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· pitiful loser
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Packrat? Hoarding? You or in your family?

Are you, or is someone in your family, a packrat/hoarder? This usually includes paper (common - newspapers, magazines, other periodicals, books, mail (junk/cards/notes/bills), etc), clothing (old and new), food, bags, knick-knacks, broken things, craft/sewing/yarn stuff, etc. Extreme forms may involve large numbers of animals, dangerous things, and human waste. Are there huge piles of things and small trails running through them, do they (or you) need to move stuff to allow others to sit or to sleep, or even avoid letting other people see the home?

My family tree has at least seven known people that have/had this. It is apparently some kind of anxiety disorder...

My uncle apparently had both SAD and this...
 

· Too School for Cool
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My mother and grandmother have hoarding problems.

I never really noticed it until my grandma moved from a big house to a small apartment. You have to turn sideways to walk in certain places and the showers have piles of papers and plants in them. At my mom's house, you have to move piles of papers to find a seat on the couch. There is an entire floor of her house that is unusuable and basically a giant jam-packed storage compartment.

I am the complete opposite and deal with stress by throwing things out. I cannot stand clutter and if I can't find room for something in a drawer or in somewhere hidden from view, it gets chucked.
 

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My mom is a packrat. All of her crap is in the sunporch and in her bedroom. Although the newspapers get collected in the living room for months at a time. She never throws stuff away so whenever my grandma goes there 2x a year then she cleans house. My brother tries too.
 

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Yes, packrat is I. My SA got really bad when I went away to college where I was the poor kid and everybody was from rich families. Ergo I got crushed by the kids who needed someone to screw with. Constantly crapped on because I didn't have enough stuff or what I had wasn't good enough. I have a hard time throwing stuff out now as I'm irrationally trying to compensate. I don't even sleep in my bedroom because my bed is full of the boxes for my guitars and amps. I clean up every few months but it starts all over again. Yeah, I'm really messed up.
 

· SAS Member
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I am the complete opposite and deal with stress by throwing things out. I cannot stand clutter and if I can't find room for something in a drawer or in somewhere hidden from view, it gets chucked.
I'm the same way. I'm moving in two days and i'll be mad if i have more than 5 or 6 boxes of stuff(not counting table, chairs, a few desks and my bed).
 

· Registered
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My Mom is a hoarder, it can get pretty bad, sometimes there are whole rooms of the house that are unusable because of the mess. When it gets that bad I wait until she goes somewhere and then I load up my truck with the accumulated junk and take it to the dump.

I think I have a little bit of the hoarding gene but since I see how horrible it can be I fight it as best i can, I used to have weird collections of things, like those little umbrellas you get in drinks at restaurants and things, or a big bottle collection. I used to have a room with a bunch of shelves along the walls and I would save the boxes from all of the computer games that i had bought and I'd put them on my shelves, my room looked like a video game store. But I've since thrown all of that stuff out and only keep the things i need.
 

· making awesome awesomer
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Wow that is a lot of people in your family that hoard. Yes i clean for a hoarder from 2 to 3 days a week. She keeps everything such as reciepts, papers, pictures from magazines, you name it she has saved it. I think it is her way of comforting herself. She uses materials to feel better. Everyone uses something to comfort themself with such as internet, tv, food, sex, exercise, etc.These things are fine in moderation but the problem comes in when you overuse your comfort strategy. I think that the overusing would come in when you have that good feeling and you dont want to give it up. So you will do anything to get that feeling back again.
 

· nardil user since 2006
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339 Posts
i never throw out/donate any of my textbooks. i spent so much money on them, that it would be wrong doing that. its nicely sitting on the top shelf in my closet, so it doesn't get in the way.

another thing i don't throw out is all my university notes, and some of my high school notes. its all fit inside my printer cabinet inside my desk so that doesn't get in the way either. nostalgic reasons, im not sure. thats about it really.
 

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Yeah I do this. Although it's nice to be able to pull something out from 20-30 years ago. If I had an airplane hangar in the backyard or lived in a empty grocery store it'd be easier.

I partly do it because I was punished growing up by having things I care about thrown away.
A grandmother 'collected' things too. Might have gotten the gene as well idk.

I'm in the process of building a really big shed out back to empty half the house. So I can do some repairs to the house & be able to have company & move forward with my life. I'll probably get rid of half what I put in the shed too.

It's a subconscious way for myself I think to never approach anyone as well.
Since I'd want to have them over developing friendly relationships but as long as I'm like this I'd never feel comfortable enough to do that.

It makes it hard working on & repairing this 60 yo house since I'm to embarassed to have contractors over to work on it.(And I'm afraid of being ripped off)

I had 7 cats once upon a time about a decade ago. I narrowed it down to 2, 8 years ago & they keep me busy enough. They're the only love or family I have.

I've slept on the couch the last 12 years. Have a plan to get things straightened out the next 6 months to yr to at least a reasonably presentable state. Stuff costs to much to give away or throw away just to eventually want back or replace.

Ever seen the show Clean House?
It's inspirational & comforting knowing theres many others out there with same problem. I'd be to nervous/embarrased to be on the show tho or do a yard sale.

