It's hard to have a parent who is a hoarder. When this son is worried about his dad, he takes to the popular Reddit forum to ask:
To start off, my dad stays at home most of the time. He rarely leaves the house for more than groceries and he lives on his retirement. He has a giant pile of boxes in his bedroom, some of which are filled with my childhood things like artwork, medical records, etc.
When I asked him if I could look through his boxes with him he said no, and when I asked if I could have all of my paper he retrieved a single document for me and said that’s all there is. That’s not true. I saw him only open the box on top. I’ve been to doctors countless times as a kid, and I know he clings onto every piece of paper including all my report cards.
Now here is where we are different, he is a big procrastinator and a clutter bug. I like to have all my papers in one place and I’m organized. The last time he looked in one of his boxes there was dust and bugs, so he gave up.
This was a few years ago. In case of an emergency like a fire or burglary I want to know exactly where my documents are. Or if the unspeakable happens to him, I want to have time to mourn instead of filtering through a mountain of boxes.
This is when I got the idea. He will be traveling to meet family next month and I will have the house to myself for a couple days. He doesn’t know what’s in the boxes and has them covered with a blanket so he doesn’t have to see them.
He won’t notice if the blanket is misplaced, because he actively avoids looking at the clutter mountain in his bedroom. If he’s not going to let me be proactive I want to go behind his back. I am an expert at finding things.
I won’t pause for a second on anything that doesn’t have my personal information on it. I’ll only take paper with my full name and my medical records. And lastly, will he ever find out I did this? Probably not. I’ve tried showing him the decluttering Marie Kondo show, setting an example with my own room, and lent him some books on tidiness. He shrugs them off and has no idea what’s in his boxes.
I think part of it is his upbringing, he comes from a very different time. I don’t judge his unwillingness to declutter his own things, that’s his choice. It just irritates me that he won’t let me find my own papers. I don’t want to lose his trust but I won’t get an opportunity like this in a long time, maybe never again. AITA?
YTA . Yah some of it is yours, great. Does that excuse the massive invasion of privacy of going through all the OTHER stuff that isn't?
NTA. Of course you would be breaching his privacy, and that's bad - but parents are supposed to be the competent stewards of this type of information, which fundamentally belongs to you, and be prepared to relinquish it. Retrieving it in his absence is just an unfortunate moral compromise.
As an alternative, have you tried asking for specific documents? Your birth certificate, insurance in your name, vaccination records, etc. If you haven't, he may be more cooperative in getting you out a specific document than a nebulous 'idea' of documents.