Hoarders/How Clean Is Your House

Archewell

Well-known member
I've just posted on the thread that asks which TV shows we would like to see repeated and I said that I'd like to see repeats of "How Clean Is Your House".

On this show, Kim Woodburn and Aggie Mackenzie have to clear up and clean up a range of hoarders' houses. Their method is to chuck all the clutter out without waiting for the hoarder to go through it all.

On the US show "Hoarders" however, psychologists and personal organisers take great pains to get the protagonists to agree to dispose of their hoard, no matter how long this takes. Quite often this means that the team leaves after a week in which nothing is accomplished. I have often wondered which approach is right, though.

I confess that I find Hoarders really frustrating. What difference does it make if trash/piles of old newpapers/rotting food are thrown out immediately, as opposed to thrown out a week later? I wouldn't like to sit watching a hoarder going through bags of junk which they haven't seen for years, knowing that they won't be able to throw any of it away.

Am I just being unfeeling? Or am I right in thinking that someone other than the hoarder should take responsibility and throw rubbish out?
 

Hotsoapywater

Well-known member
Interesting, Archewell.

My family home is full of stuff from three generations. But then we have massive space, it just never ceases to be removed.

But, hoarding is a problem when it becomes a health or fire hazard. I'm not keen on it being put down to mental health illness, always. My loft is full of stuff from when my children were little.

Like everything, there is a line that is crossed.
 

Turncoat1

Well-known member
No I’d say you’re right, I think it should just be thrown. The hoarder doesn’t even know what’s there, it’s only when they see it it becomes really important to them. What they can’t see they can’t miss.
 
OP
OP
Archewell

Archewell

Well-known member
No I’d say you’re right, I think it should just be thrown. The hoarder doesn’t even know what’s there, it’s only when they see it it becomes really important to them. What they can’t see they can’t miss.
That's definitely true. There is usually so much clutter and rubbish that the hoarder really cannot have any idea about what is in each bag.
 

wool

Well-known member
They should be lured out of the house with a trip to the seaside, then people can come in and get rid of the hoard.

I think hoarders are selfish because someone has to clear out their hoard when they die. It's also stressful if you have to live with the hoard. Their stuff takes up room in the house which means they get a greater share of the space available. This in itself is very selfish as well.
 

IdleWorm

Well-known member
I think the point is that the hoarding is the person’s attempt to retain control over their environment, and by extension their life. If you take that control away by binning all the stuff without consulting them, it just makes them worse. They’ll just build up the hoard again in no time, and never trust anyone to go near it again.
 

Eliza

Well-known member
The other programme was good, I don't know what it was called. There was a hoarder and a cleaning mad person and the cleaner went to the hoarders' house to help them. In turn the hoarder helped the cleaner become less uptight about cleaning.
 

SuzieDoYouCopy?

Well-known member
I think the point is that the hoarding is the person’s attempt to retain control over their environment, and by extension their life. If you take that control away by binning all the stuff without consulting them, it just makes them worse. They’ll just build up the hoard again in no time, and never trust anyone to go near it again.
I agree Idle, usually hoarding on that scale is a manifestation of psychological distress. If you sort the distress, you can sort the desire to hoard, and implement different coping strategies.
Although if I lived with a hoarder I’d probably take the Kim and Aggie approach for my own mental health!
 

DouceFrance

Well-known member
One of my neighbour is one of them. Another one of our neighbours and me spent a day clearing things out for him. We only managed to clear his sofa. I also used to go once a week to hoover and do a bit of tidying or cleaning, it was awful. He would get really annoyed with me if I even so much as moved something by mistake, and I’d leave the house feeling like I had lots of cats hair in my throat (he doesn’t have a cat) he has piles of used tissues next to his armchair, which he won’t throw away. His whole house is full of stuff, his fridges (!) are full of out of date, mouldy food, his freezers(!) shock full of food too, he has tins piled up on every surfaces, some are well out of date, some have leaked into the ones below and the floor, it’s rank! He goes shopping twice a week, Tesco and Lidl and buys the same things every week regardless of his needing what he buys or not. The house smells, he is having health issues because of it. Very serious ones. He doesn’t see his grand daughters because of it either. He ate bacon that was years out of date ( if I remember correctly the bacon from 2014, I used to help him in 2018 🤢) and the worse is I’m really not lying about that, it’s gross. I’ve tried really hard to let him do his own thing (obviously) but to coax him as opposed to force things out (he wanted my help). I managed to get a I’m things out of his house on the guise of donating it to charity shop and food banks (some went, some straight in the bin) but he doesn’t want to. It’s sad to see. I believe it started soon after his wife died unexpectedly, we also think he is on the spectrum due to some of his other behaviours, so I think all of this plays a role.
 

