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Is anyone else a hoarder?

(48 Posts)
Foxglove77 Sun 27-Oct-19 13:56:23

Hello, I just wondered if any of you are also hoarders like me? My daughter said its usually caused by a mental health issue. The only think I can think of is that we had two house fires whilst I was living at home and a teenager. The second one was severe and I lost everything, I only had what I stood up in.

I am now married with two DC and a wonderful GD. 40 years on I have collections of all sorts, phone cards, postcards, china horses, stamps, horses brasses and lots of other things. Yesterday I discovered all the wedding cards we were sent and don't even get me started on photos!

My DH has gone out for the day with DS and I thought I'd just look in the cupboard under the stairs and started pulling everything out. That was a mistake. Carefully wrapped china, boxes of postcards that hadn't made the albums, photos of the children and much loved pets that have passed. It was endless. Then DH called and said he was on his way back.

I have just finished putting it all back, bar throwing a couple of blurry photos out. But it has overwhelmed me! Where and why do I have all this stuff. The DC are not going to want to sort it out when I go and I feel bad.

Anyone have any suggestions or can just sympathise with me?

NanKate Sun 27-Oct-19 14:22:11

My DH is a hoarder of the highest order. It drives me mad. I will say though that all his collections of newspaper articles, bits of wood, screws are very neatly stored. It is one of the few things we niggle about with each other.

I have asked him many times what am I to do if he goes first and he’s told me to get a skip and get our DS to come and chuck it all in. I’m ready to do that NOW!

Sometimes when he is out I hide things in a bag and get ride of them in the recycling is in town, which they have sadly now removed.

I bought a shampoo the other day I didn’t like but I daren’t throw it away because if he sees it he will put it in his bathroom alongside 3 other old bottles of mine that he uses up over the years.

I despair 🙄

boheminan Sun 27-Oct-19 14:30:26

I'm not quite sure what the difference between 'hoarding' and 'collecting' is. Throughout my home I have little displays of (I think) 'interesting items' (eg: teapots, old kitchen utensils, etc, etc) however my girls despair, telling me it's gathering dust and is a load of rubbish. Strange to say though if anyone moves anything, I instantly know.

As a child my mother was very strict and everything 'had its place' and was hidden away. I wonder how much of this saving stuff derives from our post war time upbringing? I do sympathise with you and would only suggest you don't beat yourself up over this.

Callistemon Sun 27-Oct-19 14:35:53

Your hoard doesn't sound any more than mine, Foxglove (probably less).
However, it is, in the main, neat and tidy and not cluttering up the house.
I think that when it overwhelms the house so that the person is unable to live a normal life it becomes a real problem.

I am going to have a sort-out this winter!

I wonder if it is a need to be different from our parents, boheminan? DM threw everything out and I do cling to stuff, MIL was a hoarder and DH is not (except, of course, for all his necessary stuff in the garage).

Calendargirl Sun 27-Oct-19 14:49:32

It’s the leaving for others to sort out that makes me go through my possessions. My DM lived in a small flat, but when she died she seemed to have no end of ‘stuff’. I hung on to things that I didn’t want but felt guilty about getting rid of. Gradually I have car booted and charity shopped them, along with my own ‘stuff’ from the loft. I know that my AC will just put it in a skip anyway, and I don’t want to leave them extra work.
I still have some ‘stuff’, but will keep sorting and sifting it.
When it’s gone, you really don’t miss it.

Re the OP. I do think we were brought up not to discard things that were bought with hard earned money, and that is a definite reason why we ‘hoard’ or ‘collect’ things.

agnurse Sun 27-Oct-19 14:59:41

My understanding is that the distinction has to do with the value of the item and the person's reaction if something is got rid of.

Hoarders often have things that have very little value - old newspapers, pieces of broken furniture that they claim can be fixed, etc. If someone tries to go through their things and get rid of the "junk", the person will experience severe anxiety and be very reluctant to get rid of it. (This is why I am not in favour of "forced clear-outs" - it does not address the underlying health issues and the person will simply recreate the hoard.)

Collecting, on the other hand, is about assembling things that AREN'T junk. The person may be attached to the things, but usually not to the point that they would be unable to cope if they had to get rid of them.

OP, if you're wanting to "declutter", there are a number of options. One is to do it yourself. I have heard good things about Marie Kondo and Fly Lady, although I have never tried them. My personal method is to take it one room at a time. Set aside a set amount of time for each room and commit yourself to the project. Another option is to hire a professional organizer to help you.

EllanVannin Sun 27-Oct-19 15:13:56

I can sympathise because I'm the same but I don't call myself a " hoarder ", but a collector of all things nice even though I have nik-naks all over the place and any little place I find empty has to be filled.

I imagine how miserable it would be having lived all the years without anything to show for it.
I also feel sorry for my D being faced with it all too when I'm no longer here.

