Sunday, January 8, 2017

The hoarder and the aftermath

Two doors down lived a hoarder. In just a few short years he filled the entire house with things, floor to ceiling. He filled the entire garage with things. When the three story home and garage were packed to the brim he began to fill the backyard with things.

The hoarder rode a bicycle around town all day and brought back loads of street corner finds, dumpster finds... I don't think he purchased any of his hoard, or at least not much of it but he spent seemingly his every waking hour on collecting.

Despite how important the things seemed to be his home began to crumble. Weed trees along the edges of the house and garage started to grow into the roof. Portions of the hoard barely contained in the front porch began to push out windows. The hoard had officially taken over. That's when the city stepped in.

The city cleaned up the outside hoard two times, billed him for it, and then I hear they put a warrant out for his arrest for not meeting a court date. He moved out when he got in trouble. We (the nosy neighbors) don't know where he went but I've seen him riding his bike around town with bags full of things dangling from the handle bars. I can only assume he's now collecting at a new residence.

I know his sister took responcibity at one point. I'm not sure if she was trying to get him out of trouble but for several weekends in a row she had a dumpster brought to the house. Men who worked with her husband were hired by her to clean out the kitchen. Several dumpsters later the kitchen was emptied.

I watched as the bank put a foreclosure notice on the front door. Weeks later, now in the frigged cold of winter a group of people are clearing the house out once again. I don't know who they are, if they bought the house at auction, if they were hired by the bank or the city; This time they're getting rid of everything. From morning to night for the past three days they've been filling big black garbage bags with the hoard and throwing them into the backyard. It's been awhile since the backyard pile was in place but the enormous pile of black bags is familiar to us neighbors, even though they've a very different purpose now.

Not once, as far as I know, not once did the hoarder himself get rid of anything. He collected. He stored. He worked feverishly to fill every inch of the home with stuff, with things, to insulate it with collecting. Yet now, tireless hour after tireless hour, through the smell (I've seen many face masks sported over there), and the filth, through the horrible neglect and pointless piles the collection has been removed by so many different people who I can only guess detested the chore.

The whole scene hits me in a strange way since I spent eleven years of my life in a home that collected its own hoard. After the bank foreclosed on that house it was demolished. But I can still remember the stench. So many of my childhood relics were lost to that house. I despised that place. I'm glad it's gone. But watching the scene two doors down I can't help but feel bad for the hoarder. I honestly feel really bad for him but somewhere inside I'm also furious at the disease, I'm furious that so many other's have had to clean up his mess. There's no reason for it. There's NO good reason these people should have to be wasting hours of their lives over there, with those big black bags, and dumpster after dumpster. Something about it infuriates me.

This is where I take the scenes I've watched play out two doors down over the past few years and think about myself. I can't help but wonder if there's anything that I collect, anything that someone else has to clean up after. The first thing that comes to mind is how ridiculously opinionated I am towards my husband's family. It's almost as if I collect opinions that I won't let budge, opinions that do taint me like the hoard pushing out the windows on the front porch at the hoarder house. And I think my husband is the one that has to clean up after my collection. Maybe clean up isn't the right expression but in a way he has to deal with the weight of it. How much time do I waste on things that don't matter, things that just create messes and who ends up dealing with it in the end? Honestly though, that's just the first thing that comes to mind. I hope I'm not collecting things that others will ever have to clean up after.

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Sunday spending
Food groceries: $28.48

13 comments:

  1. What an interesting perspective. It has been a thought, frequent thought, particularly after my parents and sister died about what my own hoard might be when I pass. I too would hate to have my children deal with crap that I wasn't willing to deal with when alive. My parents did a hefty purge twice that I know of, the first was when they moved from the dilapidated farmhouse to the new split entry home built farther back on their property. They brought the necessities and only the items of real value, monetarily or sentimentally, and the rest went. When thirty years later they moved into a town home, they did another purge, and took even less with them. After they passed away, it was a relatively easy clean out, and I will always be grateful. I dread what we will have to do with my MIL, who just has so much stuff.

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    1. It is a really intriguing thought, the idea of someone else having to go through all of your things, or like you said a family member having to deal with crap you weren't willing to.

      I have thought several times recently, "what if total strangers were tasked with cleaning up my belongings?" The people two doors down are just throwing away almost everything. How many hundreds and hundreds of my belongings would a stranger consider junk? How easy would it be for a stranger to just totally clear out my home? I mean, just asking myself those two questions makes me realize that a lot of what I keep is really unnecessary.

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  2. I totally share your feelings on this.

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    1. It's honestly some pretty intense stuff.

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  3. I feel sad for the gentleman involved. I can't really relate, as I detest clutter, but I can imagine, like any disease/mental illness, you are unable to see reality & determine when you have "enough".

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    1. I feel sad for him too. All of us neighbors kept watching his house get fuller and fuller (don't get me wrong; we don't talk about it with each other but we all saw it happening). I wanted to do something but my husband said I was crazy. "What can you do?" It was true. There wan't anything I could do but I felt really bad for him... and just watching it get worse and worse.

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  4. That is a pretty amazing self reflection you have going today. I am impressed with it and now I have to start thinking about unnecessary negative thoughts I carry and work on ridding myself of them. Thank you for the inspiration.

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    1. I certainly wasn't trying to ruin anyone's day :)
      I've been watching the most recent stage of clean up from my kitchen window every time I wash dishes or use the sink for anything for the past three days. I just keep thinking about it.

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  5. Have you ever read my post about how hoarding killed my best friend?

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  6. The post about hoarding killing my best friend is on my blog...look at the list for hoarding. It is sad. I titled it something like clutter killed him, but a hoarder told me to use the correct word--HOARDING.

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    1. Wow... I'm almost speechless. I hadn't read that post by you before. That is so very sad. I'm so sorry for your loss also.

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    2. I was in shock and depressed for a whole year. I just could do nothing that ever brought me joy before that. Then, 911 happened and my brother died suddenly in December. It was not a good year for me. Thank you.

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    3. I cannot even begin to imagine. That was such a life changing, heartbreaking event... What an awful year!

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