Hoarders That Don't Think Much Of Their Hoarding

I know a couple of people that have hoarding tendencies, and I have to say that they don't really seem to think their hoarding is a problem. Of course, that's part of being a hoarder. One of the excuses I hear all the time is that they'll wind up needing some item or another sometime down the road. I'm a minimalist when it comes to personal belongings, so I'm as close to an anti-hoarder as you can be. What are your experience with individuals that hoard but don't seem to care about how much disarray those habits create? 
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  • I am not sure if I am right about this but some people don't hoard as much as they pack rat, my grandmother was a pack rat about some things, she kept a tidy house for the most part but had this obsessions with saving the re-usable grocery bags. The type of plastic bags that you get  from the store that are usually recycled, well she would have hundreds just shoved in the cupboard. This is not hoarding is it?  I am under the impression that to be a hoarder you have all different types of things that you keep, some times they might be junk, sometimes they are good things that can become junk because they are not properly cared for right?

    I don't think true hoarding is just keeping things because you might need it some day, unless it crosses a certain line, like you might need a used paper towel, or the packing material from inside something. The true problem is not ever being able to throw away anything, not even spoiled food.
  • I get what you're saying. I should have clarified better. The couple of individuals I'm talking about hoard other things, too. I was just using the "saving it for later" argument as an example. One of my family members keeps the most obscure things that she'll never use in a million years, and some of it could be considered actual trash rather than anything worth keeping.

    But yes, "saving it for later" tendencies by themselves are more akin to pack rats than hoarders.
  • Hoarders are no joke when it comes to trash. My mom is one of these people that can't throw anything away if her life depended on it. It's actually sad when she needs to keep a plastic bag or some empty milk cartons. 

    When a hoarder says that don't think much of there hoarding, this is a sign that they think allot about it. Not possible to leave the mind once a thought enters is a defined as OCD. My mom says this is why she keeps junk. 
  • Lookabove23, that makes a lot of sense. Even individuals without OCD often joke about or dismiss what they worry about the most. Luckily, most of the individuals in my life that could be considered anything close to hoarders aren't living in an unbearable situation, but that doesn't mean that things can't progress to that point in the near future.
  • Oh my my, don't get me started about this because I think my wife is a hoarder. She accumulates paper, women bags, shoes and clothes in general, stuff she doesn't use anymore. She gets very angry when I talk to her about this! What can I do? 
  • I can understand women and shoes, even though it's such a big cliche. You might try approaching the subject bluntly and try to reason with her, especially if it affects the household. However, I'm no expert at this, and I'm probably in the same boat as you with certain friends/family members. It's a tough subject to tackle, especially when the other person doesn't think there's anything wrong with their behavior. 
  • I think that there are different reasons for hoarding.  In the case of someone who has a lot of shoes and purses, they have to learn to keep them neat and tidy, especially if they want to have their things in good repair, and also not to disrupt others around them.  

    Some people may feel that they don't have the tools to help them get organized, other people may not know how to organize things properly.  
    Also, when people get older they are not as strong and as energetic as they used to be, and need help around their house.  They may not ask for help because they don't want someone to come in and take over.
  • I used to joke (still sort of do) about my grandma being a hoarder, because she sort of is, but not to the extreme that people on the TV shows are though. She has boxes and boxes of hair products that she doesn't use and never will use, clothing that she's never worn that she will never fit into, stuff from like every infomercial that ever aired on television since it's existence, and basically everything that she has ever bought.
  • Maybe hoarding behaviour comes from a fear of falling on hard times? I'm certainly guilty of holding onto things just in case they can be re-used and save some money. I think hoarding might provide some people with a sense of security. I do feel sorry for those people you see in television documentaires who can't even get into certain rooms in their house because there's too much stuff. 
  • After I got sober I became a hoarder. I got really bad because I started crafting, and I threw away nothing. I was a crafting fool. I loved it so much all I saw was crafts I could make when throwing something away. So after awhile all that junk added up. I finally stopped doing it thank god.
  • My friends father is an extreme hoarder. He even saves every single piece of junk mail that comes to his house - what use is any of that if those flyers and offers have long since expired?His entire kitchen and dining area is filled with stacks of them, almost to eye level. There is a narrow channel for you to walk through to get in the house and into the kitchen. It's literally a big time fire hazard because if some sparks flew or some burning piece of whatever traveled from the stove and hit one of those stacks of papers, that place would be up in flames in no time.

