Debrief Staff | Contributing Writer | Sunday, 21 June 2015

Things You Need To Know About Living With A Hoarder

Things You Need To Know About Living With A Hoarder

The Debrief: Our correspondent Lily* tells us what it's like to live with someone who hoards and hoards and hoards...

Illustration by Amrita Marino

Our correspondent Lily* lived with a hoarder over four years, moving once halfway through, where the hoarder ended up in a slightly smaller room than before and making the problem 'more apparent'. Along the way, she learned some things about living with a hoarder. And here are those things, should you ever end up living with someone who just can't get rid of those plastic bags…

They will hoard. And hoard and hoard and hoard

What’s dangerous is when you live in one place for a while, because then that’s a great hoarding opportunity and you can end up accumulating more and more – and more – stuff. We lived in one place for, like, two years and she had the biggest room, so it was a constant keeping of crap from birthday cards to clothes she hadn’t worn since university, or even longer than that.

They really won't get rid of it

She had shoes that were taped together – even if they were falling apart she wouldn’t get rid of any of them – we were like 'Don’t sellotape them together, buy new ones, throw them out!' but she just wouldn’t do it. Even when we moved, she was just moving shit around.

It's not out of frugality

It’s an attachment thing. It’s not that she was tight. She’s always buying new shit and there were loads of photos everywhere which must have been sentimental – whenever you walked into the room, the frames would all fly off the mantelpiece.

They will hoard stuff they don't even need, but someone else...might?

Even when it was absolute shite, she would hoard it. For example, there were loads of receipts but not for a tax return or anything, just to have. She'd also keep bills, and cards; her bedside drawer was just rammed with them. There were also loads of old fancy-dress costumes... tutus and shit, plus an alligator costume from uni which had loads of Jaegermeister down it. Really grim things.

The bookshelves are packed

Normally I wouldn’t want to hate on books because they’re educational material and I love a good book but her bookshelf was packed, back-to-back, four books deep and it’s like, when are you going to read that again?

They'll be sensitive about all their stuff

When we moved she went to a much smaller room so it was really obvious how much shit there was in there. I would often go into her room and have to tell her to sort it out but she would say: 'It’s my stuff’. And I’d be like: ‘This isn’t stuff this is rubbish’. So yeah, it might bum them out as much as it bums you out.

They won't mess up your communal areas... at least not all the time

She was good with cleanliness, but there was always a lot of crap around in the kitchen and stuff. She would constantly buy new things – which were also pretty useless, too. Plus, the kitchen cupboards were rammed full of Sainsbury's carrier bags; you’d open a cupboard and they would all suddenly fall out.

There's a difference between a floordrobe and a hoardrobe

When it's five-year-old fancy-dress costumes all mashed up on the floor, that is not a floordrobe. That's a hoardrobe.

You love them in spite of all of the above

After all, if they're your mate, you put up with their crap.

As told to @sophwilkinson, by an (obviously) anonymous source 

Illustration by Amrita Marino

Tags: Housemates Head To Head