I see a lot of discussions about folks just wanting “one room” that they can have clutter free within their own homes. Often homes where they foot the bill for everything, but are relegated to hiding out in their one clutter free room.
Why should the “non-hoarding” person be forced into only one room that is clutter free?
Why is it that the person that hoards should get to clutter up the ENTIRE HOUSE and force their family members into small spaces? Why don’t we have the person that hoards get ONE ROOM or space or shed or car to do with as they wish?
There are so many “common spaces” is in a house! While I understand that hoarding issues are related to underlying mental health issues, it does not justify having the person that hoards take over every common area in the residence. Its actually quite selfish behavior if we stop and shine a bright light on the problem.
Here are the common areas that in general that most family members would share in some manner:
Closets in Common Rooms
The person that hoards cannot see the problem. The denial and “clutter blindness” is a HUGE part of THE PROBLEM.
Their lack of boundaries causes them to take over the ENTIRE HOUSE. Our lack of boundaries lets them take over the whole place. We desire to keep the peace, so we let them take over.
Later on we feel like they should be respecting our boundaries, even though we haven’t been actively enforcing any boundaries that should be there.
Since they cannot/will not/do not restrain themselves and are in denial, they DO NOT see the problem. They don’t understand our needs or why we find it distressing. They will get upset NO MATTER WHAT we do. With some come gentle compassion for them AND for ourselves, we need to move forward with getting our own needs met.
It might mean “helping them” sort or organize or condense their stuff.
It might also mean “not helping them” and hiring a professional to sort/organize/haul stuff away.
If we are related to and/or have a personal connection to the person with the hoarding issue, often our emotional entanglements make it nearly impossible to “help” in a positive manner.
It might mean that you INSIST that THEY see a therapist, counselor or attend a support group for their own issues.
It can also mean that you INSIST that YOU see a therapist, counselor or attend a support group for your ISSUES and coping needs.
You may also need to evaluate whether or not a) YOU can continue to live with that person, b) live with them in the hoard, c) live apart from them, but still be in a relationship with them.
This is about boundaries and recognizing your needs. It’s about knowing there is a problem in the household, in the relationship and knowing that #youmatter and that you also need to have your needs met.
Ignoring hoarding will not make it go away. Trying to “keep the peace” will not make the hoarding behaviors stop. If you see an issue, make a plan to address it before it gets out of hand.
If you are “overwhelmed” and truly have no idea where to begin…Homes Are For Living can help with that. We will work with you to create a plan that can get you moving in a positive direction.
You are not alone and we are here to help you navigate your specific situation in the best way possible for all involved.
Tammi Moses is the founder and Chief Encouragement Officer of Homes Are For Living, LLC which is a Veteran Woman Owned & Operated business located in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, WA. She provides consultations, assessments and presentations on the issue of hoarding and inspiring others to take their adversity and use it for the greater good. She is the voice of #AKOPTH-Adult Kids of Parents That Hoard. She also has a personal understanding of #YLITH – Youth Living in The Hoard. You can connect with Tammi at firstname.lastname@example.org on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.