Reddit Reddit reviews Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House

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1 Reddit comment about Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House:

u/sethra007 ยท 4 pointsr/hoarding

Welcome to the sub!

I'm sorry you're having to deal with this. Having a hoarding parent is very, very tough.

Let's address some of your questions:

> First of all, where do you draw lines with your children and their grandparents when they are a hoarder? I can barely stand to be in the house without extreme anxiety. But then I feel guilty when she insists on having people over to her house. Is that strange?

Not at all. In fact, depending on the level of the hoard, it would be the sane reaction to being surrounded by potentially harmful waste.

> Do most hoarders have issues with wanting to have people in their shit? If you touch anything or move anything, the usual happens.

Oh, heavens yes. That's a very typical reaction.

The tl;dr version is that hoarders tend to crave control. At some point they lost control over some part of their lives and were traumatized as a result. The hoarding is about re-establishing that control, including making sure no one threatens their hoard in any way. That includes even touching their things.

> She always wants to have my five year old over for sleepovers. My five year old wants to, because she loves her grandma. But I am completely torn between wanting to support their relationship and making sure my child isn't unsafe. The piles of shit. The animals. Not to mention that my mother doesn't listen to expiration dates.

If you've ever watched the t.v. show Hoarders, one common theme you'll see is relatives refusing to let children visit a hoarding family member because of safety concerns.

You mentioned that your mom is an animal hoarder. If she's a typical animal hoarder, that means that her house is no doubt has animal waste (urine and feces) in inappropriate areas of the home.

You also mentioned you have a five-year old. To be blunt, there is no way in hell I would let my five-year-old child visit my mother (or any other relative) if her house contained animal waste. That's actual not-even-kidding-you bio-hazardous material. Such an environment is not safe for an adult, let alone a child.

You can support the relationship while establishing boundaries. Consider telling your mother that as of X date, your child will no longer be coming over to visit until she cleans up after the animals.

I'm going to recommend that you take a look at the book Children of Hoarders: How to Minimize Conflict, Reduce the Clutter, and Improve Your Relationship by Dr. Fugen Neziroglu. The book explores strategies for communicating with hoarder parents, and outlines practical intervention skills. It also shows readers how to let go of the personal shame and guilt associated with being the child of a hoarder.\

> I live near my mother. I badly want to move away so I can have a viable excuse for not being there at all.

One of the things I found when I visited the Children of Hoarders website was a shocking number of people who moved away from their hoarding parents and never looked back. They had tried and tried to help the parents change, and finally moved away so they could reclaim their emotional health.

If you feel that it would be better for you and your child to put some physical distance between yourself and your mom, don't hesitate to do so. You have a right to peace of mind, and if being further away from your mom will help you get there, then so be it.

> My second issue concerning fear and guilt is with my own relationship. I have huge fear about becoming a hoarder, as well...Does anyone have advice concerning how to see hoarding tendencies in yourself, and how to deal with them if found? And how to reassure yourself that it is normal to keep the things you do keep (like warm clothes for winter)?

I personally did a lot of reading about housekeeping. The book I found that help me to allay all of my concerns was Home Comforts: the Art and Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson. This is not a book of "tips" but an encyclopedia, and it addresses every possible question one could have about how to keep house--including how much of certain things you should reasonably keep on hand.

I also found an article online years ago (sorry, don't recall the source) about building a wardrobe and identifying holes in it. That, combined with observing what my (non-hoarding!) friends and family members kept in their closets led me to formulate this approach to keeping clothes.

I've also kept a list of the Things I've Realized As I Fight My Hoarding Tendencies, which has helped me keep my eyes on the prize, so to speak. Sometimes reminding yourself of those life lessons can help a ton.

You might want to check out another book: The Hoarder in You: How to Live a Happier, Healthier, Uncluttered Life by Dr. Robin Zasio (who's been featured on the t.v. show Hoarders). Zasio shares psychological and practical advice for de-cluttering and organizing, including how to tame the emotional pull of acquiring things, getting a handle on clutter, and creating an organizational system that reduces stress and anxiety.

Please feel free to come back her and vent, or ask for assistance, or just go through some of the posts here. I especially recommend you check out the Hoarding Resources stickied on the front page of the sub.