Hoarder doesn’t know what the word “cleaning” means

There he goes again – “cleaning” the house. At least once a year, usually more in recent years now that he’s retired, my dad tries to clean the family home in which I grew up. He’s been doing this for at least the past 20 years.

Each and every time, he barely throws anything away while “cleaning”. No, his idea of “cleaning” is merely organizing piles of trash into boxes, shifting trash from one box to another, and relocating said boxes of trash from one part of the house to another. Today’s “cleaning” session is no different from the dozens of other sessions I’ve witnessed growing up in this household.

Some examples of trash that he “cleans” (as in: organize into boxes and shift around the house), to give you an idea, include but are not limited to the following:

  • Cables for computer hardware that has been obsolete for over 10 years now and chargers for devices that are long dead, missing or, again, obsolete
  • Flyers, brochures and other printed advertisements
  • Bits of metal and cables from what used to be a hard disk, laptop, some random home appliance… because who knows when you could use a spare part for repair (his words, not mine)

I can count the number of times, using two hands, he’s managed to fill more than one full bag of trash of 10 litres (about 3 gallons) in a single cleaning session. That’s pathetic when you consider the ample amounts of garbage lying around the house that has rendered the living room, dining room, downstairs bedroom and the largest bedroom, where he sleeps, completely unusable to anybody else in the household.

It was only a little over five years ago when I discovered this behavior was not normal and have only started opening up to several friends and family. The number of times I’ve been told “But at least he’s making progress” when I bring up the paragraphs above is shockingly high in proportion to the number of people told.

That’s not progress, far from it. That’s a miserable failure – you could literally fill a full-sized sedan with trash from one cleaning session without even trying. The number of things that are clearly trash that my dad just casually glides over during his “cleaning” sessions is ridiculous.

A few years ago, I came across the precise word that describes a person who enjoys collecting trash and holding on to it – a hoarder.

I don’t know if it’s the culture that people are used to (lots of hoarders in society who are from my parents’ and grandparents’ generations), or people trying to be polite and make me feel better (it doesn’t, your positivity literally does nothing), but hoarding is not “normal” behavior. And I will tell you all about it and the disastrous problems it brings upon everyone living with an individual who hoards…

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