Home Forums Challenges Living with Clutterers Am I enabling a hoarder?

This topic contains 9 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Ella 7 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #159437

    Zora
    Member

    My next-door is a sweet little Vietnamese named Le. Often I save myself a trip to Goodwill by showing her items that I’m decluttering and asking if she wants them. She will usually take them, asserting that someone in her large extended family will be able to use them.

    However, after a visit to her house to help her hook up the TV I gave her, I’m starting to wonder if I’m enabling a hoarder. Her house is packed. It’s dark and claustrophobic. True, the stuff is orderly and dusted, there’s no garbage, and there are open spaces. No goat trails. Also, she’s sharing her 700 square foot condo (same size as mine) with a husband and a disabled, retarded daughter.

    Should I be giving her more STUFF, or should I take it to the Goodwill?

  • #191142

    emjayjay
    Member

    Am I enabling a hoarder?

    Continue giving your friend the choice. Let her govern her own life.

    Whether you are or are not enabling someone else’s hoarding really isn’t your concern. Just take care of yourself. If you think about it, deciding and then governing Le’s choices would in itself be a form of hoarding: mentally taking on more than you need to be responsible for.

    Also, think about your stuff that does go to the Goodwill. What if hoarders buy it there?

    In my view, it’s all fine. We’re each doing what we need to do now. If Le or anyone else has a need to accrue stuff, so be it. Haven’t we all been there before? And many will remain that way.

    Happy decluttering.

  • #191146

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Am I enabling a hoarder?

    Our city used to have a quarterly overflow collection day. We’d take everything to the curb the night before. Within an hour, and many times within just a few minutes, it would all be gone except for what was truely garbage. I often wondered who was taking all the stuff. If it was useful to them in some way or if it added to a horde. There are most likely horders who shop at Goodwill and all the other second hand stores. I still take things to Goodwill.

    I rarely ask anyone if they want my stuff because I’m concerned that they will feel obligated in some way to take it. One of the few times I did was when I forced a journal on my mother because I could never find something to write on when I went there. She said she wanted to use it as a diary and I haven’t seen it since. I’m sure it’s somewhere, unused because she felt it was too nice to use for grocery lists and notes. *sigh*

  • #191256

    genny
    Member

    Am I enabling a hoarder?

    I would go straight to the goodwill with it. Some people just cannot resist free stuff, and they are the ones who really need to resist it. Your neighbor sounds like one of those. She seems to be just hoarding it and preventing it from being put to any second use.
    Besides, when I get rid of stuff, I don’t want it living next door to me.

  • #191286

    jbeany
    Member

    Am I enabling a hoarder?

    I’ve got a couple hoarder friends, and I have a similar problem. I almost hate to send them anything for X-mas and birthday gifts. For the one, even cute note cards make me flinch, because I know she’ll never throw them away. I hate feeling like I’m adding to the problem her children are going to have to deal with when she dies.

  • #191316

    Rosa
    Member

    Am I enabling a hoarder?

    Me too, jbeany. I’ve stopped even handing things down to one of my friend’s kids, because I helped her clean it up a few laters and finding our old baby things in the dirty piles just made me really sad and angry.

    I would go straight to Goodwill too, unless you think it might hurt her feelings.

  • #191318

    Anonymous

    Am I enabling a hoarder?

    I think in many Asian cultures being polite and giving gifts is highly valued, so she may be saying yes to things thinking it strengthens your friendship. Of course I’m speculating, but I’d agree with Rosa- I’d generally take things to Goodwill unless you think she’d be upset.

  • #191320

    Ella
    Member

    Am I enabling a hoarder?

    I tend to agree with camellia tree’s speculation that your neighbor has a cultural politeness about accepting gifts. I think you might hurt her feelings or make her think she’d done something wrong if you suddenly stop without an acceptable explanation.

  • #191326

    Zora
    Member

    Am I enabling a hoarder?

    She IS willing to turn things down, so I don’t think she’s feeling obliged. She’ll come over to my house to sort through a pile of stuff; some she’ll take, some will go to Goodwill.

    But I do think that it might be a good idea to take stuff to Goodwill before tempting her with more. I can stay on good terms by continuing my occasional gifts of homemade bread. Bread is not clutter 🙂

  • #191327

    Ella
    Member

    Am I enabling a hoarder?

    Nice solution, Zora. A good neighbor is precious. 🙂

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