Living with a hoarder

General Discussion Living with a hoarder

  • This topic has 13 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 7 months ago by Oddsocks.
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    Valerie urry

    Anyone on here can’t cope anymore living with a hoarder I am new member ?


    Have a look at the ‘family and friends’ tab on the horizontal menu above? It was written by a person whose mother is a hoarder and has good advice on the 2 situations- people who dont want to do any decluttering or those that will.

    If they wont declutter, you have the huge decision if you want to carry on living with them.

    (I will just say that its unlkely that you can get a family therapy session at home. There might be the option for the hoarder of counselling, often done by CBT. May be a long wait. But they need to be willing)

    Understandably, although this is aimed at people who hoard, there are regularly people who are friends and family who post.Have a browse for similar messages.

    I am not in any way being at all dismissive of your query, its just that the info you need may be on here already.


    Hi, not sure if you are still logging in here. I have not been on here for a while. I’m in a similar boat that is, living with a hoarder, well in fact more than one and it is impacting my health & wellbeing although it is my home I’m in a difficult situation all round with care responsibilities too. I wish I could walk away but love my family & there are practical reasons I cannot just do this. Perhaps you have the same or maybe you are planning to make a change.

    I hope you are finding some support or answers now. I have joined some groups on facebook for family and friends of hoarders & living with clutter. Might not provide all the answers as there are not always any, at least not ones that are easy, but it gives a place to vent how we feel with others who are going through similar scenarios.

    Also read up on everything you can if possible, as sometimes you may find something that helps – I went on amazon to search for books on hoarding & there are lots – you can read the reviews to see if they might be what you are looking for. They may have a cost, though you can get bargains – I often buy the used copies and they have all been new in fact, just seconds or slight damage but not affecting reading. Or there are kindle versions which can work out very low in price.

    You could speak to your health professional in case they can offer any emotional or practical support – the pandemic means many services are limited so might not be much on offer but worth an ask. If your hoarder won’t accept help, there is not much they can do for them until they do, but you need emotional support & advice which is often forgotten as the focus is always on the hoarder & meeting their needs rather than ours as their family.

    Anyway, wishing you all the luck in the world, we do need it. Kind regards, stay strong.


    freesia wrote:

    If your hoarder won’t accept help, there is not much they can do for them until they do, but you need emotional support & advice which is often forgotten as the focus is always on the hoarder & meeting their needs rather than ours as their family.

    You are right that people living with a hoarder are under a lot of stress. It may be just them if the hoarder doesnt see it as a problem! Its difficult as family in lots of diseases are not included – focus is often soley on the person with the diagnosis. That has got a bit better, but it was pretty dire before!

    If you dont mind the hassle, could you please post which particular facebook groups you have found for people who are friends/family of people who hoard? Apart from sharing information, having somewhere you can vent your frustration sounds great!

    There are pages on the MIND website about hoarding” class=”bbcode_url”> It has a section for family and friends.

    I have some other links on my page” class=”bbcode_url”> – scroll down to friends and family. I dont have professional expertise -I just put together some useful info.


    I think I need to hear I’m not the only one living with a hoarder – the impact it has on your every day life is wearing to say the least – the one thing I crave is my own space that’s uncluttered, a retreat where I can add, change  and take away things as I please, somewhere where I’m not worried about my grandchildren touching things.  I’m a tidy person and get no greater satisfaction when I can stand back and admire my work, I’m never happier than when I’ve turned a room upside down and put it back together again.  I would love to join a group of people who are going through the same issues I am – I’m not onFB cause too much trouble between us so any advice where I can do this would be good.


    You are very much not alone in living with a hoarder! This site is written by a family member (have a look at the friends and family tab if you havent already?) It must be awful!

    Maybe easier said than done, but can you negotiate to have a room that is only yours- the hoarder mustnt put anything in there?  You could then clean everything. It there is enough space it can be somewhere you and your grandchildren can spend time together, with it being OK for them to touch things?