When it was really bad I'd hurt my back sometimes twisting to walk thru paths or occasionally slipping on something. But its still home sweet home. ha ha
 

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I've never fully considered the idea of hoarding. Both of my grandfather's probably had this problem. One collected old antiques or mechanical equipment outside all over the yard and garage. The other collected cans of food, newspapers, magazines and alarm clocks.

My uncle also had this problem. The bedroom door could hardly be opened and he had his top bunk, closet and bedroom filled with porn & beer cans and boxes.

I'm not sure my problem has escalated to this extreme (well, esp. not the porn!). I do collect old birthday cards and holiday cards. I have a bookcase in my room that is ridiculously cramped with random junk.
 

· Just me.
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I'm the same way. I'm moving in two days and i'll be mad if i have more than 5 or 6 boxes of stuff(not counting table, chairs, a few desks and my bed).
Same here. Clutter drives me crazy. I love the feeling of living in a clean, open space, free of clutter.

On the flip side, my grandmother was a hoarder like no other. She saved everything. Thousands of niknaks, clothes (all shapes and sizes), shoes (mens, women's childrens), make-up, canned food (some greater than 30 years old!), silverware, boxes and boxes of silverware, newspapers, candy, baskets, bicycles and bicycle parts, tortoises (she has more than 20 as pets at any one time), rocks (yes, rocks), quilts, broken electronics, statues, figurines, board games, bed pans, rosaries, pocket knives, candles, children's toys, tree branches, guns (most broken/unusable), scraps of paper, taxodermy pets, plastic bags, dolls, (she was a dollmaker and had thousands of dolls, doll clothes, and doll molds) etc., etc., etc.

By the time we moved her out, in her mid 80s, she couldn't open the doors in any of the 4 bedrooms in home due to clutter. Hallways were impassable and fleas from her many, many cats, formed a thin layer of moving black specks on her carpets, sofas, and bedding. Aged dry goods resulted in rodent infestations and the piles and piles of belongings became a serious earthquake and fire hazard. Sadly, due to her hoarding, we had to move her out of her own home. Moving her out was the only way to get the house cleaned because she would not allow us to throw anything away while she was there.

It broke her heart - and ours to clean out that home. Her mind deteriorated, and she died shortly after.

One of my greatest fears is that I'll inherit the hoarding gene. I overcompensate by throwing away everything. I move alot and am proud when I can fit everything I own into a one or two suitcases.
 

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My soon to be mother in law has boxes stacked up to the ceiling in every room of her house. My fiance's brother will pick up stuff off the street and keep it (once he came home with a bowling ball he found on the side of the road) He will keep everything.
 

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My mother is a hoarder and she is very resistant to any effort by anyone to try to get things under control. I think my dad has given up and moved to his garage (and his happy place). I have lots of experience with eating on my lap because the table is piled up with stuff. Now that my parents are getting older I am very concerned about their health and well being.
 

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Fear of letting go of things - like scrapbooking life. I have it to some extent. I really need to throw out some stuff.
 

· Memorial Profile
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My name is Karl and I'm a packrat. I can look around me and see at piles of papers and boxes. I would have to clear a path if I wanted to open the closet in my bedroom. Things often get lost in my mess. It once took me a full year to locate an annuity policy that I had misplaced. Turned out to be in one of my many boxes.

When my brother died at age 45 I finally saw his place for the first time in nearly a decade. Any psychiatrist who saw it could have instantly have diagnosed OCD. We found over $100 in change. Not in a jar, but randomly scattered all about the place in every room on every surface including floors and hidden under massive piles of paper and everything else. It looked like the place had been bombed with exploding piggy banks. The spare bedroom was the worst, I had to walk on bads of junk as it was literally impossible to even find the floor. His bathtub was used a storage facility filled with all manner of junk. He never was diagnosed nor even sought treatment, though it's blatantly obvious he had OCD when he had nearly a decade of junk mailed piled waist high. When the place was finally cleaned out the junk took up the entire area between street & sidewalk and extended for the full length of the property.

My 56-year-old brother has been on meds for OCD for the last decade and has done therapy as well, even with therapists coming to his home. This is a man who, last I saw, was still collecting prescription anti-fungal creme for jock itch. He was up to about 80 or so unused tubes, but kept filling the script as if 70 wasn't yet enough!? Just one of this many collections that are far too numerous to list.

It seems very clear to me that there is a genetic component to this. I couldn't have learned OCD from him since he was already 20 and gone to college when I was born.
 

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I suppose I hoard all of my university notes and books, plus keep a whole host of cut-out articles from the newspaper. The thing is they are all stored somewhere out of the way, like under my bed or in the cupboard.

My room was in a state of controlled mess until recently, though. I was keeping little knick-knacks here and there and it piled up in drawers and the like. When I changed by drawer over, that was the time where I really started cleaning out my room and threw a lot of junk out. I am still in the process of finding stuff to throw out once in a while, but currently it is mainly finding things I really don't have any use of anymore and has re-sale value, so I'm using eBay for that.
 
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