RomaniEuntDomus

Well-known member
I think when hoarding gets to the stage when it affects other people's quality of life, someone has to step in. You can't allow them to turn their house into a rubbish tip and ruin the fabric of the building, attracting rats and other vermin (most especially if they live in a flat or terraced house, where problems in one part of the building can spread very easily to others.

Unfortunately it's a difficult psychological problem to tackle, like substance abuse or extreme overeating, and the underlying issues tend to surface only when the coping mechanism is removed.
 

Moogle

Well-known member
I dont hoard, but I do have clutter, mostly shoved in a cupboard currently, or in boxes I need to move heavy furniture to get to which I cant do alone. I know for the most part what's in the boxes (books and games I need to go through, possibly some of the ex's crap), and the clutter in my built in cupboard is mostly boxes from pc parts that I kept in case I had to return.

However once shielding households are allowed others in, I'll be getting some help to move the furniture so I can go through the boxes, and get rid of the empty pc part packaging.
 

Hotsoapywater

Well-known member
One of my neighbour is one of them. Another one of our neighbours and me spent a day clearing things out for him. We only managed to clear his sofa. I also used to go once a week to hoover and do a bit of tidying or cleaning, it was awful. He would get really annoyed with me if I even so much as moved something by mistake, and I’d leave the house feeling like I had lots of cats hair in my throat (he doesn’t have a cat) he has piles of used tissues next to his armchair, which he won’t throw away. His whole house is full of stuff, his fridges (!) are full of out of date, mouldy food, his freezers(!) shock full of food too, he has tins piled up on every surfaces, some are well out of date, some have leaked into the ones below and the floor, it’s rank! He goes shopping twice a week, Tesco and Lidl and buys the same things every week regardless of his needing what he buys or not. The house smells, he is having health issues because of it. Very serious ones. He doesn’t see his grand daughters because of it either. He ate bacon that was years out of date ( if I remember correctly the bacon from 2014, I used to help him in 2018 🤢) and the worse is I’m really not lying about that, it’s gross. I’ve tried really hard to let him do his own thing (obviously) but to coax him as opposed to force things out (he wanted my help). I managed to get a I’m things out of his house on the guise of donating it to charity shop and food banks (some went, some straight in the bin) but he doesn’t want to. It’s sad to see. I believe it started soon after his wife died unexpectedly, we also think he is on the spectrum due to some of his other behaviours, so I think all of this plays a role.
That is an adult social care job right there, Douce. Way above neighbourly duties. My NDN is 90 and she is as clean as a pin. Sounds like there is grief in there. Poor love.
 

DouceFrance

Well-known member
That is an adult social care job right there, Douce. Way above neighbourly duties. My NDN is 90 and she is as clean as a pin. Sounds like there is grief in there. Poor love.
I know, I’ve tried to get him on it, he has a step son who comes to visit regularly enough, but I don’t know him to speak to him so have approached other neighbours who know him to try and sort things out... there isn’t much more I can do, he is not enough of a problem for them to take any as action I think. I don’t know 😕
 
OP
OP
Archewell

Archewell

Well-known member
Many years ago, before I understood hoarding, one of my sisters had a huge problem with it.

Another sister and I went and hired a skip, then we started to get rid of the junk.

My sister (the one who was a hoarder) had been told by her DC's head teacher that the DC might be taken into care because of the state of the house (and the fact that my sister always sent them to school in ragged, smelly clothes).

Anyway - other sister and I did our best and chucked out a mountain of stuff. The bath was piled high with old, dirty clothes. The children were not being bathed as my sister was using the bath as a storage area for old clothes.

She was quite unable to see that her actions were highly unusual and amounted to neglect (of her DC).

When we'd chucked out as much as we could, my sister went out to the skip under cover of darkness to retrieve her possessions.

Hoarding is a nightmare.

Years later, they moved, and eventually added an extension to their house.

It was filled with clutter and rubbish within weeks.
 

