18 thoughts on “The Hoarder Next-Door

  • November 12, 2014 at 8:54 am

    Thank you for remaining the kind of person you want to be regardless of how others behave. You are a real gem! Blessings, Lisa

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    • November 13, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      Thank you for your encouraging words.

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  • November 12, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    I’m living with a hoarder. Even though it is his house I established from the beginning that he could have one of the two extra bedrooms in the house to do with as he pleases. Slowly, over time, the second bedroom started filling up with layer upon layer of his clothes, books, papers, hobbies, electronic things, you name it, so that I can’t get into either of his rooms any more even to clean. Which may be what he wants? Most of the stuff on the bottom layers seems abandoned and forgotten. Little did I realize that I would only be able to have a small amount of space for my things, clothes and shoes and art supplies, for example, in the house. I won’t let him take over the kitchen or living room or third bedroom but it takes vigilance on my part and/or he wants help finding something which is tiring. For a while I tried to make jokes about it but I feel infringed upon and then guilty for not having a better attitude. Recently he’s started saving plastic food containers which he says he can use for projects and I get angry because I see it as me having even less space. He knows how I feel about this but it seems to just roll off of him and he has an easy-going nature about most things. His elderly mother is a hoarder as well, lives next door, and her stuff overflows into our yard; she owns two small houses full of her stuff. I’ve become discouraged over the years (24 with him) and don’t want to have visitors except for backyard events(I also have to work to keep it somewhat clear of things he leaves around). I wonder if this will get worse (we are both in our 60’s). It makes me tired and depressed just thinking about it. Wish I could think of something helpful to say but it feels good just to vent.

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    • April 25, 2016 at 5:21 pm

      Hello Cindetta,
      Your posting is exactly why I was interested in hearing from others and how to deal with relationships and their hoarding. Your posting truly hit home with me. I will be married 50 years in 2016. I am now 72 and he is 76. Your story hit my heart with sadness. A spouse and his hoarding slowly creeped up in our long time marriage. In the newlywed years all seemed minor and simpler and time and more time together created a bigger story. To show some humor……I even contacted the local county Government and asked for an inspector to come by our home and give a “review” of some outside clutter. I was hoping it worked and I didn’t feel so bad because the call from me as a County Resident was considered Anonymous. My husband received a citation with a warning or it would become a $500 fine. I kept silent and no one knew that I reported this…..neither a neighbor, friend, or relative. LOW and BEHOLD my hubby took it lightly and just non-shalantly moved all his clutter pile to another side of the back yard. OOOOHHHHH….the urge to kill! My plot backfired and no progress. I am the type of homeowner that likes to take pride in my neighborhood. I am not showy, but I like my outside living space to be presentable and not an embarrassment to me or my neighbors. My husband is a “take me as I am” kind of person. I have been blessed by his beautiful soul but a deep anger has settled in my heart for 50 years. All I can say is that I can “feel” your feelings. I have endured so many years and even have a crazy thought that is: “Where does the Bible, Jesus, or any religion tell us to Stop the Hoarding?” I have always been at wits end about this subject matter of personal pride and image with fellow humans. In a marriage, I cannot help but think that as a couple, our personal living habits can reflect our partner and the image they prefer to be. I am now older and just have to absorb my thoughts into something happier and be so grateful that I have had an exceptional kind husband that follows the Golden Rule, Sees no Evil, Hears no Evil, Says no Evil. Ah, yes, I truly married Father Flanagan.

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  • November 13, 2014 at 1:08 am

    I also live with a hoarder (at least the way I see it). Today, Nov.12,2014,is my 48th Wedding Anniversary. My husband has junked up both sides of our home (outside)with
    all kinds of metal, ladders, old outdoor sink, etc.etc. The items pile up clear to our chained fence. The neighbors on both sides can view it all. The garage is filled to the brim like a giant warehouse of tools,six big 6ft high saws, loads of other industrial hardware. The back yard has a 16ft boat, trailer and motor that has blackened with mold from humidity. He has loaded a former bedroom with multiple computer and electronics piled up all taking up the space in an ordinary bedroom for a 1,250 sq.ft.home. My yard appearance only looks tidy thank God for the reasonable fee of our yard man who is a terrific immigrant from Honduras. I ache with tears at 71 and my husband is 74. He sees no wrong. For 48 years I was always there to pick up his messes. He is clean with his personal self, a dedicated parent, sees no evil, hears no evil and says no evil about anyone. I feel in our marriage, his bad habits have destroyed my respect and admiration for him. My physical self (joints) cannot clear up his hoarded piles. I feel myself lost its identity many years ago. I am ashamed to feel this way because I married a guy that doesn’t drink, cuss, or has physically harmed me. I feel so overwhelmed with tears and have no respect for him. No one ever knows what the future will be……..he refuses to see his wrong. As a result, I deal with it by creating a life for myself by
    being alone in another room, being my own best friend and reading, writing, sewing, and various academic interests. I am not proud of our “couple-ness” after all these years.

