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  #151  
Old 09-04-2012, 09:25 PM
j666 j666 is offline
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I did mean donate. I donate anything that is at all still useable.

In the market for about 20 pairs of size six pumps?
There are charities that specifically collect clothes for job interviews.

Size six? I don't know, maybe some junior high kid needs a job?
  #152  
Old 09-05-2012, 12:59 PM
perfectparanoia perfectparanoia is offline
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There are charities that specifically collect clothes for job interviews.

Size six? I don't know, maybe some junior high kid needs a job?
Har har. (I am actually trying to get rid of them before my eight-year-old wants to borrow them. She is a size five now. )
  #153  
Old 09-06-2012, 11:08 AM
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StarvingButStrong StarvingButStrong is offline
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Broomstick, I highly recommend Dropbox.com for offsite storage. Quick, easy, and free for the basic account that holds way, way more than you need, so long as you're not storing tons of pictures and music.

No more panic over losing important digital stuff.
  #154  
Old 09-06-2012, 11:12 AM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is offline
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Broomstick, I highly recommend Dropbox.com for offsite storage. Quick, easy, and free for the basic account that holds way, way more than you need, so long as you're not storing tons of pictures and music.

No more panic over losing important digital stuff.
Seconded (and check out the Marketplace thread to get referral codes, you and the refer-er get extra storage that way).

We're uploading things to Dropbox as we get them scanned, and it's reassuring to know that they're on the Dropbox servers, as well as on the 3 household computers that are linked to the account. I figure the odds of *all* of those going south at once are reasonably limited.

Space-wise: right now I have 52 meg used for the financial scans; assuming I wind up with 10 times that in use once we're done, that's 520 meg, or about 25% of the basic Dropbox free account. It's *extremely* easy to get some extra free storage, and with a tad more effort you can get even more (e.g. if you have a smartphone, set it up to do auto-uploads of photos).
  #155  
Old 12-02-2012, 02:26 PM
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Broomstick Broomstick is offline
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Anyone up for another round of encouraging decluttering?

Since the garden harvest is in, we haven't had any more plumbing disasters, and the latest round of work craziness is over it looks like I'll finally have some time to get some stuff done.

I think on this day off I'll clean up the "third room" (it used to be the spouse's laboratory/workroom but now its not. We haven't come up with a good name for it yet.) I've been using it for a laundry and garden implement drop-off space, so I'll do more of that, cleaning out more of the junk. The Master Plan is for it to be a combined storage and work room for me. If I can get the rest of the garden implements stored for the winter and get a little more space cleared for the spare blankets and linens that'll be a good thing.

Here's hoping we have no more invading raccoons or sudden need for ceiling repairs (it's sort of amazing how absurdly eventful my life can be).
  #156  
Old 12-02-2012, 02:49 PM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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Size six? I don't know, maybe some junior high kid needs a job?
Hey, I'm 44 years old and generally wear a 6 in dress shoes. (Which I rarely wear anyway.) My mom does too.

Last edited by Eva Luna; 12-02-2012 at 02:49 PM.
  #157  
Old 12-02-2012, 03:28 PM
Seanette Seanette is offline
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I'll join in. Storage room is still a jumbled mess, as are under-the-sink areas. Throw in DH's pending layoff (scheduled for end of June), and we have emotional clutter impeding efforts to deal with physical clutter.
  #158  
Old 12-02-2012, 05:04 PM
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Ah, that actually worked!

Got a spot in the third room with the blankets and linens. Still have clean laundry to hang up, but it is my day off, I don't have to do everything today, just make some progress. (I might resume putting that stuff away after dinner)

Also cleaned up the plant bed on the south side of the building. You can see the lawn/path lights again! Also get to the vehicles without battling plants. Yes, I consider my living space as a whole when I say "clean up". Also, since the garden is a food production facility is in the spring/summer/fall it does require maintenance else it, too, becomes cluttered with dead stuff, weeds, and windblown trash. We won't be getting many more 60 degree days until spring, I just had to take advantage of this one.
  #159  
Old 12-02-2012, 11:27 PM
Sarabellum Sarabellum is offline
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I've been mostly treading water in my attempts to get cleaned up. It's like playing whack-a-mole. Get the kitchen clean, now the bathrooms are filthy. Get the bathrooms under control, now I'm behind on laundry. Get laundry caught up, now the kitchen's a mess again. Sigh.

Small victory: I was able to have company.
  #160  
Old 12-03-2012, 02:29 PM
The Devil's Grandmother The Devil's Grandmother is offline
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I took some stuff to Goodwill last week. Then on Friday, I had to open my sweater chest to find something else, and I finally got motivated to clean it out too. Now I have a new bag of stuff to go to Goodwill.
Baby steps are still steps.
  #161  
Old 12-03-2012, 05:23 PM
perfectparanoia perfectparanoia is offline
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Christmas is coming at our house. The time for peace and joy for everyone.

And the time when cleaning things out is no longer an option at our house. To put up the decorations, everything must be clean and tidy to start!

