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Another Sad Hoarding Story


A few months ago, I posted about a 73-year-old man in England who had hoarded over 100 tons of trash in his home and the city was called in to clean up his place. Now, a 74-year-old man in England, who is not the same guy, has just died, tragically, in a hoarding mishap.

An eccentric loner is believed to have died of thirst after becoming trapped in a bizarre and intricate network of tunnels built from rubbish in his home.
Investigators believe the labyrinth was so complicated that Gordon Stewart, 74, may have become lost inside it. It is thought he may have died as a result of dehydration, after becoming unable to find his way out of the stinking mass.
Neighbours had become concerned that they had not seen him for several days and raised the alarm.
According to witnesses, the officers were faced with mounds of foul-smelling garbage which he had used to construct tunnels around his home. Police called in a specialist diving team last Friday afternoon because the smell from the house in Broughton, Buckinghamshire, was so overpowering. They discovered a confusing system of tunnels networking around the interior of the building, with Mr Stewart lying dead inside.

Man, that is absolutely nothing but sad. Dying of thirst amidst the garbage you brought in. Yeesh.

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Hell. Every time I see one of these stories I am more convinced than ever that this will be my mother's eventual fate. Right now she can hold it together downstairs knowing that grandchildren are coming around, but the upstairs can only hold so much and it's beginning to creep downward. I already have to clear a passage to get in to her bedroom.

PaddyDog, my grandparents and numerous aunts and uncles have hoarding problems. One of my aunts could easily go three years without washing a single plate and throwing porcelain dishes away like paper plates...and she would still have enough porcelain plates to fill up her backyard!

My grandparents went back to the motherland earlier last year, and the children and grandchildren decided to break into their house to throw junk away. We found a skeletonized mouse. I made a vow then to throw. shit. away.

I hear you Amanda. I once threw away important documents because the sight of them piling up on a shelf made me fear I was heading down the same path so I dumped them in a frenzy only to realize that I actually needed them. Now I'm an obsessive filer.

Got 'em in my family, too (I'm on the crazy gene, apparently). The worst is an uncle/aunt combo whose home is crammed with too much furniture to move through, hundreds of cages of finches, and a basement full of orchids. Even my step-family has them: my step-father's ex wife is an old lady packrat, and her grown daughter has the same bad habit (neither can throw out a newspaper or magazine to save their lives--going back decades). They almost but not quite have the tunnels.

Conversely, I "shed" crap every year or two, religiousy...like Paddy, partly out of fear.

I live by the "one year" rule. If I haven't used it in a year, and there isn't a specific instance in the upcoming year that I know I'll be using it... out it goes. Important documents/records are exempt. I haven't regretted tossing anything yet. Which reminds me... I have some law school outlines from 3rd year that need to be trashed/shot at/burned.