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    • November 13, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      Hi: I’m so sorry about the sadness of your situation. It does sound like your other activities help a bit. I need to do more of that. I also feel less respect for my partner even though he in other ways has admirable qualities. Do you feel loneliness in your marriage? I feel like he likes his stuff more than he likes me. Too far for me to attend is a group that meets weekly called “Married But Alone” that may be another option for you…good luck, don’t forget you aren’t alone in this strange dynamic or human condition or whatever it’s called.

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      • November 15, 2014 at 10:27 am

        Thank you for the very comforting words. Your suggestion Married but Alone seemed worth looking into. Like I said previously, my Lady Cave in a back room is truly a h

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    • November 14, 2014 at 5:41 am

      After a while, the literal inability to move the piles of stuff, even if the hoarder is willing to get rid of them, is what accelerates the piling up of the hoard. Another factor is adaptation. One can literally be “hoard blind” to the piles and mess. I’ve watched a friend of mine decline for nearly 25 years, and his hoard is finally creeping outside the house, and sooner or later, adult protective services or the board of health will be called. I’ve tried to clean, but my work is just wasted.

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  • November 13, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    This is such a sad, sad illness. It’s really tough to treat, too. I am OCD in the opposite way, which also isn’t a good thing. I do try at least.

    I watch those Hoarder shows because the illness and mindset just baffles me and I’m trying to understand. It seems it’s usually caused by some trauma that has never been dealt with. I mostly feel sorry for the kids and the animals.

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    • November 14, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      I’ve never seen those programs and I don’t know if I can, it is so sad about the kids especially since they may carry it on for reasons that aren’t even their own. My MIL’s dobergirl doggie parades her toys in front of our dogs like it’s something she has and they don’t. I wonder if that is a part of that human response to the world around us?

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  • November 14, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    This woman deserves a mental health evaluation. Many states have provisions (in California it’s called a “Baker Act,” others may know it as a “5150,” part of a code. Call your police or hospital to learn more. She’ll be taken to a facility and placed under a 72-hr hold for psych evaluation. She likely has other serious health problems, perhaps heart or diabetes, so this will likely/hopefully trigger some other services.

    This is our civic duty as Americans.

    For people who’d like it to be someone else’s problem, there are laws under the heading of “Failure to Render Aid.” Her family could perhaps seek redress.

    At the very least, I’m sorry your neighbors are such bullies and thugs.

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    • April 16, 2016 at 11:16 am

      Can you call the police anonymously regarding a mentally ill neighbor? I would feel like a real bully doing this since they could take her away for evaluation and what good would it do anyways if they can’t help her and she comes back all upset with neighbors?

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  • September 28, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Wow, so sorry to hear about the years of living with hoarding! Our neighbor is a typical hoarder plus she is now physically ill as well. Her daughter will not or cannot help. I will be looking into that 5150 code. Thanks for encouragement to be kind b/c so far she stresses me out so much I can’t even talk to her. I’m over feeling guilty for hating her – I have set her in the arms of God and asked Him to take care of the situation. Reading these posts has helped me not feel hopeless.??

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  • April 15, 2016 at 3:03 am

