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Hoarding Help Message Boards : How to Help a Hoarder : Family strategy
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Family strategy

My Black Hole
Posted: 24 September 2012 - 10:07 AM
I too had to set ground rules when the second of my two daughters, an extreme hoarder, had to move home with her toddler.
None of her stuff can be out of her room at the end of the day or I have carte blanche to ditch, hide, keep or not let her have back for some period of time.
(My sister had "silent butler" time with her kids every evening when they were little- they had to straighten and organize their toys, if they left stuff out, she placed in a basket to be returned to them when they were acting appropriately re: mess)
I am no hoarding expert, God knows I have my own issues, but I am a geriatric nurse practitioner... your mom is at extreme risk for injury or illness from your brother's behavior.
Sounds like you need to set some ground rules for your brother's hoarding that does not include putting mom at risk.
Rachel Papworth
Posted: 03 September 2012 - 03:39 PM
I second what Tillie says. I help people all over the world declutter and create homes they love so I'm often approached by people asking how to deal with living with a hoarder. I tell them to work out with their housemate which zones of the house 'belong' to each of them. I blogged about it here http://mygreenandtidylife.co.uk/2011/08/stop-arguing-about-clutter/

Hope it helps.

Rachel x
Posted: 27 August 2012 - 05:03 PM
Hi Judy :)

I have lived with a hoarder for too many years now.

What I had to do was to make "No Clutter Zones" in my home.
Common areas are off limits to his stuff now. Livingroom, kitchen, bathroom, porches etc.
At first he was very hostile about this but I held my ground and immediately remove anything that he left in these areas.
I did not throw out any of his things while I was decluttering. Just bagged & boxed & labeled it as to the area I had removed it from and put it in his bedroom, the carport, garage or yard.

It took a while but he now accepts this arrangement and doesn't just drop his things any more in my "No Clutter Zones".

Maybe an arrangement like this would work for you too.

Good luck,
Tillie :)

Cory Chalmers
Posted: 27 August 2012 - 04:59 PM
Hi Judy,
I am very sorry to hear about the position you are in. I don't blame you at all for doing what you did when your brothers hoarding is affecting your mother. I think her safety is just as important as brothers mental stability, if not more! I don't know enough about your brother to give you a good plan yet, but I think the entire family needs to come together and figure out how to deal with this situation before it has a tragic ending. I always say to not throw things away behind the hoarders back as this only makes the hoarding worse, and they lose trust in you but with your mother living there, this situation must change. I can only imagine the answer is going to be "NO", but would he go to therapy, support group meetings or anything to work on his hoarding problem and the underlying issues? Does he have any underlying psychological disorders that have been diagnosed and if so is he on medications for them? You can always call me if you want to talk more, or reply to this thread and I will do what I can to help.

Cory Chalmers
1-800-HOARDERS ext. 111
Posted: 27 August 2012 - 01:49 PM
I am a social worker, and the sister of a hoarder. This was mostly contained to his bedroom until my father died 1 year ago. Now my brother has claimed the house. My involvement is because this is the home of my 84 year old mother who has become frail.
On her behalf, this hoarding behaviour is quite upsetting. We are a large family, so we are able to go home often and look after her and the situation.
I began wondering, on my way there recently, what happens to family members, and their needs, who live in these homes. Books I have read emphasize what family members need to understand. And truly I get that. At least I think I do.
But family member's lives are changed by this sort of illness. And it seems, in it's own way, that the hoarder holds other family members emotionally hostage. This is the case in my mother's home.
At this point, I have come up with only two " solutions". I know that they are not really solutions.
1) See it for what it is, and don't expect it to be different.
2) I know this is not advised, but ...I have come up with the strategy to remove objects and boxes that are not noticeable or obvious, leaving the illusion of " stuff". I tried this out, with my sister. When my brother was not in the house. we removed only two carloads. They were not mentioned or missed during the rest of our stay. I know it is ineffective to directly discuss any alternatives with my brother.

Why is it that family members are helpless to have their homes pretty much lost to them ? I know that the reaction of the hoarder is hostile. I'm not saying that it is advised to deal with the hoarder directly. And I know that there is a risk in removing things quietly, " covertly" as I put it. But the needs of family members seem to often lost in the discussion.
I would really like to hear your thoughts on this.
I came to this site looking for resources for a client. I would not be advising his family to do anything and am encouraging him to work with a professional.
Hoarding Help Message Boards : How to Help a Hoarder : Family strategy

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