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So, I spent the day helping a friend clean out her Aunt's house, the Aunt was hoarder.

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texanwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 08:45 PM
Original message
So, I spent the day helping a friend clean out her Aunt's house, the Aunt was hoarder.
It was like watching the hoarders tv show except the Aunt is in a nursing home.

This woman can't come home (broken hip) until the place was cleaned up.

I am so tired, more to do tomorrow.

The place wasn't really dirty just a lot of junk.

The Aunt knows what is going on, and she wants to come home.

We must have filled up at least 100 bags of stuff.

We did find some treasures as well, old pictures and family stuff.

If it wasn't my friends Aunt I would never do this again.

No we didn't find any dead animals or mice.



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boston bean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 08:51 PM
Response to Original message
1. Well your last sentence is a plus, no?
Nice of you to help a good friend out.
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texanwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 08:54 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. The Aunt has a good cat that hunts.
Without the cat I am sure that mice would have had a good home.

I swore I would never do this again.

Tomorrow we will finish with the junk and try to clean up the place.

I think it will take another weekend.
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boston bean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 08:59 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. That must be a real hard thing to do.
I watch the tv shows and to tell you the truth i get a bit creeped out.

Especially the ones who have younger kids, and they lose them, and still can't clean out the house.
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texanwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:06 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. I don't understand that.
The poor kids.
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freshwest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 08:57 PM
Response to Original message
3. Good for you for adding some quality to her life and allowing her to move forward. All that stuff...
Carries the energies and memories of things she doesn't need to have on her mind or having to take care of. Take it easy. Well done.
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texanwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:01 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. I came home and took a nice hot bath.
Edited on Sat Dec-10-11 09:05 PM by texanwitch
It is so strange to handle other people's things.

One room was clean up and the good stuff is there.

The place has to so clean for the Aunt to come home.

She has been rehab, and is good to go.

She fell in the junk, could have died.


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Tuesday Afternoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:01 PM
Response to Original message
5. My best friend is a hoarder. She lives 3 hours away. I went to visit her
Edited on Sat Dec-10-11 09:01 PM by Tuesday Afternoon
back in May and I was horrified. I bet there are dead critters in those piles. ew :o

No way I am going back. She can come visit me.
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texanwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:03 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. I know what you mean.
My sister is a hoarder.

I will not go to her place, afraid of what might be under the stuff.
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Tuesday Afternoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:07 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. I wish I could help her but, she thinks it is normal.
There are only 3 places to sit in the whole place. One on the sofa. One on the loveseat. and the stool at her computer. The hallway is narrow and still she has boxes lined down the side. The bathroom is downright scary. So much stuff strewn on the floor. I almost fell trying to manuever.

Plus, I saw back mold on the walls and doors.

I was sick for a week when I got home.
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texanwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:11 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. That is what my sister's place looks like.
She has a house that is so full she can't live there.

Two storage lockers that are full.

She lives in a apartment so full that the fire department is on her ass.

She needs to be on one of the hoarders tv show.
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Tuesday Afternoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:13 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. I know what you mean. I have honestly thought about contacting one of those
shows. She needs professional help.
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texanwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:22 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. I have contacted both hoarder shows.
My sister needs help.

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Tuesday Afternoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:26 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. really? Have you heard back? I would be interested in this process --
My friend needs help, too.

Her Refrigerator and Freezer are breeding grounds for biological warfare :o
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texanwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:31 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. It has only been two weeks so I am still waiting.
I am sure that they get lot of people contacting them.

I did take videos so that might help.

My sister will be homeless soon if she doesn't clean up her apartment.

She will have to go back to her house, and just live in her junk I guess.

I got a crew of people twice to clean up her house, she filled it up twice.

No more help from me.

She needs more help then I can give her.

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Tuesday Afternoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:34 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. My friend would not allow me to take pictures but, I snuck some anyway --
She will only allow me and two other people inside. No one else is allowed in. She meets people outside and immediately gets in the car.
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texanwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:38 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. My sister didn't know I was taking videos, I had to be careful.
I went over because she wanted to give me my birthday present.