So, this weekend we cleaned out my daughter's room (well, actually she did the cleaning out but we helped her to get organized. It sounds like it should be easier than just doing it myself but I assure you, it would have been easier to do alone). The storage closet got cleaned out (in an attempt to find the boxes that I just knew I had).

Next weekend is taken up by my son's birthday. (Yes, the whole weekend. My family couldn't all come at once so we are having four gatherings at our house for it. <sigh>)

I try to clean out every closet and cupboard every six months and at that I am failing miserably. I haven't touched anything since March. Still, I have been maintaining the clutter pretty well so nothing is totally out of hand. I am carving out two days in January to at least start tackling it.
  #162  
Old 12-03-2012, 06:17 PM
Lsura Lsura is offline
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I let things slide for a while, but over Thanksgiving I got the kitchen back under control (especially the cabinets where I'd just started putting random canned goods in no organization. I have lots and lots of beans and pumpkin because of this).

Rest of the apartment got a good going over. I need to deal with the second bedroom again. It's nowhere near as bad as it was, but when I don't stay on top if it I tend to start using it as random storage. I have 2.5 weeks off this month, though, so I'll have some time to really get into it.
  #163  
Old 12-03-2012, 08:06 PM
rocking chair rocking chair is offline
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things got derailed while the bathroom was being remodeled. now i've got to get it straighten up and get the bathroom stuff out of everywhere else.

and clean everything in the kitchen where the tile was cut. i do love the dishwasher!!
  #164  
Old 12-03-2012, 08:39 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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I've discovered something that really helps me with doing a thorough, deep clean and de-clutter - throw a Halloween party every two years. I was raised to not be able to stand the thought of having guests over to a messy, dirty house, so I clean it from top to bottom for the party. I think two years is about as long as you'd want to let your clutter build up, too - any longer and it would start to become a bit overwhelming, I think.
  #165  
Old 12-03-2012, 10:05 PM
carnut carnut is offline
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My mother passed away several weeks ago so my home de-cluttering has been put aside in order to clean out her condo so we can get it on the market. Unfortunately, this means I am bringing more clutter into my house.

I have vowed that I am going to use some the same techniques we are employing at Mom's to sort my own stuff - invite in a couple of friends to help me sort. It does seem to make a quick job of paperwork, excess outdated stuff in the kitchen, etc. But it must wait a while. Sigh. At least we have made massive progress at Mom's.
  #166  
Old 12-06-2012, 12:55 PM
Sarabellum Sarabellum is offline
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^^Was your Mom's place cluttered? It's good that you've had a little practice so that you can be realistic about what you have room for.

That was very difficult for me after my grandmother passed - there were literally a hundred things from her house that I would have liked to keep if only I'd had room. As it was, I probably kept a good dozen or so things that I really didn't have room for, and that are now what I call "clutter bottlenecks". For example, I couldn't let Grandmother's beloved tea service go to the estate sale so I took it. But I don't have a cabinet shelf large enough to accommodate the massive tray, so it must remain out on display all the time.

It's silverplate, of course, and therefore must be polished regularly.

Have I ever actually USED it? No.
  #167  
Old 12-06-2012, 10:31 PM
carnut carnut is offline
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Sarabellum, she was actually pretty good about things until the last couple of years. But she had lots of stuff from her own mother, who was a good artist. I don't want that stuff to go by the wayside, but I also don't want my brothers to grab them just to put 'em on eBay either (one has a partner with a serious buy/sell habit).

We've made it through the clothes, jewelry, kitchen and paperwork. Now we've got the good china cabinet, storage area and furniture to go. Then, we can prep the place to be listed.
  #168  
Old 12-15-2012, 06:07 PM
Sarabellum Sarabellum is offline
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I made some headway towards getting caught up on laundry again, but darn it all if my four kids don't seem to KNOW that Mom's trying to get caught up and they increase their laundry soiling production threefold to account for it!

But Muahahaha! It's also time for our annual Christmas toy culling in advance of getting new toys. I got rid of 2 and a half garbage bags full of stuff that is rarely played with yet frequently gets tossed on the floor for me to pick up. Maybe it won't be as hard to keep things clean for the next couple of weeks.

While I was working on laundry/toy-culling, my youngest son managed to get hold of TWO boxes of wooden matches (500 per box) and toss them on the kitchen floor. I thought I might cry. Those are the worst kind of messes - it only took 5 seconds to happen and it took soooo long to pick them all up and get them back in their boxes, crawling on my hands and knees.

It's very discouraging. I could use a hug.
  #169  
Old 12-15-2012, 07:34 PM
Seanette Seanette is offline
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{{{{Sarabellum}}}}
  #170  
Old 12-20-2012, 01:22 PM
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Broomstick Broomstick is offline
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I made some headway into the "third room", cleaning off 3 feet of the long workbench, filling up one trash can with garbage, and then moved some of the crap on the dining room table onto the workbench. Yes, it is shifting stuff from one place to another, but I'm cleaning off more of our actual living space and did toss an actual can worth of trash. Progress!
  #171  
Old 12-20-2012, 03:27 PM
The Devil's Grandmother The Devil's Grandmother is offline
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Good for you Broomstick!
I took some more stuff to the Goodwill this week, and got rid of a printer that's been non-useful for years. I got a whole shelf back, so now I get to decide which stack of books to put on it. Baby steps are better than no steps, right?
  #172  
Old 12-20-2012, 04:59 PM
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Baby steps are the only steps I've had these past few years. I've learned to celebrate the small.
  #173  
Old 01-03-2013, 03:30 PM
perfectparanoia perfectparanoia is offline
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My housecleaner offered to clean out my kitchen cupboards free of charge. I hadn't noticed how disgusting they are.

