Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It all started when...

My father thinks my mother started hoarding about 25 years ago. After struggling to make ends meet for a long time, they had given up and were moving to another state in hopes of finding work. He remembers her loading up the truck with absolute junk that she couldn't bear to part with. You never know when you might need that old rebar, right?

When I was very young, I remember her being not so great with the housework or tidying up, but the house wasn't filled to the brim. The collecting, for the most part, was limited to stuff that got stored in the garage. As I got older, the garage stuff started overflowing into the house. Then we moved again, my mom started working, my parents' marriage continued to deteriorate, and the stuff just kept coming in. About 10 years ago, my parents separated, my sister died in a car accident, my brother and I moved out, and the stuff started coming in faster.

Many hoarders begin hoarding after experiencing a trauma. My mother's hoarding had already begun when my sister died, but it definitely intensified after that. Hoarding also tends to worsen after the hoarder starts living alone, so I guess we're dealing with a double whammy here. Regardless of exactly why, my mother's hoarding just seems get worse with time. The fact that she won't allow me in the house anymore (plus the fact that her piles have now spilled out onto the front porch -- sorry, neighbors!) scares the bejeezus out of me. What on earth does the place look like inside at this point? Mostly, I try not to think about it too much. Occasionally, my brother and I talk about what we'll do when my mom is no longer able to live alone. Given that she's filled a 2200 square foot house, a two-car garage, three storage sheds, and sections of her back and front yards with junk, cleaning the place out is going to be somewhat less than awesome. (Personally, I lean toward burning the place to the ground, but I'm pretty sure the insurance company would frown on that sort of thing.)

1 comment:

  1. I'd have to agree that while never a GREAT housekeeper, my mother wasn't a hoarder when I was very young. We had surfaces and you could see the floor! Most of the stuff was kept in a garage and eventually started to pile in the house only after I was about 12 or so. It was its worst about a decade ago (when I was in my early 30s). She's over 80 now and seems to have slowed down. You can't see the floor, but the piles are only about one third to halfway up the walls, not all the way up.

    Still smells the same though. =^/