Clutterer/hoarder - anyone experiencing this?


some family members are experiencing this, and i’ve been affected for a long time now. ive been having difficulties lately, difficulty in thinking, in handling problems, in focusing. Is there a patron saint for such? I’ve prayed dailyparticularly for my sister who has a problem with compulsive spending, but got tired and eventually stopped.


Why not pray to St. Martin of Tours who shared with a beggar out of his bounty?


Oh, my, I could have written that post, fin. I come from a family of hoarders, but my sister is the worst one of the bunch - totally addicted to buying stuff, especially on eBay. Her apartment is so crammed with stuff, she won’t let anyone visit her at home. She has stuff at my parents’ house, in nearly every room, although she has been moved away for several years. My dad expressed annoyance to me about it, but what can I do? I gently suggested to my sister that she has an addiction and should maybe seek help. She laughs it off. I finally decided I have to not worry about it and let her do what she’s going to do. I have no control over anyone but myself.

I guess they will deal with it one day when it really becomes a problem in their lives. We can’t save people from themselves. :frowning:


Guilty! :blushing:

My “hoarding of clutter” is partially unintentional, though. As a full time caregiver, I simply don’t have the time to go through all our closets and drawers.

I know some might say “MAKE time” :D. And I’d have to agree… that’s about the only way my closets will get cleaned out.

Every now and then… the “clutter” gets to me so much… that I take a drawer or two and empty them into the trash. But somehow, they fill up again. :rotfl:

God bless.


I have learned from experience that accumulating clutter is an unconscious attempt to keep you disengaged from doing something in your life, in general terms, achieving success, because clutter does distract you and prevent you from being focused.

I think the most important step for change is realizing what this clutter is accomplishing, and why it’s not helpful. It also helps to have someone else step in and decide which things you can get rid of – even having them be the one to donate the unwanted clutter to charity.


With regard to your sister having a lot of stuff at your parent’s house…Your parents need to take charge. If it were me I would get some cartons, wrap up all her belongings, and bring the cartons to her.
It is not fair for her to clutter her parent’s house.

No, we can’t save people from themselves, but we mustn’t enable them to keep doing what they are doing. They need to suffer the consequences.


With regard to your sister having a lot of stuff at your parent’s house…Your parents need to take charge. If it were me I would get some cartons, wrap up all her belongings, and bring the cartons to her.
It is not fair for her to clutter her parent’s house.

I know you are trying to help, and I do appreciate that. :slight_smile: But my mom is in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s and my dad is spending most of his time caring for her, so they are really not up to dealing with this. As for boxing up her stuff, I would need to rent a U-Haul - a large one. It is a stupendous amount of stuff, really too much for one person to handle.

I imagine once Mom is gone, Dad will put his foot down. I told him I would help him any way I can, including packing up stuff or whatever, which means my sister will probably quit speaking to me. :shrug:


Yes, the circumstances certainly changes the picture. God bless!


I am a clutterer too. I try not to be, but when I have spending money, it usually goes by fast. One time, I spent $400 at Walmart. Usually, I think of hoarders as those that have too many animals. I’ve seen shows like that were a man or woman have more cats or dogs than they can feed or take care of and the animal welfare organizations have to come and take them and make sure the animals she has are spayed or neutered.


I don’t have the time at the moment to do a search of patron saints, but the patron saint of those with addictions would probably be appropriate.

I think a strong devotion to any saint would be appropriate. You could pray to St. Francis of Assisi to free your sister of her bondage to material possessions.

You could pray to St. Joseph to be the head of your sister’s household.

You could pray to Blessed Mother Teresa to fill the poverty of your sister’s heart with Jesus instead of with things.

You could pray to our Blessed Mother to ask her Son to cure your sister of whatever ails her.

In short, any saint will do. Prayer is what matters.



Thanks guys, all your input has given me encouragement. I don’t want to lose hope with regards to my sister. Thanks for the advices everyone. Right now, something is about to change in my sister’s life, about to experience something new. She’s going to live in a different place by herself. I hope that this would give her training to be more in control of herself.


I am interested in what you said about having trouble focusing. Is that because you are thinking about the need to hoard? You *could * have ocd, which would totally stink for you, but there are treatments.