I really need to do it myself, though. Guess that's on for this weekend.

I got a label maker for Christmas, though. Excited to start labelling things!
  #174  
Old 01-03-2013, 03:41 PM
The Devil's Grandmother The Devil's Grandmother is offline
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I cleaned off the top of the bookshelves in the living room, and I dusted the ceiling fan. Obviously I need to have tall people over more often. I don’t look up often enough, I guess.
  #175  
Old 01-04-2013, 01:10 PM
perfectparanoia perfectparanoia is offline
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Oh, dear. Now I think I had better dust the things that are too tall for me to see. Which are legion. (I'm 5 foot 2.)
  #176  
Old 01-04-2013, 05:33 PM
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StarvingButStrong StarvingButStrong is offline
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I'm back on the 'throw one thing out each day' system.

Definition of 'thing' is flexible. A garment, a book, any object. A handful of coupons will do when I'm desperate. It doesn't sound like much, but a major change is visible by May or so.
  #177  
Old 01-05-2013, 09:50 PM
shantih shantih is offline
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I have just spent the last three straight days clearing up my daughter's room. She's had the classic 10 pounds of stuff in a 5-pound bag situation going on for years, compounded by her tendency to treasure absolutely everything that comes within her sphere. She's 12, and has literally not had an orderly room since she was an infant, and a pretty young infant at that. (Gaah, why must people send stuffed animal after stuffed animal? How many stuffed animals does any child need?)

Anyway, my family was away for the past days and I stayed home with the dog, and took ruthless advantage of the opportunity. Oh, I was merciless! I'm confident that I didn't discard any actual treasured things of hers, but I'm equally confident that most of the stuff in her room was just background crap that she couldn't even see anymore; there was just so damn much of it all there. I went through absolutely everything and spent the last phase watching Doctor Who while sorting decks of cards and discarding everything that wasn't complete. The trash bin outside is full to bursting, the stack of things downstairs to be sorted for the next children's bazaar has quadrupled (woe to me if she discovers it before I can smuggle it out of the house), and there is finally room for everything that remained in her room, along with floor space. Floor space! For years on end, it's been a struggle to walk from the door to her bed without stepping on anything, and now the floor is clear and vacuumed.

Gah, the dust on every surface! It gave me such satisfaction to wipe every surface, thinking of my girl breathing non-dusty air when she gets back tomorrow.

I hope she likes the change!
  #178  
Old 01-06-2013, 12:15 PM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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The kittens have now gotten big and curious enough to jump up to the top of the bookshelf in the second bedroom, nearly shattering a ceramic lamp that my mother made in the process. So apparently it's time to rearrange that room so the short bookcase isn't next to the tall bookcases, serving as a handy stepping-stone.

Which will cause a cascade of stuff, including taking down a shelf on one wall that was there when we moved in so there is room for the bookcases to go along that wall, and possibly touching up the paint where the shelf brackets were. Which means we now have to figure out what to do with the stuff that was on top of that shelf. GAH.
  #179  
Old 01-06-2013, 01:23 PM
bobkitty bobkitty is offline
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I hope she likes the change!
Congrats on all the hard work, and I genuinely hope she appreciates what you've done!

Just a note of caution, however- she may react poorly, and you should be prepared for that. This would have freaked me out when I was a kid- my mom regularly played the game of "What the hell happened to all my stuff??!!?" on me, and never handled my 'lack of appreciation' well.. I really believe this back-and-forth played a serious role in my difficulty in throwing things away now. She always swore she never threw away anything 'important,' but the thing was that her idea of important and my idea of important were two entirely different things, so the creepy-as-hell porcelain doll that my grandmother's neighbor had given to me but I was never allowed to touch (not that I wanted to!!!) survived the cull, but my absolute favorite, still functioning, lamp that I'd had since I was a toddler didn't.

If she does respond poorly, perhaps letting her help you go through the pile for the bazaar will help.
  #180  
Old 01-06-2013, 07:52 PM
shantih shantih is offline
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I do hear you, bobkitty, and I appreciate your words! Thankfully, when she walked in her room today she gasped and gave me a huge hug and proclaimed me the best Mama in the world, which was a major whew. When I was her age, I had the same attachment to my Stuff, so I understand what it feels like.