    Couple of things you can do which dont involve removing anything

    Will the hoarder let you clean things? Explaining that you arent going to remove anything? So there is more space where your grandchildren can touch things safely? Can you spend time outdoors with them? Only way we are allowed to at the moment (if you are in the UK) anyway. In warmer weather.

    You are good at organising. Will they let you do some of that? Might be possible to make it take up less space. Could also improve hygiene if you have things in storage boxes? I use plastic ones that will stack.

    Unfortunately, I dont know of a group for relatives of hoarders. I dont know if it will help but if you browse previous posts you will find lots from friends/family.

    Wish there was something I could say to make it easier!




    I have done everything you suggest, I have asked for a room I can retreat to, I have bought boxes/crates but they become part of the problem, I do take my grandchildren out (not since lockdown), I want them to stay over but there is no space, I spend my life trying to think of ways out of this situation, my requests are not unreasonable but my husband can’t bring himself to just start.


    Hi, new here.
    I believe that my adult son (30) who lives with me has a hoarding problem, which has now reached crisis point. He basically lives in his room which is a small child’s box room in a small two-bed semi-detached house (he is employed fulltime but still cannot afford to live on his own). He has always been untidy and his clothes clutter our shared bathroom much to my annoyance (I am disabled and his clothes scattered on the floor often make the bathroom inaccessible for me). This is very annoying and inconsiderate of him but not especially indicative of him having a problem.


    He does not allow me into his room, but recently his bedroom door actually split in half, due to the pressure of all the detritus piled up against it inside his room. I was horrified to discover that his room is piled ceiling-high with empty bottles, cans, takeaway cartons, pizza boxes, cereal boxes etc – some still containing rotting food and clotted liquids. His bed is also piled high with these things and I don’t know where or how he sleeps in there.

    As I am not very mobile I had no idea things had reached this state. We have a very fractious relationship now and essentially we live separate lives under the same roof and barely interact. He is a grown man however and there is little I seem able to do.  On top of all this, we live in a rented property and as the tenant I will be held responsible for the damage and condition of his room and as I am subsisting on disability benefits as it is, I am now very worried indeed.

    I am totally alone in dealing with this as his mother who he lived with previously died ten years ago. He did live with his half-sister for a few months after that but she eventually asked him to leave and so he came to me.

    Any advice?




    The silence is deafening, I honestly don’t know what to say – living with a hoarder who is getting worse is hard – I would think the best advice would be from someone is a hoarder who would know what they would want to hear.  I accept it’s an illness but it’s hard when they will not accept any advice or help from family members who just want the best for them and feel like the pile of stuff in the corner left unused and unloved is more important than them. I’m always on here looking to see if I can find that answer I’m looking for – unfortunately I haven’t but I won’t stop looking!


    Just listened to a VERY moving interview with Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of “Eat, Pray, Love.”

    She shared about losing her partner Raya, who had a long history of hard-core drug use. When Raya was diagnosed with cancer, Raya pleaded with the doctor not to put her on opioids. But eventually, she needed them for the unbearable pain. And she quickly relapsed into heavy drug use.

    How Elizabeth Gilbert managed this incredibly difficult & painful situation is something I think BOTH those with hoarding issues and loved ones can learn from. Gilbert had to draw a line in order to take care of herself. But she didn’t close her heart to Raya.

    I don’t have time to describe more, but I strongly encourage you to listen to the interview if you can. It’s through Sounds True’s Radical Compassion Challenge, which is free for a very limited time. It’s Day 4: “Elizabeth Gilbert – A Merciful, Loving Presence”

    ARRRRGH. This site is NOT letting me submit my post with the link!!! :wacko:  Sorry, but you’ll have to google “Sounds True Radical Compassion Challenge” and sign up for yourself.

    The event runs through May 5, 2021 — but I don’t know that all the interviews remain accessible for free until May 5th. Sometimes these events leave ALL the interviews available for free during the span of the event. But sometimes they only make each interview accessible for free for a couple days after release. This interview was released April 29, 2021.

