While growing up in a chaotic and hoarding environment, I was extremely worried about “being like my mom” because of the amount of stuff and odd way that we lived. I shared this fear with a camp counselor when I was about 12 and she gave me some great advice. Essentially I was reminded to focus on what I wanted and how I wanted to be. It has been years since I had that conversation but I remember it vividly, as it was a ray of hope in my life at that time and remains one today.
If you were or are living in a hoarding environment, here are some a few ideas that might be helpful for you to carve out some space for yourself:
1) If you are fortunate to have your own room, define that space and let the hoarder know they cannot under any circumstance to put any of their items in your room.
2) If you are fortunate to have a “corner” or place in the home, let the hoarder know that you need a space for your stuff and tell them to keep their stuff out of your area.
3) Remember: it isn’t selfish to have some personal space for yourself.
4) If you are a student, you may be able to establish a “homework zone” or desk space that you use for school and let the hoarder know that you need this space to work so you can pass your classes.
I did have success with these strategies as a teenager growing up in a hoarding household. I wish you the best as you survive the hoarding environment. You can escape, but until you do, please know you are not alone and that there a many of us who have gone on live different non-hoarding lives.