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I have to vent to someone. My mother's house is so cluttered. She has so much furniture and so much stuff that it is impossible to clean. Her bedroom is beyond description because of her mental problems. She has two quilts spread out on the floor and two huge suitcases at the foot of her bed. She has blankets stuffed under the bed. There is so much furniture in there. I've tried to straighten it, but she quickly undoes anything I do to return it to a state of filthy chaos.

She does the same to the living room. She has medications, lotions, and toilet products accumulated over the years set out on the tables so they will be handy. Cough medicines, eye drops, nose sprays, toilet tissue, Kleenex, multiple water bottles, ... I try to keep it down, but she puts it back out. If I say anything, the answer is that it is her house and she will do what she wants. Well, her house is nasty and cluttered and I hate living in it.

It's not a dementia thing. It has been like this since first three kids left home. People tell me that I should just do the best I can and let other things slide, but the truth is that it makes me ashamed.

I wish my mother weren't so dominant. It would be easy to fix things if she weren't so insistent that everything has to be for her convenience. And she absolutely refuses to get rid of things. I cleaned out the initial hoard, but the excess furniture, bedding, and ton of clothes are a hoarding stronghold. She has things stuffed about like she is trying to keep evil spirits out. She occupies most of the house, so I feel like I can't even go out of my room without being disgusted. And I am so darned tired of cleaning while she sits in her chair watching TV all day long. And I feel ashamed that, as capable as I am, that I cannot work against the tide of disorganization and filth that owns the house.

Vent over.

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As if we don't have enough, dH is bringing junk to our home.
Since I have been sick, he has discarded my furniture and brought in a moldy, rusted
heavy metal and wood work table.
He is in so much trouble for this betrayal, I cannot say.
I am so done!
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Tax returns back to 1958. I kid you not.
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dmanbro, the paper thing I am dealing with, too. I gathered up arm full after arm full of mismatched papers and spent many a weekend trying to match up everything. I would still be missing page 7 of one thing, and page 1 of another. I saw where my Dad would cut out the very tiny copy of his cancelled bank check from his bank statement and tape it onto a receipt.

I also came across receipts and instruction books for appliances my parent no longer had. I also had to tear up decades old insurance for the car and the house.

Dad said there is still a box in the attic filled with paperwork... oh good grief, and the only way to get to that attic is to pull the car out of the garage, drag over a super tall ladder and hoist yourself up into the small opening in the ceiling, don't think I will be do that any time soon. Plus I bet all that paper has been mice nesting paper over the past 3 decades.

There is even in that attic an encyclopedia that is dated back to the early 1900's. Sadly that probably has been destroyed by the heat. I noticed the other day my parents still have the encyclopedia I used in high school back in the 1960's. Dad thinks it is worth a lot of money. I doubt it, but I bet that early 1900's would have been.
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Mother keeps the Publisher's Clearing House envelopes with ALL the papers that come with those. 40 years worth, at least. She will not allow ONE to be thrown out as "this is your inheritance"...I know ONE person who won $10 from PCH. These alone have filled up 5 big plastic bins.
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I think part of it was her belief that the one receipt or bill she DIDN'T keep would be the one she regretted throwing away. And now with the endless stream of post-illness papers (more bills, hospital and doctor papers, visiting nurse info and etc) we're swimming in it. Just last week I needed her 2014 state tax return (for some county programs she might be eligible for, maybe) and the key page with all of the pertinent info on it isn't there. So I have to call her tax guy who's eighty now, great guy but really slowing down, to have him root through his files and find me a copy...unless it turns up somewhere else first.

But why she kept the paperwork from the time the dryer was repaired back in 1994 or four expired library cards or a vet bill from the cat who died in 2003 or proof that she paid her car insurance back in 88....beats me. Probably the funniest (or weirdest) discovery was the books of matches she put in the fireproof strongbox for some reason...the logic there escapes me.
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Has anyone read the book "Stuff : compulsive hoarding and the meaning of things" it is helpful in understanding the pathology.
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Jessie, since my Mom is now in a nursing home I feel comfortable roaming around my parents house, where before I couldn't. In the past Mom was always very neat and everything in its place. She been away from the house 2 months and now I see she was the driving force behind Dad to keep everything in order.