The thing is, she had a proto-hoarder thing going on; pathways from one area to another -- more like tiny islands in a sea of piles, actually -- giant, tottering stacks of things and papers and toys and games with the occasional bit of laundry shoved between layers, and everywhere dust. She deserves better, and it was an impossible situation for her to get under control by herself. I discarded things like stacks of wrestling chips, which were popular with her friends more than three years ago, and the garage toy that she had disassembled more than a year and a half ago so she could clean each piece and reassemble (it was still as grubby as it had been the day she took it apart). Games that she's owned for more than two years (up to 5) which had never been played with got dropped in the bazaar pile. Blankets and throw pillows were moved into a storage closet. Anything that was stained or broken got discarded.

Whenever I hesitated on anything, the question was whether there was any realistic chance that my girl actually loved it or if it was something that was weighing her down. Things that had been closed up in boxes or were at the bottom of dusty stacks, I figured there was no way she could even remember them.

I wanted to make it possible for her to keep her environment in order by herself, and for her to feel refreshed by her surroundings instead of swallowed up by chaos.

Please tell me you left that creepy doll behind when you left home. *shudder*
  #181  
Old 01-07-2013, 11:58 AM
perfectparanoia perfectparanoia is offline
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I was lucky. When my room got messy, she would threaten to clean it up (which would mean that anything that got in her way was trash). That would get me in there right quick to make things orderly.

This weekend I got everything I had planned to from an organizing standpoint done. We went through both kids' clothes and my husbands and discarded everything that was too small. Given that my daughter then had 2 pairs of pants and 0 t-shirts, we then headed out to Once Upon a Child where they were having their dollar clearance. I behaved and got pants and t-shirts for my girl and some jammies for the boy.

However, my daughter is getting worse in the organization department. She has sheets with her timestables written out. She last used it on Tuesday and couldn't find it last night. Let her look for about ten minutes (and she was pretty seriously looking) only to come up and see that all the items we had put away properly on the Monday were a jumbled mess (toys in with school supplies, clothes in toy bins, toys in clothes drawers, a pile of clothes she was too lazy to hang up on her closet floor). I managed not to lose it (in front of her, anyway) but she lost her electronics (which were scattered around the room) until the weekend. We had spent two hours cleaning everything up and I only helped her since she promised to keep it tidy.

I finally found the timestables. In her sock drawer. I really hope we can break her of this before she is out on her own.
  #182  
Old 01-07-2013, 01:46 PM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
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My SO and I are going through this process myself. She comes from a long line of hoarders and literally can't part with anything. Even stuff she plans to shred sits on the shredder for 3 days.

Are you planning on going to a Friends themed dress-up party? Then I think we can depart with the circa 1990s sweaters.

Bankers box full of papers from a job you worked at 3 years ago? Either send it to Iron Mountain for storage or get rid of it.

All those important magazine clippings scattered around the appartment? Either scan them or write down the restaurants address in a spreadsheet (if it still exists) and throw it away.



If you haven't used it in years and it has no sentimental, aesthetic or functional value, it should be thrown away or otherwise discarded. The problem with hoarders is that every scrap of garbage has sentimental value. Really it's frustrating as hell to listen to someone say "I hate this appartment, we need more space" when the reason they hate the appartment is that it's cluttered up with their garbage.

Last edited by msmith537; 01-07-2013 at 01:47 PM.
  #183  
Old 01-09-2013, 01:33 PM
vivalostwages vivalostwages is offline
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My friend P. has been a compulsive hoarder for some years now. She used to talk about doing something about the problem, which she recognizes as such, but has since stopped. Her house is still a landfill, some of her appliances no longer work but she won't get them fixed or replaced despite the fact that she makes a nice pile of money, and my friend L. and I quit bringing up the subject since it never went anywhere.

Thank goodness there are no kids or animals in the house...well, other than the lizards, bugs and whatever else may be living in the piles of crap. No pets, though.

Now, however, L. is telling me that we are "enabling" P. by not saying anything about the situation. My response is that it does no good to say anything (it never did before), and if we do say something, P. will burst into tears (she cries at the drop of a hat) and/or accuse us of being mean or unsympathetic. And nothing will change anyway, as my understanding of the condition is that the prognosis is not good, especially as the person gets older and more set in her ways.

What do you folks think?
  #184  
Old 01-09-2013, 02:22 PM
Malthus Malthus is offline
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My wife is a hoarder, and it causes me endless grief. She will neither clean up clutter nor allow me to do so, lest something that may be useful be discarded. She also stores stuff in wholly inappropriate places - papers in the dishwashing rack and the like. Once when decluttering I cound an entire cupboard filled with old egg cartons. Why? "They may be useful for something".

My only solution is to take advantage of her absences and ruthelessly throw stuff out when she's not around. Even then, I had better be sure it is actually gone - or she will go through the garbage and recycling containers and *take back* stuff I've tossed. She has the memory of an elephant for stuff at the bottom of piles disregarded for years and is sure to miss it (whatever it is) the instant I throw it out. Or even if I don't, she can no longer find it. Thus, me cleaning up isn't seen by her as doing us as a household a service, but rather as a source of complaint.

Money is not an issue here (I'm a reasonably well-paid lawyer) and I've offered many times to hire a cleaning service but that is out of the question for her. She will not allow it.

The problem is exacerbated by the fact I work very long hours and so I'm not at home much to do cleaning and stuff. So my efforts are kinda spasmotic - I'll have (say) a day off, spend it de-cluttering, then go back to working ... to see the house gradually fill with clutter again. Rinse and repeat.

