Annie Lane: Hoarding addiction might bury me alive

Published 5:49 pm Friday, February 11, 2022

Dear Annie: I am a single and retired homeowner. The problem is that I have a spending addiction where I nickel-and-dime myself to death. I literally cannot stop.

My house is full of things I have bought, and while not stuffed from floor to ceiling, it puts me at risk physically. I am willing to admit I have a hoarding problem and have to clean out the house, but most services to help hoarders are too expensive. I am disabled and find myself overwhelmed at the thought of tackling these problems, so I do very little.

I know I have to do something, but none of the things I have tried so far have worked. I am afraid that I will die one day, be discovered buried under stuff, and leave a mess for my friends. HELP!!!

— Stuff Addict

Dear Stuff Addict: The first step to solving a problem is recognizing there is one. Not only have you done that and expressed you want to change but you recognize that the way you’re living now is putting you in harm’s way. It’s time to take action.

A simple internet search for junk pickup services will show what’s available in your local community for free. Anything that is broken beyond repair or simply garbage has to go. Items that are fully functional but no longer serve you are just waiting to be of service to someone else. Consider dropping off donations at your local Goodwill store or scheduling a Purple Heart pickup from your home. Consult their websites for information on what makes for an acceptable donation first.

This will help with the state of your home, but you must also tackle the state of your mind. Work with a therapist to uncover the root of your hoarding compulsions and strategies on how best to discard them, too.

• • •

Dear Annie: I read your answer to “Speed Bump in My Speech,” who debated whether or not to include she has a speech impediment in her online dating profile after doing so for years and attracting the wrong matches. I’d like to add to your suggestion.

I am a 47-year-old woman and have walked with a limp since birth. Many years ago, when I was looking to settle down, my parents suggested I not mention the limp during the initial phone call days. To them, I am a very well-educated, intelligent, charming woman who guys will find hard to say no to, especially after great initial conversations. I followed it for almost six months and realized when guys found the limp off-putting, I was severely depressed for the first time in my life.

That’s when my best friend mentioned that written words have immense power and suggested writing down the qualities of the man I am seeking in my diary. With that clarity and a few months’ time later, I was lucky enough to fall in love with and marry the first person with whom I decided to go on a date. I told him about my limp within 15 minutes of our first conversation. He matched the exact qualities I was looking for in a life partner. We have been married for over 21 years now and have two beautiful daughters.

I wish all the best for “Speed Bump” to find her love.

— Quite Requited Love

Dear Requited Love: Thank you for your letter; I love a happy ending.

Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.