Anywho, while roaming upstairs I noticed Mom had things not in order, especially with clothes. I was looking for winter clothing to take to her at the nursing home and I had a heck of a time trying to locate everything. I didn't re-sort as maybe Dad knows where everything is of his, which is also scattered in different dressers, cabinets, closets, and boxes under the beds.

I did find a large box of new things I had bought her as gifts over the years.... my gosh, she was wearing thread worn stained clothing instead of throwing it out and wearing some of her new things.

Sadly Mom is now wearing her new things and doesn't even know it :(
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I can sympathize a bit. My husbands uncle has recently moved in with us. He was a hoarder about to be removed from his home by social services. The place was completely unlivable with a large hole in the ceiling. There were boxes stacked everywhere with no room to move. He literally had tunnels and the second floor was completely inaccessible. It's been a nightmare trying to empty the place. He won't get rid of anything including his collection of moldy baseball caps. now that he's living with us it's a constant battle because we won't allow him to bring things into our house. It's also a battle to get him to shower and wash clothes. If he doesn't comply he will have to leave. On top of that I have to help my mother who has dementia. In his case he drew the attention of social services when his meals on wheels delivery person reported his living conditions and lack of personal hygiene. At some point the authorities do step in but sometimes the burden then falls to someone else (us)-just venting a little here.
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I've posted here before about my mother (the big stuffed rabbit??) ...Saturday we were at a family baby shower and I was sitting at her table, just for a few minutes. The talk came around to how my niece can keep such an immaculate home with 5 small kids--well, my mom speaks up in a pretty loud voice "Oh, I bet MidKid comes over when she's not home and throws away everything she loves. She does that to me". AWKWARD silence....followed by embarrassed laughter (since everyone there knows of my "cleaning" issues at Mother's.)
NOW, she meets me at her door with a very small bag of odds'n'ends and says "See? I can throw this out! Go ahead, take it!" She thinks she cutting me off at the pass, I guess. Lately I only clean up after the birds and sweep/mop/vacuum the floors and don't do anything w/o her permission. She told people at the shower that she has to go through the trash after I clean b/c I throw away all these important things. Instead of making me look bad, it makes her look more like a little hoarder.
When she's in the hospital and rehab center, I plan to scrub down her walls and wash all the curtains--stuff that she would NOT allow me to do if she were there and she won't even notice. HOPEFULLY we can replace some of her carpeted areas with linoleum--easier to clean and doesn't hold the smell at all.
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Demanbro, I am sure MANY people who visit this site can relate to the tissue thing. My husband does the same. We go through a box of tissues every second day. He doesn't use them to blow his nose etc. He just gathers them-puts them into his bedside table drawer. And yes, they sometimes end up in the laundry but more often they end up shredded in the dog's bed.

Recently he has taken to tearing (into strips)the newspaper and his weekly magazine. He says the strips take up less space!! Go figure!
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you have my sympathy..... My Mothers' home is full of paper, expired foods and medications, collections and dust bunnys. She gets upset if I wash any laundry or put away something from any of the tables or counters. I don't try to throw away anything except expired food and meds.But if she catches me there will be a fight
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What IS it with the "paper sqiurreling?!" My mom has a copier. Aaaargh. The insanity (or should I say fire hazard?) is in triplicate. Aaaargh. The other thing that keeps me up at night is....I came from this woman and I was raised by this woman. Will I turn into this in 20-25 years?? Christ, I hope not. But I'll bet when mom was my age, she didn't see herself going off the rails like this as a senior. Man, this messes with my head....
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My mother has always had some really weird household habits. The worst one is the endless little stashes of "important papers" she has around the house. Under the mattress, in the china hutch, tucked in the closet, hidden behind the bookshelf, you name it. And there no rhyme or reason to it either, so I have to go through each paper to see what's what. Like her 2010 tax return will be tucked away with a receipt for an oil change in 1999, an old cable bill and a blank piece of paper with a random phone number on it. And her strongbox containing the "important" papers will also include the owner's manual from the 1970 Maverick they bought new and a state road map from 1983. It's been months and I still haven't pieced it all together.

