Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Hoarders

I've figured out that after you've watched three or four episodes of "The Hoarders", they're all pretty much the same: people who can't throw anything away, people who put a sentimental value on the most ridiculous things... some who won't even throw away an empty soda can or fast-food wrapper.
Sometimes when the cleaning crew is moving the clutter out, they'll find dried-up cat corpses.
It's that bad.
Cliff won't watch it; he says it's like watching somebody pick pimples.
On the show, a whole crew is brought in to help these people get rid of their junk. At least half the hoarders eventually reject this help because they can't force themselves to give up anything.
And while I allow myself to feel superior (at least I'm not anywhere near THAT bad, I tell myself), I can relate to these people in many ways.
Take the baby crib, for example, the one I used for both my babies, and that was Cliff's youngest sister's baby bed before that. I finally summoned up my courage and had Cliff dismantle it and throw all of it away except the head, which I have on the wall here in my computer room. I suppose that's progress. But why do I feel the need to keep any part of it?
Over at the old house, I used one upstairs bedroom for storing keepsakes and such. It was piled with boxes and containers full of every kind of memorabilia one can collect; I called it "the junk room".
It looked very much like rooms you would see on "The Hoarders" (no dead cats, though). Honestly, the junk was starting to seep out of that room and take over the upstairs; it's a good thing we moved when we did!
I was forced to deal with all that stuff when we moved to the trailer house, but there's still a lot of it in plastic bins and boxes, stacked in a corner of the garage.
So every time I watch "The Hoarders" and see someone holding an item from her past and weeping, I can identify. I have five or six items tucked away in drawers that my children wore as newborns, and a tiny pair of overalls worn by my oldest grandson when I was babysitting him as an infant.
By the way, I do know one person in the flesh who has a full-blown problem similar to those exhibited by folks on the show. Such people do exist. This TV show has helped me understand what makes her tick.
I couldn't help but notice, when watching "The Hoarders", that often the camera will get a shot of the hoarder sitting at a computer, pecking on a keyboard, oblivious to the mountains of rubbish heaped around her... or him; sometimes it's a guy with the problem.
And here I sit, pecking away on the keyboard, knowing there's a pile of CD's in their jewel cases in the guest bedroom that I need to do something with: they've been piled in there on the bed for days now.
What do you folks do with your CD's? I have put most of my music on the computer and then added it to my Ipod, so the actual CD's are seldom used. But I don't want to throw them away: What if I lose my Ipod, and what if my computer crashes? Do I buy yet another plastic storage bin and toss them all in there and pile them in the garage?
See, I told you! Somewhere underneath my skin dwells a problem hoarder who would love to take over my life.
It's scary.


Lindie said...

My daughter and son in law might be hoarders but they call themselves collectors. 2 of the 3 garage spaces are full of boxes and have been since they moved there 3 years ago. Now my granddaughter, age 8, collects stuffed animals and has a few hundred! 2 of their 4 bedrooms are full of things they have collected. All valuable they say! I keep telling them to sell everything and pay off their house! As for the crib, you have changed it into art and if it stays on the wall, keep it!

Midlife Mom said...

I've been trying to get caught up with everyone since getting back from NH and the miserable last Pat's game. You've been busy as always! Love the new day bed, it is perfect for you and for company! Also like how you have put the headboard of the crib on the wall. Again, perfect!

I watch hoarders on occasion and just set there with my mouth hanging open in disbelief! The dead cat one really set me off, I didn't watch for a few months after that but did catch a couple of episodes in the hotel last week. I knew a woman who was a hoarder and there was only one side of her bed that she could lay on as the other side had stuff on it. There was just a path through the house. I don't know how the spouse's can put up with all of that.

Hope you got the pipe thawed out. So far we haven't had anything freeze here or at the lake. Knock on wood. There is a house on our street though that the family went through bankruptcy sp? and left the house so it's probably all frozen up. Very sad and now the bank will have to clean it up.

Nick's coming along good. My vet was here yesterday and checked him over and he doesn't have a UTI thankfully. Just stretching out to try to get that leg comfortable. BUT Noodles does have one so he is on meds twice a day! Sigh.....

Anonymous said...

Hi Donna..I think there is a line between hoarders, collectors, and those who save...and I think you are a saver!!! Do the containers in the garage keep you from putting your car out of the cold weather or heat of summer??? and does what you keep cause a "health hazard?" LOL...No I don't think so...and I have enjoyed seeing some of the things you have "saved" right here on this blog...!!!! I had a sister who was a hoarder...I called her a "child of the depression" where nothing was thrown away...used over and over was everything!!! she "saved" everything...butter cups...rubber bands....newspapers...she and her husband built a two car garage..and neither car ever saw the inside of the building LOLOL..but it sure was a fun place to go to on a cold day when visiting LOLOL...so after saying all of this...your babybed headboard look great on the wall..would also be a good place to put pictures of the kids, grands, and otherwise LOLOL...wish I had thought of that....sighing heavily!!!! hugs...Ora ps..sorry for the rambling!!!!

Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee

Okay...I really really want to hear about CDs. Most of ours were on the old computer..yep, it died...and now the ipod has apparently died too. I had traded in a handful of the CDs for paperback books and, naturally, there was one -- thankfully only one -- that I REGRET having traded because I cannot buy the one song that I LOVED. So glad that I kept the vast majority of CDs...but what in the world to do with them. We have a tiny house with tons of stuff-- no room. I did buy CD storage "thingy" recently. I think I'm gonna get rid of the cases , somehow store the inserts -- shouldn't take much room, and just use the storage things -- the case just take so much room. UGH....help, help!! But I love my music. And I've got my eye on a new CD. tsk tsk

not familiar said...