Beautiful china/Dresden ornaments and Italian glassware------what do you do with it ? I have 3 china cabinets full of all kinds of weird and wonderful things including memento's from all my travels worldwide.
At least there are plenty of saleable items if the family don't want it.

A cupboard full of photographs and don't get me on to the CD's and DVD's that there are too !
At least I can still move around freely with nothing blocking my path.

Chestnut Sun 27-Oct-19 15:17:06

I think the priority is to gather the photographs and other nostalgic paperwork together and find a nice box for them. Sort the photos and put names and dates on the back.

The second important thing is to list the non-paper things you definitely want your children to have. This might be jewellery or special family ornaments. Don't mix them up with the bric-a-brac.

The other stuff? Things that have no importance? Clear a corner of a room. Open one cupboard at a time and put the stuff you don't really want or need in the corner ready for the charity shop (or the tip). Before shutting each cupboard get a notebook and write what you have in there. It really helps to have lists because we forget what we have and where it is.

LondonGranny Sun 27-Oct-19 15:44:43

My late MIL was a hoarder. Not old milk cartons, newpaper or rotting food. Knitted cardigans, every letter (not official ones) going back sixty years (including one from me, on her dressing table telling her how much I loved her son which was in a box with a pressed rose), colanders (over twenty), costume jewellery, nice biscuit tins, seashells, shoes (decent ones, not worn out), framed pictures, photographs, books, her parents wartime memorabilia (WW1 stuff and WW2 ration books, gas masks, ARP whistles) scissors and three unused Belfast sinks in the garden. Her father's glass eye (in a beautiful little tooled leather box. I got a right fright opening that!) I could go on.
She had suffered traumatic loss in childhood as well as adulthood, including being widowed twice, the first time as a young mother with children under school age.
A lot of it went to her favourite charity and they took loads of stuff and some of it made a fair bit at auction including two large Victorian paintings,
Some things were moth-eaten and some things did get thrown away. I have all the photos, some of her china, some lovely thick enamelled pans, a very good egg poacher, her pie funnel collection, I could go on but basically useful things or things my husband was sentimental about.
It took weeks of sorting though but it felt more a privilege than a chore.
I have done all of the post-death sorting for my relatives. My father was the worst though. He was piles of newspapers, a bedroom full of unwashed clothes and a kitchen full of rotting food but that was more because he couldn't or wouldn't do for himself. A lot of men of his generation expected women to do all the picking up after them. He couldn't even boil an egg and no interest in learning. I wish I was joking. I wish I could say that was a privilege but it was definitely a chore. There was no-one in the world who loved him because he was a horrible, bitter, controlling, pathologically jealous man.

LondonGranny Sun 27-Oct-19 15:47:40

Another thing about my MIL. There was a little country auction house close by and she loved auctions. She didn't have much money but enough, and because she'd always lived frugally, she had the means of not resisting a bargain.

sodapop Sun 27-Oct-19 16:04:41

agnurse is right about the differences between hoarding and collecting. We all keep things which have sentimental value to us but are of no interest or value to others.
As we get older we start to think about who will deal with it all when we die. I don't save anything much but when I throw things out my husband keeps them, we have just had a battle about clearing useless crap good stuff out of the barn.

newnanny Sun 27-Oct-19 16:24:43

Foxglove have you seen our de-cluttering thread? Both myself and dh are both inclined to hoard but I am now tackling it before it ends up being a nightmare for my children to do when we die. Today I turned out a box that had old aprons that my Mum wore while working in the house and when she died I kept them as I could picture her in them all though my childhood. Mum has been dead 7 years now. I have now realised I can still picture her in the aprons in my head without the need to keep the actual aprons. It has taken a long time but now I feel I can throw away some of her things I could not bare to throw away before. We have all pledged to throw away or give a way one thing every day until Xmas. I am managing this better than I thought and some days I can throw away many things but I force myself to make one thing go every day. Join us, we are stronger together. Join the tread and I will look out for you on there.

newnanny Sun 27-Oct-19 16:27:50

Belfast sinks make fabulous planters for flowers.

Nannyxthree Sun 27-Oct-19 16:28:25

There is a thread on here about throwing out just one item a day up to Christmas. A small start but it helps.

My mother became a hoarder after the death of family members. Finally getting really bad when dad died. She seemed to need 'stuff' to compensate for the loss and it didn't need to be their stuff. She was very much of the 'waste not, want not' mind-set, but it just got out of control.