    Have to run. But I hope this helps. There is so much pain for both those who hoard and their loved ones who suffer collateral damage :cry:


    Sorry- having problems. This is a reply particularly for wifeofahoader

    Just checking- is the problem that he would like to deal with the hoard, but cant get himself started? That’s  a different situation. And lots of hoarders find starting really hard! I find it can be exhausting, but need todo it anyway. There is an unhelpful logic about it- why should you make yourself upset if you dont have to?

    There is lots information on the self help/tips option on this site, written by an expert.

    It includes things like setting small goals. Identifying an area will work on (doesnt have to be somewhere big), then doing that every day.

    Sympathies as always!

    • This reply was modified 7 months ago by Oddsocks.

    That is exactly the issue, I try and set small goals , so as not to overwhelm him, which is what the psychologist did when he saw one and set us goals but nothing ever got done, now there is a mountain to climb not a hill and it is totally overwhelming even to me.  My issue is that I get things done straight away and to ignore what needs doing is totally alien to me, I can’t leave till tomorrow what I can do today.  I send lots of advice and tips to him but to be honest I’m u sure if it gets read.  We agree to do stuff but when the time comes to do it there is always an excuse why it can’t be done – I try to be patient but sometimes my patience runs out and I look around and worry about what I see, there are times when I get up in the middle of the night wondering how this problem can get resolved.  My worry is we are in our 60’s now and time is not on our side, I don’t want to die never having had the pleasure of living in a nice home and I don’t want to left resentful of being left with piles of ‘stuff’ most of it useless to me and having to sort it out.


    To Waps

    Not in anyway being unhelpful, but do have a look at the earlier posts in this thread as lots of relevant info (including having a look at friends/family on the menu at the top).

    Its so sad that your relationship has been broken.

    I dont know if it will help, but it might be worth him knowing:

    1.You might be evicted if the landlord gets to see what his room is like?  You actually have an issue about that already- that door will need fixed

    2. Rotten food is a real danger to health, such as food poisoning. It can also attract mice and rats which makes it worse. They can also do things like gnaw on electical flexes and cause fires.

    For those reasons, maybe ask if he can remove those items?  You are not saying that he has to remove more, although of course that would be ideal

    3 The state of the bathroom is important beyond tidiness.Its a basic, important fact that you need to be able to access the bath/shower, toilet and sink? How having clothes on the floor is actually a danger to you? Its not normal to have that amount of stuff in a bathroom.

    He may just refuse to acknowledge that these are enough to get him something actually doing some tidying

    You dont mention the kitchen- is there clutter that makes it difficult for you to cook/wash up? That again is a fundamental requirement for hygiene. If there is anything at all flammable, it needs to be well away from the cooker too. That’s in case it causes a fire. Al large proportion of fire deaths are in hoarded homes.

    Also, you need to be able to walk about the house without a trip risk of stuff on the floor.

    and to be able to sit comfortably in the living room.

    I’m not at all sure its a good thing to do- almost definitely not- but sometimes people put some stuff into storage. This has big downsides: the cost and the fact that hoarders may just carry on and fill the area again. But you say he is in a very small room.

    Is it that he cant afford to buy a home or that he cant afford rent? Rent can depend on the area you live in. So he might discover something cheaper elsewhere.

    He seems a real cuckoo in the nest and has already been thrown out of one home!




    To wifeofahoarder

    Oh I am so sorry! Dreadful that it actually have it waking you up and worrying in the night!

    I was hoping it might be a sign of him wanting to start but getting stuck. Would he be able to throw away anything? Some people here h?ave done just 3 envelopes! Obviously you want him to do vastly more than that, but if it means a start

    I’m 63 so know what you mean about the time that is left! Its very much up to me clearing up stuff- its good that I live on my own so it doesnt impact on others.

    By the way, if he dies you can just put everything in a skip! You dont need to sort it unless you really want to! Do you know where important things are for managing the estate then? Trying to remember- it was things like details of saving accounts, valuable items (eg jewellery- dont expect he has that)! So you might want to look out for things like that. I cant imagine it would go down well with him now that you are thinking what things will be like after he dies!

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General Discussion Living with a hoarder