I live with a hoarder, and you can tell which areas of the house are his domain. The garage, the basement, and a spare bedroom downstairs. Drives me nuts. I did force him to clean out the garage last year so I could get my car into it, and there was a whole dumpster full of junk, and still half of the garage is full. The basement is unreal. We went down there for a tornado warning and I told him it was safer upstairs, less stuff to fly around and hit you, because everything is so precariously balanced. The rest of the house is my domain and I will not permit him to clutter it up. I cannot think with mountains of clutter around me, and I can’t stand not being able to find something, but it doesn’t bother him, and he knows exactly where his stuff is, which baffles me.

If I try to throw an old shirt or something like that into the trash, he always finds it and brings it back in. It is like he has a built-in radar. The rule is “Don’t touch my stuff”. For the sake of marital peace, I allow him to have his caves, otherwise we’d be fighting all the time.

I don’t understnd the psychology of this, but in his case I think it is an overreaction to having been brought up by his mother who was an almost compulsive cleaner, and my son, in reaction to his father’s clutter, was so obsessive about cleaning and clutter that his wife had to put her foot down about it because it was causing her to do unnecessary work and she couldn’t feel comfortable in her own home. Thankfully, they worked that out.


You know there’s a great and real relief with living with as little as possible stuff, in a neat and clean house.

Once you break that ‘I have to keep everything’ view and realize it’s the opposite of God’s, there’s great freedom.

‘Look at the lilies of the fields. . .’

Material things don’t go with you to Heaven. What you give away on Earth, goes with you to Heaven as an entirely new treasure of virtue.


I have been watching this Hoarders show on A&E and it is amazing to me. I wonder what the psychological problem is that these people have. From what I’ve seen, it’s not just a matter of keeping too much stuff. These people cannot even live cleanly, do simple things such as pick clothes up off the floor, etc. It is upsetting just to watch this stuff.

I let my office get really cluttered up sometimes because I get so busy and don’t have time to clear things out. Watching this bothers me about that behavior. It makes me want to throw everything I have out.


I couldn’t have said it better. I have tried to tell my sister how much better it feels to not have so much stuff, but she is obviously not listening. What she has is an addiction, and addictions have some kind of root - happy, well-adjusted people do not become alcoholics, for example. I have tried to tell her, gently and lovingly, that perhaps she should seek some help. I worry about her because she’s my sister, and I don’t know what is driving this addiction. Plus, it is affecting not only her, but others, because her stuff has also taken over my parents’ house.

My son told me that he feels uneasy when he goes to his grandparents’ house because he feels like all the stuff is closing in on him. :frowning:


Isn’t it wonderful to be free of stuff? :slight_smile: Then you focus more on what truly matters.

Perhaps you could persuade her to throw out just one ‘thing’ she’s truly attached to. Well, keep praying about it! It’s real progress once you break through the first wall of ‘I can’t throw anything out it might be useful someday’ despite the fact that all it does is occupy space.

A single victory against the passion of attachment to things can free you to win many more. :slight_smile: Throwing out something that truly hurts to do so for you is the start!


I have seen a few episodes of “Hoarders” on A&E. It is both fascinating and disturbing. The one thing that I take away from this show is that it really is never about the stuff. It seems like it is, but it isn’t. The hoarding is actually a symptom of something else being wrong in their life. Yes, they use the hoarding to fill a void or heal a wound and in that respect it is the same as a drug addiction or alcoholism. Something leads them to choose these things as their coping mechanisms and unless they get some spiritual and psychological help they are going to cling to their ways.

It will not help to bargain for them to give up just one thing at a time, they need a complete change in their way of thinking. Telling an alcoholic to just give up one drink a day is not going to make them less of an alcoholic either. Both need to get at the root of the problem to change.

I do agree that we should never enable anyone by letting them store things, just as we should not enable a drug addict or an alcoholic.

Prayer is still the best option for helping someone. Pray that they will get the help they need so that they can see clearly, for that is when the real healing begins. Jesus is the greatest healer after all.


Thank you. That is so true. My sister knows she has too much stuff, but she keeps buying more anyway. That is so not normal, it is obviously an addiction. Maybe she feels a void because she never married and started a family? Not sure. It is interesting to note that one of the things she collects huge numbers of is dolls - little people symbolizing the children she never had, perhaps? :confused:

I do pray for her, because, frankly, there is nothing else I can do. Trying to talk sense to her or suggest she get help goes nowhere.


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