    I have a hoarder that moved in next door a few years ago. At first I really didn’t mind her little piles of steel and the old bus she used to live in parked in her back yard. I have a nice old house with a nice 6 foot wooden fence around the back yard and used to have a view of the hills off my back deck. Now days my fence is slowly caving in and rotting away due to the fact its used as a retaining wall for all the junk she brings home daily. The view has been replaced with that of junk piled to the roof and on it. There is not a square inch of grass left in her back yard just little veins of dirt she uses to stack more junk. My nice little place has been devalued considerably by her habit that is getting worse. Even after I lent her the money to buy a car she can drive (never paid me back, just bought more junk), even after a gave her food (used her pension to buy junk rather than food) even after I employed her for weekend work, (used the money to buy more junk). I am about done with mental illness after I asked if she could move her stuff leaning and pushing over my fence to get the reply of it’s “my place and I will do what I want and if you complain to the council I will build a higher fence on my side and there is nothing you can do about it”. By building a fence I assume it will be like the one she built across the front of her welfare supplied property a 10 foot recycled iron and timber decorated with doles heads and the skull of my favorite horse she must of got from his resting place way down the back, he won’t be missing it, died 20 years ago. I am a very tolerant man, my father has a mental illness, but I don’t like being accused of being “Lucky” to have what I have when I have worked hard for this the day I left school. To wrap it up I am glad I found this site to vent because I am struggling to understand why my peaceful live has to be destroyed and my nice place is somewhere I don’t want to be anymore. I have tried to help beyond standard expectations of forgiveness and support only to have it throw back without any respect, I guess I have a mental illness now so it’s all good, I have an excuse for anything now.

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  • April 24, 2016 at 1:32 am

    Funny update. I have set up a string line to measure the daily creep of the fence now about 5mm a day it’s leaning over by 200 mm(8″). I confronted her in a nice passive way when she asked what is with the string line, because she already knows. Apparently the fence has always been like that, and has nothing to do with the junk piled against it is the reply I got. I have been here years before her and the fence, like all my other fences, was straight till tons of junk was piled against it. Really, where do these people get off??!! I can see now there is no “nice” solution and will have to get the council in to shovel away her junk, charge her for it, condemn her house and ruin her life. I have check the local laws of which she has broken just about all of them. I didn’t want it to be like this and I have tried to sort things out but met with aggression every time.

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    • February 20, 2017 at 1:41 am

      Just an other update. Well things have settled down a little and back on talking terms, for now. Have done a bit more research into to the alternate way of thinking of hoarding and realize she has it bad. We were able to work out the fence thing and for just a couple of days I thought things where working out. Much to my lack of understanding within a week the very little money next door made from the scrap steel funded 3 dead cars, couple of old lounges, a disability chair and whats left of an old wind mill to fill the space created. And yes more stuff had to be placed against my fence to make room for the cars. So right back to where I started. However I was totally fascinated at how fast with just a small hand full of small bank notes any clear spot will be filled with useless stuff she can’t afford to repair, need or use. There was a request to use my crane truck to unload some of the newly arrived stuff, almost totally lost it but clammed down and told her I have a problem with the hoist, a lie, but why help my own mental destruction?? Apparently a tractor that is not running is arriving soon. And all along still getting food delivery from the local christian organisation, needs the money for junk I guess. I am starting to wonder if they care or even realize what’s going on. Sorry to rant but this is most likely the best place, I just get a little over how the mentally ill cause more illness and stress sometimes. Yet it’s ok. I moved here years ago to get away from these people.

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      • February 27, 2017 at 2:07 am

        Oh, mow things are just going to far!!She has scraped enough money to buy one of those medium sized wind turbines from ebay. She is well aware that I have tolerated everything so far and I did discussed this in detail a long time ago it’s the one thing I really wouldn’t like. To bad, it’s going to be 7 meters form my lounge room on a 10 meter pole. If I complain she’s going to get her drugo friends to sort me out because apparently she is sick of me telling her (more suggesting, because it’s against the local law) what she can do with her own property. And there you have it, the classic no respect for the law, peoples peace and quite, their property or their well being as long as they get what they want, right or wrong. This is now gone to threatening, bulling behavior. I realize how true it is that that some people see support and kindness as a weakness to be exploited. Marilyn Davis RN, I didn’t ignore you but this individual is already a “devout” christian that uses “god points” to consider my opinion invalid.

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  • August 19, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    please email me a picture of her house.I am a metaphysical healer.Christian scientist practitioner. I am well aware of this type of depression.The key is letting them trust you & validating their collection.I would be happy to help. I have worked on 2 residents.Both huge old homes that a single male filled to the brink of a safety & fire hazard. I am an RN but also understanding because both my parents did this.They are both deceased now. My father would gladly give you anything he collected mostly building materials or items that he thought his children would love. I gladly accepted these items because they were lovely pictures thrown in a retail store dumpster @ a mall. He was one of the carpenters remodeling the building.They would remove items so they could put real garbage into the dumpsters.As a result he found alot of perfectly good items thrown away.
    This is how it must start & others soon realize & follow.He did not bring home trash,or smelly items.My mother was clean also.This is the real problem the filthy stuff.THAT a a public health problem! Call your board of health & ask for help. She cant liver like that.She is causing issues for others.

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