Hoarder of two decades cries when rescuers try to clean her house

05 Jun 2023 10:12am
Trashes such as plastic, paper, and empty bottles filled the entire space of his house. Photo from Marina Ibrahim's Twitter
Trashes such as plastic, paper, and empty bottles filled the entire space of his house. Photo from Marina Ibrahim's Twitter

SHAH ALAM – For the past two decades, a woman and her two teenagers have been living amidst rubbish piles scattered around her apartment unit and the building’s corridor at their home in Skudai, Johor.

Pictures of her home were shared by Skudai assemblyman Marina Ibrahim to raise awareness about hoarding disorders during a cleaning programme with Johor menteri besar and excos at Sungai Skudai Kampung Bakar Batu in Perling.

The series of posts has since gone viral on social media.

“The aunty cried and did not let us clean her house. When we looked into her house, we were shocked by the situation.

“For 20 years, she had been hoarding the stuff, even neighbours were surprised and did not know she was living with her two children in a room (in the house).

“She has no intentions of throwing away her stuff, there were dried orange skin, expired food, spoiled kekabu pillow and she even kept paper trash in plastic bags,” the post read.

In the pictures shared, trashes such as plastic, paper, and empty bottles filled almost the entire space of his house and it had extended to the corridor of the building.

“In fact, the space to enter the house is limited,” Marina said.

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Marina highlighted that this was a hoarding disorder, where someone acquired an excessive number of items and stored them in a chaotic manner, which usually resulted in unmanageable amounts of clutter.

She said that when the team tried to clean the house, the woman’s children also screamed, asking them to stop cleaning the house.

“Based on my experience, if they are not being given the help, the children would also follow the mother’s footsteps,” she said, adding that Social Welfare Department was alerted to offer counselling for those affected.

She also shared her experiences cleaning similar houses for people with hoarding disorders where she encountered a house with wasps and snake eggs.

“In a fish container, we found wasps and had to call the Fire and Rescue Department.

“When the weeds (around the house) were cleaned, there were a lot of snake eggs,” she said in the posts.

Marina revealed that in the previous programme, the hoarder was a nurse with depression who sought help when a python entered her house.

In another programme, the team helped an uncle who collected plastics and aluminium items.

The Twitter thread received various reactions from netizens, with many stressing that these mental health conditions should be taken seriously.

Twitter user @melatijelitaa commented, "Yes, a disease, but women really like to keep things. I feel like throwing it away. Let’s not touch that thing until now.

“Who knows if this hoarding disorder has a cure or treatment or way of intervention?

Another user @einztrigger said “It is common to hear that if you clean the house of a person with a disorder, it is a neverending problem as they will start collecting stuff again until the house is full. Endless cycle,”