Not sure what to do about it. Other than this hoarding thing we have a good life and a wonderful relationship, but we can't seem to talk about this (as in, I can talk all I want, but nothing changes).

Because I do in fact de-clutter and clean, our house never even approaches the horrors of really nasty hoarding houses, but if I didn't I'm concerned it would.
  #185  
Old 01-09-2013, 02:59 PM
adhemar adhemar is offline
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Originally Posted by vivalostwages View Post
My friend P. has been a compulsive hoarder for some years now. She used to talk about doing something about the problem, which she recognizes as such, but has since stopped. Her house is still a landfill, some of her appliances no longer work but she won't get them fixed or replaced despite the fact that she makes a nice pile of money, and my friend L. and I quit bringing up the subject since it never went anywhere.

Thank goodness there are no kids or animals in the house...well, other than the lizards, bugs and whatever else may be living in the piles of crap. No pets, though.

Now, however, L. is telling me that we are "enabling" P. by not saying anything about the situation. My response is that it does no good to say anything (it never did before), and if we do say something, P. will burst into tears (she cries at the drop of a hat) and/or accuse us of being mean or unsympathetic. And nothing will change anyway, as my understanding of the condition is that the prognosis is not good, especially as the person gets older and more set in her ways.

What do you folks think?
What does L. think P. will do if you harrass her? Do you think if she has a problem that harassing her will solve it? Most likely she is emabarassed and overwhelmed as it is.

Some of my friends helped me tremendously by offering to take anything I wanted to get rid of but not to throw away. I don't think I am a hoarder as I don't really wnat to keep all of this stuff I have a hard time throwing away perfectly good things. By giving clothes I don't want anymore to one friend I was able to transition to giving away to charity. Once I have gifted to someone else they are free to do whatever with it, throw it away drop it off at Goodwill etc.

Some people who are thoght to be "hoarders" really aren't. I am willing to get rid of stuff, it is hard to get it out the door. I missed all of the New years ever festivities becasue I decided to clean that day and overdid it. I hurt too much to do anything more than lay on the bed and watch tv. I have to plan how much I do because I still have to go out and finction in the real world.

So after all this, offer to help your friend in a way that makes her not too uncomfortable, if she will let you into the house you can help her organise and evaluate for donation (to the trash or to charity). Support her in her efforts, be non-judgmental but realise this is a choice she has made and she will not change until she is ready to.
  #186  
Old 01-09-2013, 03:15 PM
adhemar adhemar is offline
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Originally Posted by Malthus View Post
My wife is a hoarder, and it causes me endless grief. She will neither clean up clutter nor allow me to do so, lest something that may be useful be discarded. She also stores stuff in wholly inappropriate places - papers in the dishwashing rack and the like. Once when decluttering I cound an entire cupboard filled with old egg cartons. Why? "They may be useful for something".

My only solution is to take advantage of her absences and ruthelessly throw stuff out when she's not around. Even then, I had better be sure it is actually gone - or she will go through the garbage and recycling containers and *take back* stuff I've tossed. She has the memory of an elephant for stuff at the bottom of piles disregarded for years and is sure to miss it (whatever it is) the instant I throw it out. Or even if I don't, she can no longer find it. Thus, me cleaning up isn't seen by her as doing us as a household a service, but rather as a source of complaint.

Money is not an issue here (I'm a reasonably well-paid lawyer) and I've offered many times to hire a cleaning service but that is out of the question for her. She will not allow it.

The problem is exacerbated by the fact I work very long hours and so I'm not at home much to do cleaning and stuff. So my efforts are kinda spasmotic - I'll have (say) a day off, spend it de-cluttering, then go back to working ... to see the house gradually fill with clutter again. Rinse and repeat.

Not sure what to do about it. Other than this hoarding thing we have a good life and a wonderful relationship, but we can't seem to talk about this (as in, I can talk all I want, but nothing changes).

Because I do in fact de-clutter and clean, our house never even approaches the horrors of really nasty hoarding houses, but if I didn't I'm concerned it would.
Maybe you could work compromises with her. Say ok, lets keep 3 of the egg cartons in case we need them and we will assign them a home in cabinet X. If we need use the egg carton we can replace it easily. Lets put these important papers that you are using in the kitchen in this new bin on the wall in the kitchen so you have it were you need it.

One book I read on organising clutter said to organise it in the area where it is falling.

You also need to understand that there is a fear underlying this, I can't tell you what that fear is but if she is truly a hoarder (and it sounds like she is) she has a compulsion to do these things. When she comes home and finds her stuff missing it is a painful thing.

Another possible thing to try is to help her box up stuff that is less immediatly useful. label carefully and store in a closet or spare room. Say after 6 months if we don't need it we will put it in the attic. After an additonal spate of time agree that it will be donated to someone who can use it.

