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To Sam

Hoarding parents

Hi Sam, I don't know if it's hoarding or not but I'd really like to find a name for it. My parents can never clean the house and when they do they just hoover the floor and say that's cleaning when it obviously isn't. The sofas are full of clutter and the wardrobe and any free space we have that isn't the floor is full with mess. They also get angry if I try to organise it or clean it. Also I need to see whether there's jobs a 12 or 13 year old can do so I can move out as fast as possible. I don't know anywhere that hires this young though but I don't want to live like this anymore.

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Living with difficult behaviours and conditions can have a big effect on you, especially if you’ve not been able to change things to make them easier.

Hoarding is when someone is when someone collects lots of different things and keeps them in a way that clutters up the house and makes it hard to manage. You’ve said that you’re not sure whether what’s happening is hoarding, but what’s important is that your home is having an impact on the quality of your life.

Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure at home, and if you’re not having your basic needs met then it can be considered neglect. It’s always okay to get support if you’re worried about things with your family. Asking for help can feel scary sometimes, but it’s important to remember that asking for support isn’t to get anyone in trouble, it’s just to make sure you can feel safe at home.

Some young people have said that they feel embarrassed talking about things at home - if that’s the same for you then it can help to remind yourself that you’re not alone and what’s happening isn’t your fault. When you decide to tell someone, it can help to think about who you’d trust to talk to first, what you’d like to say and the best time to start the conversation. Childline counsellors are here to support with anything, and it can really help to tell them what’s happening as well. They can talk to you about your home and help you feel more able to get support in the future.

It sounds like you want to get a job to help take control of things at home. I can see that you want to move out, but unfortunately, it’s not always that simple. When you’re under 16, your parents have a responsibility to take care of you and meet your needs. This means that you’re not allowed to move out, but it also means that it’s even more important to get support if things are hard at home.

Even though you can’t move out, it can help to think about ways you could take a break from home, this could involve staying with other family members, spending time with friends or finding ways to make your own space. I can see that your parents have gotten angry when you’ve tried to organise things, but when it’s safe to, it can help to talk to them about ways of making things easier for you at home.

Whatever’s happening, Childline is here for you. Whether it’s to vent, ask for help, or ask for advice you can always speak to the counsellors. They’re here for you 24 hours a day on the phone and online.

Take care,


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