About Rae

My name is Rae, and I’m the daughter of a hoarder. I try not to let that define me, but this blog is all about my relationship with a compulsive hoarder. Otherwise, I’m happily married, with 2 beautiful daughters, and have a great career. I’m creative and love to sew, read, and pursue photography. And yet I struggle with my Mother’s mental illness. This is where I’ll try to sort out my feelings about the situation, and deal with the stress of trying to help someone who doesn’t want it.

Whenever I discuss compulsive hoarding with others, I find they think it’s just slightly more than average untidiness.  They’re amazed to learn how serious it is, and how devastating the results can be for the family of someone with the disorder.  They watch the shows like Hoarders or Buried Alive, and are disgusted.  Often, they’re compelled to go and purge some of their own belongings, or clean their fridge.  “How can anyone possibly live like that?” they ask me.  “Why don’t they just throw the garbage away?  They’re just being lazy.”  Well, that’s just not the case.

And so explains the name of my blog…I want to give you a personal view so you’ll see it’s ‘not just clutter.’

If you’d like to know more about what exactly is compulsive hoarding, my first post is a good place to start.

Want to connect?  I’d love to hear from you!

Twitter: @notjustclutter

Email: notjustclutter@gmail.com

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/notjustclutter/


  1. Anonymous
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Im getting a javascript error, is anyone else?

  2. Alison Dennis
    Posted July 31, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Hello, Rae. I just read about your blog in the comments of the Globe and Mail article on Hoarding. My parents were hoarders (at 93 and 94 they are both in long term care now) and I have spent months cleaning up their place, single-handedly. My two siblings have carried on the hoarding legacy and are little to no help in caring for my parents or in cleaning up after them.

    I think the worst thing about hoarding is that “things” are connected with by the hoarder instead of family relationships.

    I recently disconnected from my siblings and my health has taken a leap upward. Sad that I felt I had to do that, but I can only deal with so much stress. It’ll be me, single-handedly, seeing mom and dad through to the ends of their lives; that’s the limit of what I have to give to family, other than my daughter’s family (they are not hoarders).

    It’s out of love for family that we change the legacies handed down to us.

    • Rae
      Posted August 3, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      What a great burden for you! Can you tell me more about your clean up process? It’s something I’ll certainly have to face in the future, and I’m interested in how it’s going for you.

      I’m sorry you’re left to handle it all alone. It’s great you’re aware of the “legacy” to not pass it on to your daughters…but they’ll also get to see your capacity for compassion, and respect for your parents, who after all, are not just hoarders, but real people who love you in their own way.

  3. AnotherDaughter
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Hi Rae. 🙂 Really enjoy your blog. Am hoping you’ll consider allowing comments to be posted immediately and moderated after the fact as required. The style of moderation you’ve chosen can really impair participation and discourage communication and prevent serious engagement with what could be a community. Just a thought after a zillion person-hours on the internets. 🙂

    • Rae
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      Hi, thanks for your kind words. I’ll really have to consider your suggestions…I just realized how many legitimate comments were waiting for me to moderate the past few weeks. After getting a great deal of spam even using anti-spam plugins, I’ve been a little shy to loosen up on moderation. Thanks for sharing your experience interacting with my site!

  4. edith
    Posted February 25, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    I just read your piece in Psychology Today and I’m speechless. You practically retold my story word-for-word. Unfortunately, my mother suffered a stroke last week and now my brother and I must very delicately clear some clutter away to make room for my mother to get around with a walker. I say delicately because she is already so upset because of her health situation but I believe the thought of us going through her things is 10x more upsetting for her. I feel frozen in the face of our current situation. I want to help, I don’t want to upset and I want to protect myself from the way she will surely lash out when we clear away the clutter.

    • Rae
      Posted February 28, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      Edith, I’m sorry about your Mom. I hope she recovers well from her stroke.

      You’re right…she’s bound to resent your interference and lash out from frustration. She has less control and giving it up will not go easily.

      You’ll need lots and lots of patience. Understand she has placed value on her belongings, even if you can’t imagine anyone wanting it. Take photos along the way so you can see progress.
      Good luck. Let me know how it goes.

Have Your Say