You need to get her agreement to move things out of sight, then out of reach and then finally out of the house but if you can let her take baby steps to getting more organised instead of stirring up her fear you might be able to get somewhere.
  #187  
Old 01-09-2013, 03:20 PM
Malthus Malthus is offline
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Maybe you could work compromises with her. Say ok, lets keep 3 of the egg cartons in case we need them and we will assign them a home in cabinet X. If we need use the egg carton we can replace it easily. Lets put these important papers that you are using in the kitchen in this new bin on the wall in the kitchen so you have it were you need it.

One book I read on organising clutter said to organise it in the area where it is falling.

You also need to understand that there is a fear underlying this, I can't tell you what that fear is but if she is truly a hoarder (and it sounds like she is) she has a compulsion to do these things. When she comes home and finds her stuff missing it is a painful thing.

Another possible thing to try is to help her box up stuff that is less immediatly useful. label carefully and store in a closet or spare room. Say after 6 months if we don't need it we will put it in the attic. After an additonal spate of time agree that it will be donated to someone who can use it.

You need to get her agreement to move things out of sight, then out of reach and then finally out of the house but if you can let her take baby steps to getting more organised instead of stirring up her fear you might be able to get somewhere.
I like the notion of putting stuff in boxes and labelling it, and moving it out of sight. I'll try that.

Edit: with her buy-in of course.

Part of what makes this difficult is that we are committed to equality in all things, but someone acting compulsively puts a lot of pressure on that notion - as a person with a compulsion can't easily be reasoned with, indulging the compulsion erodes quality of life unbearably, and going against it isn't acting in an egalitarian manner (i.e., throwing stuff out that the other person doesn't want thrown out).

Last edited by Malthus; 01-09-2013 at 03:24 PM.
  #188  
Old 02-26-2013, 11:23 AM
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I've talked about it for years, but now I've finally done it - I inherited a set of china from grandma in 1983. When I took it I had dreams of dinner parties and the like, but the reality is I've never used it. At one point I gave it to one of my sisters but when she died it came back to me.

So, here I am 30 years (!) later and no, I'm not ever going to use this china.

I finally did the research and have sent e-mails to parties who purchase old china (Johnson Brothers red Castle on the Lake pattern if you're curious). If I can get some money from it I will sell it. If I can't well, Goodwill might well get some new (to them) china.

So, yay, more cupboard space and less stuff I'm not using. I mean, damn, either actually work on selling this stuff or get it out of the house, right?

Next in line is the set of silver I inherited from the mother-in-law. The spouse suggested appraising some of the jewelry I got from her as well, as the old lady did know her valuables and usually brought quality. I need money more than jewelry I don't wear anyway.

Also, a friend of mine is coming next week for her annual several-days visit. During those visits we usually spend some time tackling one or another problem spots so I'm looking forward to making some more large dents. For the past few years I've been able to maintain the progress we make during those cleaning fests so more yay, me.

With tax time I'll also be forced to catch up on the paperwork piles around here.

With that in mind, maybe I'll list a few things that have worked for me, in no particular order:

-- Recycling - once a month I take the recycling stuff down to the local scrapper. I'm averaging $8-10 a month from that, which tickles me no end because basically someone is paying for my trash, right? But not only do we get money back on all the soda cans but there are a LOT fewer busted tools, computer cases, garden implements, and the like hanging around now.

-- Discontinue paper magazines. Actually, I've discontinued all my magazine subscriptions as a cost-saving measure but it also means no more of that coming into the house. I'm still having some issues (sorry) about tossing some of the old ones, and I am NOT getting ride of the ones my writing is published in (those now have archive-quality wrappers) but that's only about 15. I've gotten ride of about half the original pile, some of it by recycling into bird cage liners, another just by tossing into the dumpster after I convinced myself I really, really, really wasn't ever going to read those ever again. Since the scrapper is now also taking paper for recycling (not paying for it, just taking it) this might get easier yet.

-- Have Kindle. Although I do not currently have either magazine or newspaper subscriptions any future ones will be e-format. Most new book purchases are now e-books for me. Less hard copy coming into the home, yay.

-- Have friend help. Big deal to me. It helps said friend also understands some of my issues and both knows when to push and when I need a break. (In return I've done stuff for her like help drywall her basement so this is far from one-sided here)

I wish the spouse was able to take on this role, but he's not much less of a slob and there's the advantage of someone from outside the household being more objective. There is the on-going problem of me finally clearing a spot then him dumping a bunch of his stuff into it ("Hey! I had other plans for that spot!") but hey, none of this will be solved overnight.

-- Take precautions for allergies. Yes, yes, laugh at my toxic-waste worker outfit and respirator, but it keeps me healthy. Part of my problem was that dust and stuff was really making me feel physically ill. Nothing like adverse stimulus added onto a task already not fun!

-- Filing cabinets! Shredder! The paper has become much more controllable since I have a designated place for important stuff. The shredder is next to said filing cabinets. Of course, this won't work for everyone but I went from having no system to having one.
  #189  
Old 02-26-2013, 11:50 AM
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Oh, my. China. My mother was an only child, ditto my father. I inherited FOUR sets of china (ony two sets of silverware, I wonder why?) All four are really nice, but we're cheap earthenware people, not handwash gold bonded china sorts.

