Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Life with a hoarder has become a nightmare

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My husband and I are in our mid-50s. We were married four years ago. We are both highly-educated professionals.

My husband bought his parents' home almost 20 years ago. Unfortunately, he is attached to the decaying belongings left by his parents and other relatives that lived in the house.

He promised me before I moved in that we would start clearing out the house and make the overdue and necessary renovations.

Over the years I have tried to understand his attachments; I've sought counseling for us, and tried to get him to talk with a de-clutter specialist. He will have none of it. I have done what I can to clear it out, but it has been a constant battle.

Last summer, neighbors filed complaints about our home with the county. We were told that our job was to get rid of the stuff! We were supposed to meet with a contractor next weekend.

Last night he got a box and began clearing out bags of old twist ties, wine bottle corks, broken utensils, etc.

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I said, "Where is that going?" He said, "Into the basement; I will go through it later." He then said that he does not want to renovate the house, he is not getting rid of anything and he never confirmed the meeting with the contractor.

He basically said that if I want to leave, I should. Amy, if the house and all this stuff means so much to him, then why doesn't he take care of it? Everything is just heaped in piles.

It is becoming more difficult for me to live here. I'm having nightmares about being suffocated by an avalanche of stuff!

Should I figure out a way to live with this, or should I move on?

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