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Thread: My dad's clutter is driving me crazy

  1. #1
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    My dad's clutter is driving me crazy

    My dad recently got evicted from his apartment. My wife and I agreed to let him move in with us. We're not charging him rent, but in the end we worked something out where he gave us the equivalent of a 6 mo's to put towards our mortgage

    We (wife and I) are recently married (we got married in January) and we just bought the new apartment at the beginning of July. There's a lot of stuff to set up as before we'd always lived in pre-furnished apartments. When my dad got evicted, we were still doing repairs but the place was liveable.

    When my dad moved in, he pulled up with about 3 moving vans worth of stuff. 90% of it is junk. He had entire boxes of expired cereal and condiments. A 60-gallon garbage bag of old shoes and rags. Several computers going all the way back to the 90's. Kitchen appliances that barely work or are broken entirely. Dozens of rusted out pots and pans, hundreds of knives which are mostly dull and don't cut. Boxes of cassette tapes, VHS tapes, and players that aren't compatible with anything that works today. You get the picture.

    We spent two days getting rid of maybe 75% of the stuff. The stuff that remains is STILL enough to fill up my living room, my guest room, half the kitchen, and spill over into the master bedroom. We can't get anything delivered (like furniture) or even do the necessary repairs because there's nowhere to work.

    This is really driving me crazy. We tend to be pretty minimalist. Both of us were able to move most of our stuff in the back of my friend's pickup truck in one afternoon. That's for two people. And somehow my dad manages to have three times more than both of us put together.

    What can I do? I have half a mind just to call a waste disposal company and throw out some of the stuff. We've gotten rid of the stuff that we're sure is junk, but he also has several filing cabintes of old papers which he claims are important and can't be thrown away.

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    Has your father had a lot of trauma and loss in his life? That tends to go hand in hand with hoarding . Hoarding is a Mental Health issue which needs treatment.

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    Also getting rid of everything they hoarded will not solve the problem it makes it worse actually.

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    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    Rent a storage unit and let him haul his stuff and keep it there until he gets up on his feet and gets his own place.

    That said, how was he evicted but able to give you money for a mortgage deposit???? Is he having some old age issues that perhaps you aren't aware of yet? Not able to manage things properly anymore? Maybe you need to focus less on artificial things and pay a bit more attention to what's going with your father's health and what is the long term plan for him - health, living, money.

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    My mom died in 2013 while I was in grad school, and I think even though they were never really close, he still never got over it.

    I think in some way he feels guilty for not being the best husband he could have been. In the run-up to my wedding he was constantly giving me a lectures about taking my marriage seriously and stuff like that.

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    Originally Posted by DancingFool
    That said, how was he evicted but able to give you money for a mortgage deposit???? Is he having some old age issues that perhaps you aren't aware of yet? Not able to manage things properly anymore? Maybe you need to focus less on artificial things and pay a bit more attention to what's going with your father's health and what is the long term plan for him - health, living, money.
    Maybe evicted wasn't the right word for it. His old landlord passed away from a heart attack (they were army buddies), and the family sold the building to a developer. The developer just decided not to renew the lease because they want to renovate the building.

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    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear this. Was he evicted for hoarding? It's a health hazard and very stressful to have junk and clutter everywhere. Unfortunately hoarders are more attached to their junk than to people. They generally do not care about health, hygiene or others.

    Sadly you'll have to keep calling rubbish removal firms because he will claim everything is "important" and he can't part with it. If he insists something is vital, get a storage unit for his stuff.

    Often the stuff they hoard is loaded with beg bugs, various insects, rodents, and a lot of toxic mold and mildew. Keep in mind he will be very combative about it and continue to collect junk and trash and keep piling it up.

    You and your wife are probably already feeling the effects of it health wise and stress wise. Don't let his "illness" make both of you sick. Eventually it will strain your marriage. You probably already have headaches, arguments and general distress because of his "illness".

    I disagree with pampering and indulging people like this. Why must many suffer so one individual an worship filthy trash? Landlords who evict these people have the right idea.

    Landlords typically evict people like this because of the health hazards and reduced access to appliances, etc. It is also a serious fire hazard. When the 6 mos is up find a way to get him out.
    Originally Posted by cinadan
    he gave us the equivalent of a 6 mo's to put towards our mortgage

    What can I do? I have half a mind just to call a waste disposal company and throw out some of the stuff. We've gotten rid of the stuff that we're sure is junk, but he also has several filing cabintes of old papers which he claims are important and can't be thrown away.

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    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by cinadan
    Maybe evicted wasn't the right word for it. His old landlord passed away from a heart attack (they were army buddies), and the family sold the building to a developer. The developer just decided not to renew the lease because they want to renovate the building.
    Ah, well that makes a big difference then. Still, my suggestion would be to focus more on the where he should move to from here rather than his things. It sounds like him staying with you for an extended time will simply strain or even break your relationship and otherwise make everyone miserable and there is no need for that. It's not just about his things and clutter, but everything else too. Better help him find a comfortable place and help him move into that before it all blows up on you all.

    Rents are cheaper than normal right now, so not a bad time to get something good. There are also age restricted communities, not senior care, but so called adult only or 55+ type and in some areas they can be much cheaper than market rates in terms of rent and very nice to boot.

    It will probably alleviate the problem and tensions much faster and in a more practical and permanent way.

  10. #9
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    It's a good thing to support family when times get tough, or help them with a place to live are limited or just for companionship.
    However, collecting/hoarding comes in many forms and as you eluded to , many do hold on to stuff after the loss of a spouse or parent to keep them alive.

    I would bet that this is quickly going to become a wedge between you and your wife and can only get worse.
    Hoarding in minor and major forms is a mental illness and can't be "cured". If you take away 4 boxes, eventually that space will be filled with 4 new boxes.
    The best thing you can do is rent a storage facility for his stuff that HE pays for an he can access, and let him know of your real feelings about your living space and keeping it tidy.
    You must give him some ground rules that no more "stuff" is allowed back in the place (he will probably try) after it gets moved to the storage facility.

    Since hoarding doesn't have a good cure and removing the stuff on their behalf causes more pain and friction, all you can do is allow them to collect it offsite.
    It's the only win-win. he gets to keep the junk, and you can maintain the home.

    Besides the hoarding, if other issues arrive with him living there, you have to do your best at keeping your marriage healthy and find him a new home to live in.

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    Honestly, its not healthy as newlyweds for a relative to move in. you need your time to be newlyweds - and i am not specifically referring to sex. If dad can afford to pay you, he can afford a place on his own nearby. I definitely would get a storage unit for dad and encourage dad to keep his most precious things and in-season clothes in his room. And allow a few family momentos in the main house area. He should keep all the basics that are duplicates to your home that he would need to move back out (dishes etc). If you like having dad there, maybe buying a house with an inlaw apartment or finding out if there is a small apartment available in your building.

    It is okay for dad to keep things as long as its not total trash (old greasy pizza boxes). Its just encroaching on your space - but a lot of things he has are probably very reasonable for him to own after a lifetime.

    Truth be told, I still have boxes in the basement from when i had a house. I just have never been able to go through them.

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