We live in the 3-room apartment in a big story building. A few years ago, mom started to collect large amount of clothes and different useless items, that other people were throwing out of their home (she looked out for it in local trash boxes around the city).

Her apartment is filled to the top with plastic bags full of clothes, the only place left is small corridor to her bad, but even that corridor is partially blocked now by some stuff.

Our entire apartment is filled with rummage and junk.

I’ve consulted the professional psychiatrist about the case, and he said there’s not a lot that can be done: she’s not presenting any danger to surrounding (by the law, in our country, you can only isolate a person if they represent danger to people around, and she just quietly collects gigantic amounts of stuff in our home, so, no direct danger to anybody).

Not that I want to isolate my mother, or put her in a room wrapped in cushions, hell no.

But I want to help her somehow and help myself - the amount of clothes and items in the bags is so big, that it reaches the ceiling and I can even barely move through the rooms and it’s hard to do my ordinary everyday tasks, like cooking or cleaning. For example, to open a fridge door, I’ve to pull aside a big box, left after a water boiler, filled with clothes up to the top, pick something out of the fridge, and move it back.

All that situation upsets me a lot, and I don't know what to do (especially, after medical professional wasn't able to help).

Please help.

  • How old are you? Are you adult, or a child? – sleske Dec 1 '16 at 9:36
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    Sorry, but IMHO this is off-topic. parenting.SE is about people "with a parenting role", not about any type of family relationship. Questions from children are okay, but only if they are about the parenting relationship to their parents. You might consider asking at health.stackexchange.com . – sleske Dec 1 '16 at 9:45
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    I voted to close this because it is off topic. Hoarding is a serious medical issue and easier to help the earlier it is dealt with. Please get your loved one the help she needs. The med. professional you spoke doesn't sound like they have a clue, or you asked the wrong questions. This is not about being a danger to herself or others, or a family member or you getting to be in charge of her, though it could lead there. Yes, she has to agree to get help. You could get some counselling to find out how to help her see that she does to get that medical help. – WRX Dec 1 '16 at 14:37
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    Move this over to Health S.E. and then please check your city's fire codes and/or have an inspector come in. If there would happen to be a fire, the chances of escaping are lowered by the amount of stuff in the house hoarding also presents a significant danger to firefighters who maybe searching for victims. – L.B. Dec 1 '16 at 15:30

This is hoarding disorder, which is a recognized illness, and I've known people who have it to a large and small degree.

For one friend who just brought junk home from work or from trash areas along the way home, his wife would cart out several boxfulls every month or so (though not impacting more than 5% of what he had on hand). Unfortunatley she could not tell if it was good junk or just junk, and he would always be wondering why he could not remember where he put things, or why he could not find something he was sure he had.

I also had an antisocial neighbor many years ago, who pretty much wouldn't even say hi to anyone, but whenever he opened his door you could see floor-to-ceiling boxes of stuff (mainly newspaper) and a very small pathway into his apartment.

There is also a more recent neighbor whose place is so packed, she has resorted to having parts of the outside street loaded with pallets of junk that is bundled with tarps. She also lives in the house with live chickens, and no electricity (because she is crazy in other ways, and refuses to pay the bill). This is in a warm climate, so she doesn't freeze to death.

Hoarding can be serious, and actually dangerous (for example, in the event of a fire).

I suggest reading more about this, as it is getting more attention. One part of the problem is that people with this generally do not see it as a problem, which makes it much more difficult to address. There may be some local psychologist who might have experience with this, or perhaps even a support group (local or online). I wish you the best in this situation.


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