And crystal! Dear god. I have got to figure out a way to get rid of that stuff. Maybe I should pray for an earthquake.


Also on my to-do list: go through the file cabinets. I bought them back in, oh, '95. I had them completely filled by 2005. Time to weed out about 95% of that crap.

I'll pencil in hour sessions Saturday and Sunday...
  #190  
Old 02-26-2013, 12:28 PM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is offline
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LOL on 4 sets of china!!

For those of you looking to sell: eBay will give you a fair idea of their value as well as the institutional places like Replacements.

We didn't do the big wedding so didn't get our "own" formal china. I inherited a set from my aunt, as well as her good sterling tableware. The china is completely not to my taste - it's a very floral pattern - but I do enjoy it for the sentimental value and we have a place to store it. The crystal: we wound up with sets from both of my husband's grandmothers, as well as a few pieces from my mother (most of her stuff broke, there were apparently some quality control issues in the years they were manufactured). Those are all put away in one of several places. We trot them out maybe once a year. If we were really trying to pare things down, I might sell them.

Our latest "successes", of sorts: I've spent a lot of the past few months getting the vast majority of our old documents scanned and shredded. Killed a shredder, we did . And we were lucky enough to have *just* enough water in the basement (from Sandy) to mandate throwing out some things, but not enough to seriously damage anything.

Last weekend we put together one more shelving unit in the unfinished part of the basement, and got rid of a lot of old stuff (Thank you, Goodwill!! - they got a carload Saturday). The walls are now lined with those metal "baker's" shelves that are so useful. The plan is to gradually put things back in there, and move things that are still there so they're more logically organized. Also replace some ancient emergency supplies (I threw out things that expired in 2003!!). The downside is that in the interim, the house looks *worse*.

The other thing: we got rid of all our CDs. Well, we still have them, but they're off the racks in the family room and in a bin. I'm in the process of removing many of them from their jewel boxes - things that are very unlikely to have collector's value (if any of them do, that is). They've all been ripped into iTunes anyway, and we can put that bin in the cellar. So my conscience is right (I believe ripping, then giving away, is wrong). Weirdly, we found a bunch of them that were already in iTunes, but the case had no CD in it. Bizarre. Not sure where those CDs are. We also found a few empty cases which were *not* in iTunes; we're repurchasing those gradually.

The kitchen pantry is looking mostly decent these days. Again thanks to a problem!! We had a little trouble with pantry moths last spring / summer, so we threw out a lot of stuff. Fortunately the damn things didn't spread beyond the bag of flour they hitchhiked on (except maybe for one dead one we found on a bag of brown rice - on the *outside* of the plastic bag clip - hah!). So we bought a lot of Tupperware modular mates so virtually everything is sealed up, and things are much easier to find.

Aaaaand: I finally cleared all the piles of CRAP from the top of my dresser and nightstand. There were years-old receipts there among other stuff we don't need any more. Yeesh.

The house still, of course, looks like a disaster .
  #191  
Old 02-26-2013, 12:42 PM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is offline
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....
-- Discontinue paper magazines. ... and I am NOT getting ride of the ones my writing is published in (those now have archive-quality wrappers) ...
Consider scanning your writing. Not that you should get rid of the paper copies, but this way you can put them away somewhere safe but not in-your-face, and still look at them somewhat easily.
  #192  
Old 02-26-2013, 01:48 PM
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Already scanned, so to speak.

Due to the fact that the first of the series was actually stolen from me I became rather obsessive about storing copies of everything, which were all originally composed on computer anyhow. I've had e-copies and back ups of back ups since the 1990's for all that.

The stealing? Someone actually took my words and sold them under his name to the magazine. I didn't know until folks starting congratulating me via e-mail for getting published. Fortunately, when I contacted the magazine we were able to settle the matter in a civilized manner and would up writing a bunch more for them for mutual benefit and profit. I don't hold it against the editor, he was fooled, too. Since I was able to provide rough drafts of the article as well as having witnesses to the events described willing to testify that not only was the author female, I was the particular female involved, true ownership was swiftly established. (Definitely, a downside of being known by a non-gender-specific alias on line is that it makes it easier for someone to commit fraud of this nature) The guy was an idiot to think he'd get away with it - the article described real-life events involving specific people and locations. Then again, he wouldn't be the last to accuse me of making up fictitious stories about my own life.

But these babies I have in archive sleeves are the actual published ink-on-paper editions.

And the whole theft and needing to prove this thing was mine via prior drafts did NOT help my hoarding tendencies!

Most of my hardcopy writing is in a footlocker. That's what I should really start scanning, although, truthfully, a lot of it is crap (Sturgeon's Law). I keep it around mainly to mine ideas from. Once I had a computer I largely went to bits instead of scribbles, which no doubt greatly reduced the volume I'd otherwise have.

I've been battling the whole pack rat thing a loooooong time....
  #193  
Old 02-26-2013, 01:54 PM
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Although, come to think of it, scanning the actual printed, published page might not be a bad idea... That's what you meant, right?
  #194  
Old 02-26-2013, 02:22 PM
Sarabellum Sarabellum is offline
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I've been making some good progress again lately and I need a pat on the back since I feel like my efforts go mostly unappreciated by my kids, who seem to make messes at a rate equal or greater to how quickly I am cleaning things up, hehe.