LondonGranny Sun 27-Oct-19 16:31:44

I think that was her intention but she never got around to it. I suspect the colanders were to be planted up too. They weren't in the kitchen cupboard, they were in the passageway by the outside loo.

newnanny Sun 27-Oct-19 16:39:00

My biggest weakness that I absolutely cannot either give to charity are all my Royal Albert Bone china dinner and tea and coffee sets. I have Old Country Roses with full set of 24 place settings dinner and teas and just about every accessory you could imagine. I have Val D'or dinner and tea service with 12 places, Memory Lane dinner and teas service with 12 place settings and Lavender Rose dinner and tea with 18 place settings and a few spares. All sets have with soup coupes, tureen and I also have many vegetable serving dishes and tiered cake servers for cream teas, with each set. I have also given a 12 dinner and tea service to my dear niece when she moved into her own home as she had always liked mine. My family always jokes I should buy a tea shop to use them.

LondonGranny Sun 27-Oct-19 16:40:29

None of my china matches! It's all sentimental stuff from dead relatives!

newnanny Sun 27-Oct-19 16:41:14

When my gran died my Mum found an old gas mask still in a box, at her house and gave it to a school who were looking at WW2. They were thrilled with it to show the children.

Chestnut Sun 27-Oct-19 17:08:20

Don't forget you can photograph things you want to throw out but remember.

newnanny - that china is worth selling on E-Bay if you can manage it. The postage and packing would be daunting although some people love doing all that. If you are a china fanatic then that could be a new hobby, studying china prices and valuing them.

LondonGranny Sun 27-Oct-19 17:25:42

That doesn't work for me. I have a photograph of my mum wearing a brooch that I loved as a child. No-one knows what happened to it and I feel a little pang whenever I see the photo. Also my sight is not as good as it once was. It's the feel of an object more often than not.
I don't think I'm a hoarder as such but I have a lot of stuff in a tiny house. Every shelf is filled, every wall hung with pictures and framed photographs. The floor's not cluttered though unless small children are visiting. I have a very good toybox!
I have one very overfilled boxroom (really a large windowless walk-in cupboard 12 by 8 feet), and good cupboard space genrally! The boxroom is full of useful stuff, tools, all my art & craft stuff, things of my ACs' they they have no room for (only the rich have spacious living quarters in these parts)., spare duvets for guests etc. It's neatly stacked and labelled. I can assemble an ikea storage box with my eyes closed!

Stansgran Sun 27-Oct-19 17:59:56

I am a hoarder sad to say ,much of it because I sew. I'm trying very hard to wear "good"clothes and jewellery rather than wait for the special occasion which never comes. I feel the cold so 18polo neck sweaters are justified, aren't they? But the boxes and boxes of materials oh dear me. I make quilts and give them away but I don't think I will live long enough to use even half of the material. I get a very sore back sitting too long at the machine.
To my horror the specialist shoe shop I use is closing down and I now have six pares of unworn shoes as well as the ones.
I try to clear out a bag of superfluous stuff every month but I'm one of the post war generation who was brought up that it might come in use. There is no hope for me.

morethan2 Sun 27-Oct-19 19:08:21

My sister in law lives in a three bedroom house but can only get in one bedroom, you can barely open the other two doors because of the stuff. At every turn in the rest of the house your bumping into something. She had two sheds in the garden full to the brim. She is paying a good deal of money to have an ugly green storage container in the front garden, it’s a terrible eyesore her neighbours hate it but love her so don’t report it. She’s a nightmare to shop with, buying tons of stuff she doesn’t need. I was shopping with her recently and she couldn’t make up her mind about the colour of a coat so bought both. She stayed with me recently and made me miserable with none stop shopping and sulking if I had to stop through exhaustion. Over 40 years I’ve done my best to help, advise or support but to no avail. It’s getting worse. Now that’s the extreme hoarding and she’s miserable. She’s had so much counselling and nothing helps.

lovebeigecardigans1955 Sun 27-Oct-19 19:19:05

I'm a bit of a hoarder but not, I hope, with a capital H. I sew and therefore have bits and bobs hanging about in the spare room. They're holding hands with the paperwork.
I have too many cups and saucers but I like them - that's why I bought them. I suppose I just like to have nice things around me. I don't think I've taken it to extremes - yet.

Urmstongran Sun 27-Oct-19 19:25:50

newnanny afternoon tea is a real trend at present. You might think of donating your beautiful tea-sets to an independent cafe who I’m sure would be delighted to use them. Instead of having them in storage, just think of the pleasure it would give other people actually using them!

jeanie99 Sun 27-Oct-19 19:31:01

I believe hoarding is when it takes over your life.
Not being able to move around your home, total disarray to the extreme.
Not unable to throw anything away, keeping years of newspapers or whatever etc.
Filling every corner of your home until it is no longer a home to live in.
Keeping things that are important to you like photo albums, cards, mementos from your life which are stored in boxes is not hoarding.
I have all my cards from my wedding and cards the children made as they were growing up, these things are precious to us.
As far as clothes are concerned if I haven't worn anything for a couple of years I take to the charity shops.