I took videos of the apartment and the house.

I will not go back, afraid of getting sick.
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LoZoccolo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:12 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. I have a question.
I don't know any hoarders, but I've watched the show, and it seems like they always assume that the thing is due to them getting attached to things, but sometimes it just seems like they procrastinate, and other times it seems like the reason they are resistant to all these people coming in and throwing things out is because they don't get to look at each and every single thing and decide like they'd like to, so they put up a fight to stall the whole thing, but they don't seem like they'd actually be afraid of throwing things out in general. Do you get that impression with your friend?
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Tuesday Afternoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:15 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. I really don't know. It could be a combination of things.
Edited on Sat Dec-10-11 09:28 PM by Tuesday Afternoon
She has always been messy and a junk collector but, as years have gone by it has gotten worse. Last year she had a bad stroke and major surgery and since then things have just gotten way out of control.

She spends money on Junk and brags about what priceless treasures she bought.

on edit: She is kind of a control freak.

:shrug:
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texanwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:17 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. The Aunt was like that until she fell and broke her hip.
The family did try to help her but just like you said she just fought them.

The family just walked away.

My friend is the only family member who kept trying to help.

This is my third hoarders clean up, I am a expert now.
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hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 11:16 PM
Response to Reply #13
28. I'll answer that. Hoarding is a relative of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder...
... there's no sense to be made of it. It just is.

It's a bad one among my friends and family. The only person I talk about here is my grandma. She's dead, I don't have to protect her privacy. It was bad. Eventually she had to be removed from her house for her own safety. She fought the police and paramedics, kicking, screaming, biting. Awful.

Her hoarding was a constant trial in the assisted living place she ended up in. They required floors and counters be clear, so as a compromise (and to keep her somewhat calm) they allowed her to keep stuff in bags attached to her wheelchair.

I'd visit and wheel her out for fresh air and she was eighty pounds of skin and bones surrounded by a hundred pounds of trash. She'd ask me to pick up things like pine cones from the sidewalk and she'd stash those away aboard her wheelchair among the napkins an plastic silverware and salt and pepper packets and crackers she'd collected in the dining hall...

No sense to it all.

It's similar to my depression. There's no reason for me to be "depressed" no circumstances to make me that way. It just is. So I take meds and the depression goes away.

Unfortunately hoarding isn't so easily treated.
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texanwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 11:22 PM
Response to Reply #28
29. Yep.
My sister needs more help then I can give.

She has to hit bottom or just live with her junk.

She lost her husband and two kids to the junk.

I keep my distance which is a shame.

She is my only sister but I can't deal with her clutter anymore.
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nadine_mn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-11-11 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #13
32. I have worked with a couple of hoarders (when I worked with elder abuse victims)
There are 2 main things I have learned - 1) control - they feel a loss of control in their lives and the only thing they can control is their stuff. This is why cleaning out a place without them there (although I completely understand why it would be done in the OP's Aunt's situation) has such disastrous effects - it truly robs them of feeling any control. I worked with a client who had a guardianship slapped on her (long story, but completely unnecessary and a huge violation of her rights) and they tossed everything in her house - they were only supposed to throw out "garbage". She went on a panic and started going to all the thrift stores (where they donated some of her stuff) trying to get it all back. Of course this was used as evidence as why she needed a guardianship.

2) They are terrified of throwing anything out. Its the whole "I may need that someday" taken to the extreme. So many hoarders are wonderfully creative and resourceful people - they see a purpose in everything. One hoarder saved food containers to wash out and reuse - even though her water had been shut off. Another man I worked with was terrified of tossing out any piece of paper because it may be important... it meant that all his truly important papers were lost under piles of crap.


