months ago but, Hoarding runs in her family. She has expressed to me that the Prozac is doing nothing but, slowing her reaction time when it comes to lashing out at the girls and she said she doesn’t have emotional unexplainable outburst such as tears.

    I initially saw hoarding from her Mom in highschool and when her Grandmother passed they had no choice but to have the home demolitioned because of the extreme filth. How can I help the children?

  • Shanna

    Does anyone know where we can find someone to act as an expert witness in a custody court case to remove autistic children from a dangerous home with a hoarder? The judge in the custody case seems to think “everyone has clutter” in their home. He doesn’t understand the severity of the situation and will not send anyone to inspect the home. This has been an ongoing battle for a while now without any help whatsoever. It is only getting worse.

  • Jody

    Just realized my grandchildren are living in a house with parents that are hoarders. We should have recognized the problem earlier. We are never invited to their home, birthday parties are always celebrated some place other than their home or they have excuses for not having company. Lately even the kids say the house is a mess and would have to be cleaned up before we could visit. They would rather come to our place. I know they are sad because their little friends can’t even visit their home. How can we approach the parents without loosing them? We love them, but it’s so depressing and sad knowing my grandchildren have to live like that.