And sticking with the paper theme, she does this annoying thing with tissues. She'll grab one from the box and just crumple it into a ball and not use it, hold it for a while then tuck in under the sheet or blanket for "later". Then she'll do it again. So by morning there are a dozen wadded-up tissues tucked here and there in the bed, so I have to always check before I wash everything lest a tissue gets in there and lints everything all up. It drives me insane. Cough drop wrappers too.
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Amen to so much of this. When I leave my mom's house, I leave the clutter and senseless stockpiling behind.....but the musty stale funk follows me. OH LORD. On my clothes. On my coat. In my hair. In my nose. Depressing and infuriating. No way could I leave there and go directly to a friend's house or lunch/dinner or a movie or a play. I'd gag myself and gag my companion. If have anything else planned on "mom day," gotta build in time to backtrack 20+ miles and decontaminate at my house.
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If it wasnt too late I'd send then to you!...LOL
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pam, I just googled "pistachio shell uses" and found so much stuff. I know what I would do with them -- plant drainage. I'm not into making jewelry or cleaning tools. Interesting what a person can do with pistachio shells.
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When we cleaned out my parents garage.. My dad had coffee cans full of pistachio shells...no lie
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Midkid, you can kidnap the rabbit and hold it hostage. You can bring it to her one bit of stuffing at a time if she does not meet your demands.

Or you could use it as a therapy rabbit.
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So...no takers on that orange rabbit? Darn.
I agree..it's not the actual home, it's the junk. Mother had a huge house jampacked with stuff we had to pare down to fit into the smaller apt. It was beyond horrible.I grew up in the house my folks left and after cleaning for 3 years, I was glad to see it sold. I do not and never will understand the need for all the junk. I wish I could get mother to buy things for Humanitarian packages that I make...instead of more books, puzzles and clothes. But she won't part with a nickel. She complains nonstop about barely getting by on her SS checks, but she always has new clothes, and PLENTY of "toys". I'm really trying to be patient..and in the end I WILL "win"...so as long as I am the only one bothered by this, I will just grin, bear it and try to do a little each week.
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actually Jessie mother is very organised, but left us with quite a challenge of so many items what she had kept that she valued but no one wants. They were neatly stored in old chests that no one wants either. Her apartment was always like a show room with lots of furniture but looked great. I would say that we were the ones who were not as organized as we could have been.

cwilllie - I am the holder of the family heirlooms too. Curtains that my grandmother embroidered with a design my grandfather made, a variety of other embroidered items, tablecloths, yes, pictures and so on. I have packed up the family silver and am sending it overseas to a nephew who wants it.

It is a fact that some people have concern only for their own needs. Mother is a narcissist. Even on his death bed my father was concerned that I had somewhere comfortable to sit.
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What, doesn't everyone keep all those margarine tubs, aluminum pie plates and take out containers???

I am the lucky recipient of all the family heirlooms, things that just couldn't be sold or given away but nobody seems to want; quilts, china, pictures and the like. I have an ugly blanket woven on a loom by my great grandmother from home spun yarn... what can you do with stuff like that???
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sunny, it sounds like your cousin is OCD. That has to be a miserable condition, being locked in to doing something. golden, it sounds like your mother is the disorganized type. The sense of entitlement gets old. My mother has no consideration for my time or stress level. It is really only about her needs. (No, not a pity party, just the truth)
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It's not a house that's driving me crazy but stuff. Jessie I don't know how you can stand it. It is mother's belongings from her 4 moves in the last 6 years. She moved out of her apartment which held a lot of furniture and did not want it packed up before she moved and then paid the rent for a month so we could empty it. Considering that sig other and I live 5 hrs drive away and were both working it was quite a challenge. It ended up that we brought more back to our house than we should have and I still have much of it and need to get rid of it. it drives me crazy having boxes of china etc. that nobody wants and where we live there is nowhere to sell it. We will have to truck it back south and get rid of it with her other items that are in storage from the apartment she set up after we emptied out the first one. She bought pretty well entirely new things for this second apartment. When she moved out if that one, I had learned from the first time and put what she didn't need into storage - in case. It looks like she is settled where she is so now we have to get rid of that lot.

