Living with a hoarder in the family

(Fotolia)

(Fotolia)

Jenny Yuen, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:03 AM ET

When clutter starts piling up in Alison’s apartment, she starts to panic.

Not because she’s a neat freak. Because it’s a trigger to her traumatic upbringing in a hoarding environment in Newmarket.

Despite now living in a seniors’ home in Kitchener, Alison’s mother Sandra, 66, is still a hoarder.

“I have post-traumatic stress disorder from her,” said Alison, 35, requesting anonymity. “You can get it clean, and instantly it’s a mess again.”

Hoarding ran in the family. Her grandmother had a tendency to let newspapers pile up 30 years ago.

“Grandma’s house was so bad there was one bedroom packed solid up to the ceiling and she’d go by and stuff paper in the crack at the top of the door,” Alison said. “One day, it actually burst into flames and took the house down. My mom said she would never be as bad and she was just as bad, and in some ways worse.”

Sandra collected clothing, newspapers, broken toys and candy to the point where she lost some teeth .


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