Windsor hoarder wants help before he gets sick, loses home

A 62-year-old Windsor man wants help with his hoarding problem before he gets evicted from another apartment building.
Hoarder looks for help 1:19

A 62-year-old Windsor man wants help with his hoarding problem before he gets evicted from another apartment building. 

"This place is in such condition that only I am probably able to navigate this place because most people would probably fall or injure themselves if they were to attempt to get in here," said hoarder Brad Baylis. 

Bailys admits he's a hoarder, but says he doesn't fit into the typical image people may have of one. 

"Usually you think of somebody who's rather pathetic, I know that's an unfair way to put it, but you think of somebody who has no friends, who is pretty much ignored by everybody, or ignores everybody and lives in his or her own world," he said. 

Brad Baylis has been hoarding since he can remember. It started with not being able to get rid of all the newspapers he was reading. (CBC)

Baylis was diagnosed with borderline schizophrenia, personality disorder, OCD including hoarding, in 1971, but he remembers the problem starting long before then. 

He started reading when he was about three years old and as he grew up he started collecting newspapers in his room, which his parents would clean out when they became concerned. 

Not much has changed in 50 years. Baylis' apartment is cluttered with newspapers and empty food containers, which he admits creates a very unpleasant smell. 

"I have extreme OCD, obviously, and I have about 50 garbage bags down here, so I have to look through all that, so I can begin putting these papers and the cans in there and I can begin taking them all out," said Baylis. 

Baylis wants to connect with local agencies, which may be able to help him.  

"Maybe somebody that could come every week or so and we can talk about what we're doing and help me clean the place," he said. "Individualize the aide."

He'd like to buy a computer so he could read different articles and publications online so he doesn't have to buy them.

"So I would have one fewer excuse to clutter the place," he said.

'He might be lying there dead'

Brad Baylis says he's probably the only one who could navigate around his apartment without getting hurt. (Aadel Haleem/CBC)

Baylis has been on disability since the 1980s, making it his only source of income. 

He does not own a television or computer and calls himself an "avid reader" of newspapers, magazines and books which he stores in his apartment. 

"If I could talk to somebody and sort of train myself to get rid of everything right away, not that I haven't been told this before, I've been told this all my life, but now it's becoming essential," he said.  

So essential his sister, who lives down the street, hasn't come to visit him in a few years. 

"She was blaming me for all of it, and that causes a little bit of friction, although I know she's right," he said "She thinks a lot of it is laziness. Obviously she's lived with me when we were kids and she knew I had this problem, they all knew I had this problem. I guess in those days people didn't consider hoarding and OCD some sort of disability."

Baylis said one of his sister's biggest concerns is that something bad may happen to him and his family wouldn't know. 

"Yeah, it concerns me because she's absolutely right. You'd like to think if I felt sick I could get out of here in an ambulance, without them having to maybe…get through all this mess." 

He wants the help so he could live a normal life, but also so his loved ones won't be worrying about him. 

"I don't want them to think, 'well he might be lying there dead.'" 

'Hoarding coalition'

Last year, Windsor's fire department announced a new strategy to deal with hoarding.

Fire chief Bruce Montone said at the time that hoarding is a safety and health concern in Windsor.

Montone said there is more public awareness of hoarding today, due to reality TV shows such as Hoarders.

Windsor Fire and Rescue said last year that "a trend of increased cases of hoarding has developed in Windsor."