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My Mom is a Hoarder!

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Whether it's Jimmy Choo shoes, antique clothing, or even old copies of their favorite magazine, most women will admit to collecting something in their lifetime. But when does it turn from hobby into hoarding -- a life-altering obsession -- and mental illness?

Today on Buzzfeed, they featured some incredible pictures of a "packrat" mom's house. And the sheer volume of the clutter, boxes, and knickknacks will ASTOUND you.

We spoke with a hoarder quite like this one. In Part One of our two-part series, we'll meet Jennifer, a wife and mother of two, who says that the thousands of things she has amassed from flea markets, thrift stores, and the streets are treasures. Her 13-year-old daughter, Betty, disagrees and thinks her mother's obsession is just plain embarrassing.

Tomorrow, in Part Two of our series, we get a more in-depth look at how debilitating hoarding can really be -- sometimes resulting in serious mental illness. We'll meet a young woman whose mother collected so much stuff that she was literally pushed out and became homeless due to her severe case of compulsive hoarding disorder. Things got so bad that the city threatened to take her mother's home away, so she and her brothers stepped in. What happened next was something no one expected.

Also tomorrow, an expert clues us in on what's really happening in the lives of hoarders. How can you tell if someone you love is just obsessed with collecting -- or if they are suffering from a very real case of compulsive hoarding disorder?

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next: Recognize These Stars?!
4 comments so far | Post a comment now
Leeza May 5, 2009, 8:33 AM

I am a Mother of grown kids. I was raised by a Mother who hoarded and my Grandmother was also a hoarder.When each of them passed away,I was the one who had to empty out their homes and clean their homes to prepare them for selling.That process is etched in my mind FOREVER!In my home, if there is even a hint of clutter in a closet,a drawer,the garage or basement,I start to feel anxious at the thought of what these little piles of clutter can eventually grow into!As soon as I get a free hour,I pack up the clutter and bring it to Goodwill or give it to nieces & nephews that are just starting out and have little, or I make some calls to my friends to see if they know who could use the stuff.I feel good when others can use the stuff I no longer have use for.I don’t throw things away,for there’s always someone with less than! The cycle of hoarding in my family has been broken by ME.Thanks to my Mother and Grandmother.

Annette May 5, 2009, 8:52 PM

Hello, my name is Annette & I love throwing things out! I think I’m like the poster above who lives in fear of clutter. The house I grew up in was full to the brim with knick knacks and crap and it’s dirty. It’s worse now than ever. Don’t worry though, I don’t send everything we toss to the land fill. FREECYCLE people! It’s great!

Claudia  May 6, 2009, 1:51 PM

Hi my name is Claudia and I am a production assistant at Screaming Flea Productions in Seattle, WA and we are in production of a new documentary series about compulsive hoarding. We are seeking individuals and their family who suffer from compulsive hoarding who would be willing to share their story with us on camera. Our goal is to help those whose lives are in crisis because of their hoarding as well to educate the public about this disorder. Everything is free for the guest. We are offering free professional support from either a therapist or professional organizer who are specialized in working with hoarders. As well as a free cleanup crew to help assist during the cleanup process. Free storage for a month and maid service is also included in exchange for participating in the show. If you need more information please contact me Claudia at cbaker@sfpseattle.com

jessica December 28, 2009, 11:34 PM

compulsive hoarding is a serious problem, but speaking as the daughter of someone who hoards things, it’s very embarrassing. You can’t have people over, I’ve never invited a friend over because our house is so horrible. I think serious hoarding is triggered by big issues, my mom started when my dad lost his job….she freaks out when me and my sisters try to clean and has been known to throw tantrums…to be honest i’ve given up on it and i’ve just vowed that my house will never be like the one i’m in now


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