Definite symptoms of a hoarder?
May 5, 2010 7:19 AM Subscribe
Is my wife on the way to becoming a hoarder...or is she already there?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (55 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
There have been previous AMF and MF posts on hoarding, but I simply can't tell if my wife is there yet. I know you are not a psychologist...blahblahblah...but advice is appreciated.
My wife has two cabinets filled with old Architectural Digests and other similar mags (she's been doing interior design on and off for years) I suggested it was time to get rid of some of them to make room. She was very angry at even the idea. She says she might return to them for inspiration. Truth be told she hasn't opened that cabinet in years except to add a new issue to the pile.
She has saved every piece of correspondence of the greeting card type from everyone she has ever known. When prompted to get rid of a 10-year-old holiday card from [insert relative's name here], she said she plans on making a big scrapbook someday and some of these cards would fit nicely in the book.
She's generally untidy. She doesn't throw hardly any mail away, but at the same time she generally has it strewn across large surfaces of the kitchen counters, almost as if it is pseudo-organized or that she needs to see it all at once. I once needed the clear to counters to treat the surface with a sealant, so I threw all of her stuff into a rubbermaid bin and let her know about it. She was very angry, first because she thought something might have been thrown away, but later because she thought she wouldn't be able to find anything.
I know...I know..typical hoarding symptoms already...but here's the kicker:
When we have company, she'll furiously "clean up", stuffing stacks of clutter into already overstuffed drawers. It's not infrequent that I find unopened mail (never bills) amidst all this stuff crammed in the drawers. The house will look so tidy that even some of my friends have commented to me that it must be nice being married to someone so neat and tidy.
She frequently laments at the mess around the house and in the garage, but not from the standpoint of needing to get rid of anything. It's more to talk about how we need to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars to have cabinetry built or storage solutions designed to neatly accomodate all the stuff.
So my question is this...does a hoarder progress through stages? Is my wife on that path? I thought hoarders didn't notice or care about messes and would never tidy up to hide such an appearance to others. or might they? Or might something else be going on here?