I guess what gets me is the total lack of consideration that her choices have a significant negative effect on my life, and also that there is no gratitude for the work we have done and still do.

sunny - knew someone who kept tins and plastic containers for crafts. Her bedroom was piled ceiling high with boxes of these things many of which she had brought with her when she moved across the country. She also kept styrofoam food trays.
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I don't know if people living through the depression made them more inclined to hoard or not, but my cousin did not live through the depression. She grew up with anything she wanted. She was an only child and got anything she wanted her for most of her life. She was spoiled and liked to collect things. I think there is some genetic factor and some just environmental influences. Her mom liked to keep plastic containers and she would never throw them out, unless they were damaged.

In her adult life, she liked to always keep 50 cans of cat food, 3 boxes of popsicles, 5 containers of coffee, 39 note pads, etc. Who knows where this comes from. She also ordered lots of clothes she never wore.

My mom stayed with her for a few weeks once when she broke her ankles and while there cleaned up the house, since she was in the bedroom and couldn't see what was going on in the rest of the house. A month after my mom left, she called her in a panic and wanted to know where her empty plastic butter and milk containers were! My mom said she had no idea. lol
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Jessie Belle, I said Jessie Belle!!! Get on in here and tell me what you did with my goshdarn moon!!! It was right here a little while ago!!!!

Hug and smile to you my dear!
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BTW, I was kind of hoping to be taken up in the Rapture tonight when the moon disappeared. Guess I didn't make the count. But I didn't see any other bodies floating up, either.

Just playing. I did enjoy seeing the moon disappear. Still waiting for it to come back. What if it's gone? Hope not. Many here would probably be accused of stealing it. :-)
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I hope this doesn't set up a lifelong hatred of our furry friends. I have a cute brown one with helicopter ears in the next room. She is alive, of course. She is trying to act like she isn't watching me now. I know she is. Any rustling sound will bring her scampering to my feet, begging for treats.
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I would HAPPILY donate that dam# 5 foot rabbit. I am 5'2" When I make mother's bed, I hold the rabbit by the ears and it is as tall as I am, ears included. I mean, a BRIGHT ORANGE rabbit. She drops it on the floor @ night and has tripped over it. She doesn't have dementia, she has a serious shopping problem. And it's 99% crap she des not need. what kind of irks me about this rabbit is that a=several years ago we unearthed her chiuldhood doll, a gorgeous Madame Alexander doll that had been, at one time, just exquisite. I took it and did some of the repar myself then had it professionally restored. It is the size of a newborn, so I dressed it in the outfit my older sister had been christened in. She did love it..then she put it on top of a heater vent where it dried up and cracked to pieces within a year. I kept moving it and telling her it could not take the heat. BUT..the rabbit showed up and took the place of the doll. So, I guess I am legitimately mad about that dumb rabbit.
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Why don't you move out and/or file a report with elder services, your local dept of health, etc?
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My sis is a hoarder, not as serious as those TV shows, but bad enough. I used to gather up clothes the kids had out grown to donate and she would 'rescue' them, one time they rode around in the trunk of her car for at least 6 months. When I cleaned out at my mom's I sent a lot of stuff with her to sell or donate. Guess where most of it still is?
She wants to get rid of stuff but just CAN'T. Since the kids and I have moved away the stuff has expended into the former bedrooms. It's a big house, but the clutter is starting to spill out into the rest of the house too. I shake my head when I visit there... I was once the main housekeeper/child caregiver there, and had some pride in the appearance of that place. It doesn't help that BIL hoards too, but all HIS junk is valuable LOL!
One day after mom is gone I will try to help her, if the kids don't hire a dumpster and toss it all first.
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