CrapBag

Well-known member
The other programme was good, I don't know what it was called. There was a hoarder and a cleaning mad person and the cleaner went to the hoarders' house to help them. In turn the hoarder helped the cleaner become less uptight about cleaning.
Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners. I liked that one too. Although I could not have gone and cleaned those filthy pits that they cleaned. They were utterly vile
 

WhichWasNice

Well-known member
There’s varying degrees of it too. My in-laws have a huge house. The public areas, kitchen, living room, dining room are all lovely. But the bedrooms are all absolutely full of junk, the loft is full as well as the garage. Any childhood games, they’ve still got from DHs childhood.

They’ve got a load of camping equipment from when they used to go as a young family. I suggested to them they’re not likely to go camping now, given there’s just the 2 of them, they’re in their 60s and they’ve not been camping in about 25 years. ‘Well, we might’ was the response.

They’re as bad as each other too. They’ve hired a skip in the past and as fast as one is filling it, the other is going through it and bringing stuff back in.
 

Imjustalawnmower

Well-known member
I think when hoarding gets to the stage when it affects other people's quality of life, someone has to step in. You can't allow them to turn their house into a rubbish tip and ruin the fabric of the building, attracting rats and other vermin (most especially if they live in a flat or terraced house, where problems in one part of the building can spread very easily to others.

Unfortunately it's a difficult psychological problem to tackle, like substance abuse or extreme overeating, and the underlying issues tend to surface only when the coping mechanism is removed.
This, exactly. I know two people who are literally causing huge distress and terrible problems for the people living next door to them. You can't sell your house because of the state of the neighbour's house, you can't have children round because of the rats running round, your terraced house stinks because of the rubbish. One I know hoards ashes from the fire and empty Clover boxes. Rat tunnels run through the accumulated newspapers and in a kitchen/diner and open sitting room there is one pathway to a single space on the three seater sofa. At what point do an individual's rights cease to be the overriding factor and the mental, physical and hygiene issues of neighbours take centre stage?
 

Camille Bordey

Well-known member
My MIL is what I would call a 'mild' hoarder, if there is such a thing. Her house isn't dirty or anything, but at the same time there's way too much 'stuff' everywhere.

She's particularly bad with food. She buys multiples of everything despite the fact that she lives on her own (my FIL passed away a couple of years ago) There's a room downstairs in her house that used to be a bedroom years ago and she has such much stuff piled in there. Last year she got wall to wall cupboards put in and in no time, they were jammed packed with food. My husband went through them just after Christmas and the amount of out of date food in there was shocking.

Her garage is crammed to capacity with non food items. Mostly in tens or more. Multiple bottles of fabric conditioner, dishwasher tablets, sprays and other cleaning products etc.
She has a fridge freezer in the house, the drawers of which are impossible to open most of the time because they're jammed solid with frozen food. She has a chest freezer in her garage and asked me one day if I'd bring in a loaf of bread from the freezer. When I went out there were THIRTEEN loaves in there. All for one person.
Her latest thing is freezing cartons of milk.
She lives a ten minute walk from Tesco and at the moment my husband is doing her shopping for her.

The (converted) attic is jammed to the rafters with toilet roll and kitchen towel (nothing to do with the pandemic, it's always like that) She gets her nephew to buy them for her when he goes to the cash and carry.

I worry that my husband is inheriting a bit of a hoarding tendency at times. He's always reluctant to throw out things like boxes and mail. The garden shed has an awful of stuff in there too, and we have had rows over the spare room wardrobes which are full of clothes that he hasn't worn in years, but refuses to bin and his notes from uni!

To be honest, if I had my way I'd get a skip and junk the spare rooms and the shed but he just won't :mad:
 

Countryfile123

Well-known member
My dm is a hoarder. It’s not that she buys multiple stuff, more that she doesn’t throw things away. Consequently, piles of newspapers build up. She does go through stuff, and takes stuff to charity shop, but new junk replaces old. Fortunately, she’s not to the level of some of the tv programme hoarders, and her house is cleaned and hoovered.

i think it has affected her mental state though, and prevented her having a better quality of life. Making decisions is overwhelming for her.

Unfortunately, I can see some traits in me, and Brexit released the inner hoarder in me when I stocked up on food during 2019. However, i think, because I’m aware of dm, I’m careful how I shop etc.
 
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