Most of ours were on the old computer now the ipod has apparently died too.I had traded in a handful of the CDs for paperback books and, naturally, there was one -- thankfully only one.So glad that I kept the vast majority of CDs...but what in the world to do with them.I love music

Amy said...

My mom has a hoarding problem. I think some of it was that my grandma had collections of things, and then when my grandma passed and my mom moved into the house, it was grandma's stuff plus my mom's stuff....and she felt guilty for weeding through any of it.

When we moved back home, I was a little more ruthless with the cleaning business. It seems to have helped her....(whenever she says 'Do you want.....', I always say yes...just to get it out of her house. If I say no, it will never leave.)

Tango said...

Ha, I can't watch that show because it makes me want to de-clutter and I don't have anything left. I opted on keeping the cds in paper sleeves and losing the books. Less space and less weight.

madcobug said...

I think I am more of a saver than an hoarder. I do need to clean up the utility room and a building when it warms up. I think more of the saving comes from Parents who went though the depression and saved things. That is the way were raised to be saving so it rubbed off on us. No dead cats around here though LOL. Helen

Pudge450 said...

I'm not a hoarder, but I had lots of things. Katrina took care of a lot of them. Every trip I made to the street carrying flooded "things", I asked myself, "Why do I have this stuff?". It is amazing how, in the middle of that disaster, I learned how it feels to be free of so many things. Now, whenever I think about buying some non-essential thing, I stop and think about why I want it. Most of the time I pass on it. It feels great.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I do like Ora's word much better than hoarder. We are savers. I have a whole house full of things I save. My children would love to have free reign and clear it all out. I would like it all to be a bit more organized around here and I will be working on that and when I do I'm sure there will be things that will go, but not the treasures...never. When I'm gone then they can do what they want.

Paula said...

Odd you should write about this today. I just spent the entire afternoon at a hoarder's house and the whole time I was wishing I could get home and start cleaning. She even has animals that aren't her's.

Debbie said...

I can't understand why anyone would want to save soda cans or fast food wrappers but there's nothing wrong with hanging on to the stuff you treasure. My parents grew up in the great depression and believed in letting nothing go to waste and a little of that has rubbed off on me. I wear the same clothes until they absolutely fall apart from wash and wear and the kids don't understand why I do this especially since they bought me new housecoats a few years ago that still have the tags on them while I keep on wearing my old housecoat that I don't consider worn out yet. I have stuff stored in a room I call the junk room too, most of it is stuff the kids have given to us as gifts but as long as our old stuff still works I can't see throwing it away.

Sonya said...

How weird. I mentioned hoarding in my blog today too and hadn't read yours yet. I watched it the other night for the first time and it has been weighing heavy on my mind. Of course I spelled hoarding wrong. Hording. I guess I've never used the word much, nor have I seen it written much. But I love psychological analysis and so this intrigues me. I find myself wondering about the opposite of the spectrum - neat nics. I have a streak of that although just enough to really bug me and not all consuming. I also hoard things but NO not like that. It has to be an organized hoarding. Or I will go crazy. ha.
So this was interesting to read and I hope to catch that show again. Someone commented on my blog about that dead cat. Now that would freak me out. Did she/he not know it was missing?

Donna said...

Sonya, you can go to A&E website and watch back episodes of Hoarders. As I recall, I think the person who had the dead cats in the house also had too many pets, and with all the junk, they couldn't keep track of them.

Robbie said...

I have a bit of a hoarding nature about me when it comes to art supplies - but no dead cat bodies and I dump my garbage daily. I love the show because it motivates me to do something with the stuff I have instead of getting more but I agree with your husband, it is like watching people pick pimples. Yuck!

I took all of my CDs out of their cases and keep them in a notebook made for CDs by a company called Case Logic. It takes up way less room than hundreds and hundreds of CD cases and is easily transportable.

Pamela said...

I think keeping memorabilia from your children is not a hoarding behavior. I saw the picture you posted with the crib on the wall and thought it was a great idea. Especially hanging in the room where your grandchildren sleep. I like it!
CD's mostly are kept in a storage box I have in my livingroom. It's like a treasure chest and has flowers beautifully painted on it. The rest are kept in my car so I can listen to them while I drive.
As far as a junk room...yeah...we have stuff in the corners of one of the rooms. I think by just "living" one ends up with goodies. I really need to donate things to the poor...SOON! I do that about every 6 months or so.
You are NOT a hoarder! You have memories of your life. We all do. But, I can sometimes relate to those folks, too. It IS scary!

Anne said...

Donna, Hoarding is a form of mental illness. It's a form of O.C.D. These people are more than savers..........they just can't control it. You could go in a clean up their house and a year later it would be a mess again. Collections and saving should not be confused with hoarding. It is an uncontrolable brain illness. That is why one needs a Dr. and meds. Anne

Adirondackcountrygal said...

I think I can be a bit of a hoarder. I have boxes and boxes of junk that is useful and I don't want to throw away but I never use them. I have good intentions sometimes and box or bag stuff up, but it never makes it further than that. Ends up all over the floor again. I think I am more of a disorganized slob!

Lori said...

I watch that show in a stupor of horrified fascination!! I can identify to a certain extent but have never been that bad. True hoarding is a mental condition and must be treated by a professional. A lot of us could have the tendency to be hoarders but are still able to exercise some control over ourselves. (I have the headboard of the crib my babies slept in too!)