    What's a bit ironic, is outside of his house he has a very well organized and pristine garden that he tends to. Each plant is growing in it's own plastic barrel, propped up on work horses and two by fours. Everything is meticulously labeled, and even the smaller potted plants or things that are sprouting are carefully labeled and organized. Nothing is cluttered and there are no piles of junk around his yard. You would almost never guess he was a hoarder until you entered his house.
  • Oh my goodness the hoarders LOL. My dad is one who would hoard certain that would not work and says he would fix it but does not. I try not hoard anything so I would not have so much junk around me.
  • There was another couple I knew (not the one I mentioned in another like post) that hoarded. But they had married in the depression era. When I saw their basement which was filled with plastic milk bottles, which the old man did indeed cut and use as bird feeders, I realized that hoarding doesn't mean they don't have a purpose. It is just they have lived in a time when they had nothing and it is hard for them to be wasteful by getting rid of things they might need later. When a hoarder gives you something it is like they are parting with a treasure. 
  • That is really just another addiction, really. Hoarders do not ever tend to realize they are hoarders just like a lot of drug addicts do not think or realize that they are ever really addicted to the substance that they are continuously abusing. It is not different, really.
  • My ex's mother is a hoarder. We tried talking to her and making cases but she never listened she kept expanding her junk once he and his brother moved out. When we moved in for a short while I attacked her hoard and donated a ton of stuff to charity and threw away rat feces/piss infested papers, ect. She got so angry but they were items that her sons didn't want since they grew up and everything didn't fit and was covered in feces, ect. It wasn't like they wanted anything since I asked my ex and his brother prior to going on a cleaning binge. I kept things that would be sentimental to her but after that it all had to go.

    I admit that I hoard stuff to a degree but it's digital and not anything of physical substance. I can't stand to hold onto stuff I never use in real life and I guess because for the most part digital stuff doesn't intrude on my real life so to speak that I just keep hoarding things like images, music, movies.
  • That's absolutely true. But I think it's important sometimes to think of it and to take care of it and manage it. Sometimes having support from family and friends will help dramatically and it's very important to take notice of what you hoard of, especially, it might be something that's useless and I know the obsessions sometimes, but you can still make it, being exposed to not hoarding will help a lot, as exposure is a great way of curing anxiety.
  • Some of these comments, along with those in the other hoarding topics, make me wonder how much of a role upbringing plays in packrat tendencies and hoarding. Some people I’ve known who held onto things were brought up by Depression-era parents. Or they grew up during the Great Depression themselves. The “just-in-case” mentality and fears of falling on hard times are strong with most of the hoarders/packrats I’ve known, but especially so in older packrats. And then when it becomes pathological it turns into full-on hoarding.
  • My parents are hoarders -- on the lower end of the scale, but still...it was super hard to deal with as a kid and to be honest it still is now. I don't know exactly why they hoard, but my guess is it's because my dad was sick (cancer) when I was about 5 years old. He got through it, thank goodness, but I do think it's that mentality of "what if something happens and we can't afford this or can't afford that" so they don't throw anything away. Interestingly it's made me VERY minimalist.
  • @kassie1234 I think being surrounded by stuff for a significant portion of my life was what made me more minimalist than I used to be as well. I still can’t sufficiently explain why. Growing up I had packrat tendencies because I kind of figured it was normal to have stuff lying around, available whenever I might need it. I never questioned it until much later on. I realized I didn’t want to live like that; it was too overwhelming, and I really didn’t need most of the stuff I thought I did. I had quite enough to be getting on with. Despite some setbacks I feel like my life has improved overall since I made the decision to shed my packrat habits.
  • I think it can be very easy to get sucked in to this. I'd imagine with a lot of people its just a case of keeping things for sentimental value but then it can go too far. 

    While its good to keep things to remind you of certain events in your life, not knowing when or what to let go of can be where the problem starts.
  • @littlecowprint you sound like me, so much...I was the same throughout much of my teens and even early 20's. I remember when I first moved out of home - I kept the most random stuff...a good example is when I went overseas on a vacation and I saved EVERY single receipt from everything I bought. I'm talking even fast food receipts...for the "memories"!! Crazy, right? I would keep things that had no purpose, just in case one day I wanted to look at them or revisit those memories. I think at about 23 I was like NO more - I threw out so much stuff, or gave it away or sold it. You're right - stuff is overwhelming...I feel so much more clarity without it all weighing me down!
  • @pwarbi That's true. I think some things you can seriously hoard and keep forever, but some things you really need to let go of because they're not of so much value, and it's a problem for me struggling with OCD because I just obsess and can't help but hoard.
  • What I have learned from people who hoard is that some times there is a deep issue going on with them that they haven't really dealt with. For people who don't hoard throwing away things that are not important is easier but for hoarders it's like throwing away their way of life to them.
  • That's funny, because my bf is not quite hoarding anything (lack of space), but he vehemently defends this -- and I fail to see what is wrong about that. Basically, we live in a consumer's world, and he does not see why, if people have the space to keep stuff, they should throw it away -- and then realize that they needed it and buy it anew.

    I don't obsessively hoard anything, I think, but I also don't throw away stuff that could still be of use, either to me or to someone else. Everything deserves to be reused, recycled or given away, as far as I'm concerned. I don't think it's "more healthy" to just get rid of everything, just a different mentality and different habits.
  • Having OCD must definitely have an effect when it come to hoarding. Knowing what to throw away and what to keep is the main issue but when you want to keep everything, that's when the problem will start.
  • I think my mom is a hoarder, which is funny, considering she used to loathe my uncle who was openly a hoarder.  Yes, he had a full little room full of a lot useless stuff, same with my dad.  I think my uncle was a level 3 hoarder, my mom is probably a level 1?  or 2? 

    Hard to tell, the room she uses as her wardrobe is full of clothes she never wears. Plus a lot more stuff (also some of my stuff, because once a season is out I put the clothes belonging to the old season there, in order to make space for the clothes of the current season).
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