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My father saved everything he owned and more,why did he do this?

He grew up poor and so did his mom do this.He saved old,worn out things,like a old worn out cookie sheet,he collected plastic boxes,bags,and tons of old towels and rags.When he got a gift of new clothes,shoes,socks,underwear or anything he wouldn't use it and would continnue to wear holey worn out clothes and things.He was also very cheap and saved his money like crazy,does this sound like a mental illness or a post traumatic experience duting the great depression?He's dead now,my mom and I are cleaning up his stuff and we have gone through piles of unopened clothes and gifts,even food as gifts he didn't eat.


Asked by Anonymous at 6:43 PM on Jul. 23, 2009 in Relationships

This question is closed.
Answers (7)
  • I would bet money your Dad was raised by or is a depression era baby. When people are poor and have nothing they take NOTHING for granted. It took me years to figure out why my mothers squirreled away pennyes, literally and was a pack rat. It isn't mental illness. It is ingrained, learned behavior born of dire circumstances. They rarely get to the point where they feel like they aren't at risk of losing everything.

    Answer by GrnEyedGrandma at 7:38 PM on Jul. 23, 2009

  • You answered your question right at the top. Many of these symptoms have everything to do with his background.

    Refusing to wear the new clothes could have been a dementia symptom as well.

    Answer by gdiamante at 6:45 PM on Jul. 23, 2009

  • bullsh*t, that's not dementia. That's what he was taught. Use what you have until it wears out then use the new (or buy new). When I was growing up we bought new clothes but couldn't wear them unless it was for an occasion but not for everyday use. Sometimes those occasions never came so the stuff stayed in the closet. Who wants to dirty up new clothes if there is no where to wear them?

    Answer by admckenzie at 7:12 PM on Jul. 23, 2009

  • My mom would try to throw out a old worn out cookie sheet and he would get mad at her and save it in the garage.So either he was mad that it got worn out and he had to buy another one and ,I'm sure that was partly the reason he got mad and then he couldn't let her throw it away because he used pieces of metal and empty plastic containers,like butter spread ones to hold rain water or drips from the ceiling,so I think he was thinking of what he could use a old cookie sheet for but it got pretty obsessive with all the clutter he kept.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:24 PM on Jul. 23, 2009

  • this sounds like my mil and her boyfriend. all the shit they save makes me crazy...cluttered is not the word for their house! the boyfriend even saves lottery tickets and doesnt even scratch them and gift cards and refuses to spend them. but they arent cheap people...they buy everything in excess. one day i ran into them at bedbath&beyond and i swear, they had an entire cart filled with thanksgiving placemats because they were on sale! seriously, are we expecting the army at our next thanksgiving day feast??? then there is the crazy stuff they save too, like a rotted 4-by-4 we had to sneak to the garbage bc they were so mad when we tried to throw it out. hey, you never know when youre gonna need a rotten piece of wood? a bag of stuffed animals from the 80's? or clothes from the 70's that have been sitting in a damp basement for 30 better save than sorry right?

    Answer by brodysmama23 at 7:43 PM on Jul. 23, 2009

  • "bullsh*t, that's not dementia."

    I said "could have been." There are cases where dementia patients aren't able to care for themselves. But MOST LIKELY in this case it is indeed just how this person was raised, to save everything. My dad did a few things like this. We found tax records going all the way back to my childhood. Why? I dunno. But I learned that he supported us in 1972 on a salary of less than $14,000. Those were the days!

    Answer by gdiamante at 8:07 PM on Jul. 23, 2009

  • It is a mental disorder called hoarding

    Answer by rkoloms at 8:49 PM on Jul. 23, 2009