I was considering writing something with a hoarder in it and I was looking for some kind of biography to get an insider perspective. When I read this book, it inspired me to clean my apartment and also drove home the love you can have for your family even in the face of serious problems.
Kim grew up with her father being a hoarder. It would start with newspapers and magazines and pamphlets and it would gradually get to the point where they had to climb over things to get to other rooms and they couldn’t open the fridge and they were just eating what was not spoiled in the cabinets. They would just leave the house they were in and move to a new house where it was clean and cut their losses after some years.
Miller goes into details about what it’s like living in a house filled with garbage. She talks about the rodents and the mold and her mother adding to the problem. She talks about her own anxieties about ending up the same way. She talks about the shame she felt having to ask for help managing her parents’ situation.
One of the things this book helped me with was seeing her relationship with her father. He knows it’s a problem and he’s apologetic about it but it’s a compulsion he can’t seem to keep a grip on. It helps because it lets me know that people who really love me won’t turn their backs if I end up hoarding.
Because I’m always walking a thin line between chronic untidiness and hoarding. It’s a major anxiety in my mind that someday I’ll cross that line and not be able to pull myself back. It’s a serious relief to see that you can still be loved if that does happen.