This is why it takes intensive therapy to work with a hoarder and why I hate the shows that try to do it in 3 days. They have to re-program their thought process in a way.
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applegrove Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:06 PM
Response to Original message
9. You're a good pal. And a good egg.
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texanwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:08 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. Getting to old for this.
My friend always helps me out so I don't mind.

A lot of stuff will go to Goodwill, we only threw away the crap.

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alphafemale Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:49 PM
Response to Original message
22. A friend of my mothers was a Cat Collector
She was a smart, fantastic person but if you stepped into her house it would take your breath away.

She'd actually ceiling in her small back yard from the fence to the roof of her house with chicken wire.

Ferel cats squalling and walking upside down on chicken wire is just about one of the creepiest things I've seen in my life.

She was an intelligent,kind person.

When she died, it was an event broadcast on all the local TV stations.

To them...She was just a weird cat lady.

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texanwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:59 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. How creepy.
Sounds like a Stephen King book.

Bless her heart, she meant well.
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alphafemale Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-11-11 05:36 AM
Response to Reply #24
30. As I remember, they just tented the place and piped some auto exhaust into it.
They might have taken a few cats out as adoptable, but a rescue on the scale they do on those shows on Animal Planet was unheard of back then.
That action was perhaps a kindness. as they never had to go through the stress and drama of the round up, chase and pole noose. And then small cage, hands with thick rubber clothes and death syringe.
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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:58 PM
Response to Original message
23. God I hate "stuff"
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texanwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 10:01 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. Stuff is the right word.
Edited on Sat Dec-10-11 10:02 PM by texanwitch
Hoarders collect all kinds of stuff.

I can be a little messy but damn I will clean up before I go to bed.
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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 10:09 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. Correct.
The possessions have no meaning or regular use. They sit and sit and sit and never get a second look, until it's threatened with disposal, and then it's hey don't get rid of my stuff, I might need that one day.

Having grown up with the annual ritual of hauling all the "stuff" out of the garage to be cleaned, re-sorted, and re-interred. I aim to never have more possessions than what I can fit in a few pickup beds worth of moving trips. Furniture, books, media, clothing, dishes, decoration, electronics...no more than that. :)
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texanwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 10:17 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. That is my sister.
She buys all this stuff for crafts and never uses it.

The stuff in her houe has to be 5 ft. tall in spaces.

I tried to figure out what she has but didn't want to get to close.

I am with you on a yearly clear out and keeping personal stuff limited.

If something goes into a box you will never use it again, it will be forgotten.

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greiner3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-11-11 08:13 AM
Response to Original message
31. "Collecting OCD" IS a terrible thing.
I'm a "counter."

I guess the worst is the "washer." I've known a few. One sticks in my mind; female, teen who needed to be supervised EVERY time she went to the bathroom. It was common to wash her hands so many times she had to be taken to the emergency room because she had washed so much skin off of her hands she required them bandaged for weeks afterward.

Think of the movie with Jack Nicholson, 'As Good as it Gets.' He had the phobia, albeit a mild form. His shtick was to use a fresh bar of soap every time he entered the bathroom. The woman I cite had a ritual also although hers required her to count the number of times she washer her hands. That number can be 10 or in the hundreds. She was not a 'cutter' nor a masochist, just mentally ill.
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greiner3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-11-11 01:11 PM
Response to Original message
33. "Collecting OCD" IS a terrible thing.
I'm a "counter."

I guess the worst is the "washer." I've known a few. One sticks in my mind; female, teen who needed to be supervised EVERY time she went to the bathroom. It was common to wash her hands so many times she had to be taken to the emergency room because she had washed so much skin off of her hands she required them bandaged for weeks afterward.

Think of the movie with Jack Nicholson, 'As Good as it Gets.' He had the phobia, albeit a mild form. His shtik was to use a fresh bar of soap every time he entered the bathroom. The woman I cite had a ritual also although hers required her to count the number of times she washer her hands. That number can be 10 or in the hundreds. She was not a 'cutter' nor a masochist, just mentally ill.
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