I cleaned up both the older kids rooms this week (the babies rooms stay pretty orderly since they are in cribs and can't really do much except toss their blanket on the floor from time to time, not a big deal) and I cleaned all the upstairs bathrooms. And I mostly cleaned up my own room, to boot. So that only leaves two messy rooms upstairs (the offices) and the slightly messy hallway. A big difference from the usual NINE messy rooms & bathrooms upstairs.

Downstairs, I've got two clean living areas, the kitchen and a bathroom, and 1 messy living area, a utility room, and a breakfast nook to clean.

It's rare for the clean rooms to outnumber the messies around here, and since clean is winning 11 to 5 at the moment, I'm feeling pretty good. I've done most of the laundry backlog AND culled the clothes that don't fit any of the kids, and changed everyone's sheets and pillowcases. The linen cabinet and the kid's closets and dressers and full to bursting with clean, folded stuff. And of course with all the clothing and towels and such clean and put away, there's much less stuff on the floors in the first place. So it really helps.

Og, I miss having a housekeeper. Of course if I hired one tomorrow they'd probably take one look and quit on the spot.
  #195  
Old 02-26-2013, 02:56 PM
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Either that or they'd think "job security!"
  #196  
Old 02-26-2013, 03:19 PM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is offline
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Although, come to think of it, scanning the actual printed, published page might not be a bad idea... That's what you meant, right?
That is what I was thinking of, actually. You may well have the original info in soft copy but there's got to be a certain joy in being able to quickly pull up the pretty printed pages and figuratively wave it arouund and say "SEE!! I DID THAT!! YAY ME!!!!". .

I too have been a hoarder pretty much all my life. Not to the extent that others have described, I wouldn't get onto that TV show, I'm just a slob and clutter can be come invisible to me. I love having things tidy, I love getting rid of stuff, but entropy will prevail within hours .

We *do* have a cleaning lady. We try to do a bit of picking up before she comes but we just Do. Not. Have. Time. After she's been, the house is immaculate and the piles of crap are much tidier than they were to begin with. My husband and I joke that at least she knows we're not cheating on her with another cleaning lady!!

Electronic records: I have to remind myself that even if they're not taking up physical space, it's quite possible to have a lot of crap there. For example I need to clear out the zillions of duplicate digital photos. I've got at any given time about 6-8 copies of my Quicken file (I keep it in my Dropbox directory). 1-2 generations of backups should be plenty!! And do I really need those scanned stock dividend statements from 1987??? Maybe not. At least it's all organized in a sensible (I think.....) manner!!! And the digital records: well, since they're on Dropbox, I can clean em up any time, and almost any place. The downside is that I can clean 'em up any time, any place, so no need to do it now.
  #197  
Old 02-26-2013, 07:15 PM
Seanette Seanette is offline
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Well, I managed to get the bedroom closet under control. Still having trouble with the storage room closet (which would be MUCH easier if I could get DH to part with those five or six dead computer towers! Grumble curse). Laundry churning along.

The cat is irritated that I had the windows open until it got too cold in here (for some reason, she disapproves of open windows).
  #198  
Old 02-26-2013, 07:35 PM
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I actually felt motivated enough today to go through and discard some old magazines. Yay! OK, they're with the other stuff going to the recycler/scrapper, but since I go there once a month yes, they're on the way out. When my friend comes by maybe we can fill up my pick-up for the trip. Then follow up with a load to Goodwill and another load to the library.
  #199  
Old 02-27-2013, 12:58 AM
Mona Lisa Simpson Mona Lisa Simpson is offline
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Jumping on the bandwagon. We did a major declutter a year ago when we moved across the country, but the crap that has accumulated since then...ugh. mostly just paper I/hub neglects to deal with, (not to mention the three storage bins of papers for his business that are still in the rubber maid containers we shipped them in) but there are outgrown clothes from my son piling up and a whole bunch of stuff that needs either homing or to be put away. Not feeling well lately has put this rather small apartment into a nasty pile of clutter.
Tonight I did three loads in the dishwasher (I ran frying pans and stuff I dont normally wash that way because my husband made a mess deep frying) washed the stove top, scrubbed the sink and counters, and wiped down the front of the oven.

It feels good.
  #200  
Old 02-27-2013, 11:19 AM
perfectparanoia perfectparanoia is offline
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We *do* have a cleaning lady. We try to do a bit of picking up before she comes but we just Do. Not. Have. Time. After she's been, the house is immaculate and the piles of crap are much tidier than they were to begin with. My husband and I joke that at least she knows we're not cheating on her with another cleaning lady!!
Getting a cleaning lady has changed our life! We are forced to tidy up the house the night before she comes. It means that once a week, the whole house is tidy and clean at the same time!

I still haven't finished cleaning out my kitchen cupboards but we did clean up the storage closet in the basement. I can find everything now!

Pretty soon it will be spring cleaning time. I really want to get the kitchen done before then...
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