My Hoarding Days are Done!

My natural inclination is as a minimalist. I don't like to own "stuff" and I'm not sentimental. High school year books? Gone after high school. Clothes that don't fit, but might someday? Too bad...gone. Wedding photos and mementos? Locked away so I can't ditch them. lol

So when I became a massive coupon shopper, I had to go against my natural instincts. I "bought" hundreds of toilet cleaners, hundreds of shampoos and conditioners, and don't even get me started on toothpaste. Anyone that's played the drugstore game, knows what I'm talking about. I rationalized it all by eventually buying only brands I actually wanted, but it was still too much.

I donated, I forced it on friends, and I *cringes* threw it away. But no more! My sister called to tell me about a show on A&E called Hoarders. Have you seen it? She called because she thought I should show it to my son. He's a collector - A junk collector. When I took my kids to see the landfill, he wanted to get out and "look for interesting things." OMG. That was not the intended response. I was hoping for; "wow, as a culture we really throw a lot of things away. Perhaps, we should reconsider our purchases and attempt to reuse the items we already have." Maybe in a few years. :)

So we watched Hoarders. We saw them pull 2 tons of garbage out of a ladies home. And the house was still a pit. She had 3 dead cats among the rubble, one of them mummified for 10 years. So of course, I instantly became obsessed and have watched every episode ever since. What happened to my son? He realized why we are so adamant about cleaning up and not keeping garbage.

But I still wake up to creations like this:
and this

All of these "crafts" are made from contents of the garbage and recycling bins. These creations have decreased a ton (thankfully!) but he still has a bit of the hoarding spirit.

After I watch an episode of Hoarders, I always feel like a hoarder. And I instantly get up and start looking for things to clean or donate. Last week's episode was my last straw. I got up and cleared all of this out of my closets and drawers.
While I was at it, I vacuumed everything that could possibly be vacuumed. Blinds, drapes, drawers, vents, chairs, fans, beds, walls.... I called my husband to tell him I had run out of things to vacuum. And I wasn't joking!

Why did I have so much excess? Well, I was saving some clothes I had recently gotten too small for, my kids have outgrown a few things, I gave away our unneeded vacuums, and some other random stuff we just didn't need. Goodwill came to pick it up right away and my spirit was a zillion pounds lighter.

Much to my husband's embarrassment, I always go full-throttle when I start something. We have even more empty drawers and closets. Our basement looks almost brand new. And our Chest Freezer will be picked up tomorrow. I am no longer hoarding items. And I am no longer hoarding food!!

But I'll still be hoarding toilet paper. ;) I just can't resist it!


Jeanne C. said...

My husband & I have watched Hoarders since the first episode.... it's like a train wreck! And it never ceases to make me feel a whole lot better about MY house!

Tosha said...

The garbage crafts are something my oldest (6) is very fond of. Her room is a nightmare to clean- it's like cleaning a rat nest up. I try not to stifle her creativity though(and my husband reminds me not to).

I love that you refuse to give up toilet paper hoarding too.

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Noelle said...

Good for you!

Jennifer T. said...

We always watch Hoarders with our mouth agape. Each time, we are amazed at what people will keep and buy, and save. But, I have to remind myself that it's a mental illness to do those things (like they list in the opening disclaimer). I, too, find myself doing some purging and re-examining my impulse shopping trips after watching the show.

i_wander said...

this is a fun post! ^_^ i've seen that show too. and i liked it since. i'm a hoarder myself but i always thought that if i won't give those things away, then i am wasting a lot. i gave outgrown clothes to some relatives and even thanked me. :) but i'm still a hoarder -- of shoes! ^_^

Rebecca Ross said...

Hi Angela,
I am professional organizer and actually work with Hoarders in their homes. I am really dismayed by the way they are seen - and of several minds about the Hoarders show on A&E.
Yes they provide a therapist and face that aspect of it, and those so called "Clean Sweeps" do expose the problem to wider world and PERHAPS make it safe for some people to get help. On the downside I hear so much cheap voyeurism and judgment that I am amazed. Many people actually think that if they "keep too much" this makes them a hoarder. NOT SO. There are very particular emotional issues and a sense of anxiety that goes way beyond,"Oh dear I can't fit more shoes in my closet".

What is the solution? Hoarders need ongoing therapy as well as ongoing help with the actual STUFF. It the only way to make lasting changes in how they think, and how they handle the objects they surround themselves with.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to express this. ANd I keep lots of toilet paper on hand, too!

Rebecca Ross
The Composed Domain

thaeter7 said...

We are in the process of selling and 11 years in this house.(Where does all the stuff come from!)
I found birthday cards that I received when I was 6yrs old and I am now 54,sad thing is that when I left Australia They were important enough to Imigrate to "Scotland with and then Imigrate to Canada and moved 3 times in ontario and have finally thrown them out.
My daughters bedroom has 6 green garbage bags full and not a dent made in the junk yet.I am tired of this hording also.
Good luck on the decluttering!

Bri said...

I'm following you from MBC FFF :)

Shelby said...

I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes when I saw the pictures. I think it's wonderful that your son can be so creative with whatever he may find - it reminds me of things my kids do too. But the way you write your posts just makes my day sometimes. Keep up the good work.

Staci @ Designing and Motherhood said...

WOW. I hear ya. Good for you recognizing it and making a long lasting change against hoarding. I have learned a lot from couponing. USE what you have there will be another deal!!! I made a promise....I want more out of life and the stuff around me will NOT consume my time with shifting it or have the piles irritate me anymore. Thanks for following my blog. Hope you follow my efforts on clearing stuff out. Staci

Cherity@ChaoticPeace said...

I found you from the Money Saving Mom website! Just wanted to say, we showed our daughter an episode of the Hoarders and she was disgusted! She tends to keep anything and everything...and at 13, she's finally realizing it all adds up! She spent an entire day (morning to suppertime) in her room the next day cleaning. We pulled out 3 garbage bags of garbage, 2 "Blessing" bags and 3 (gulp) laundry baskets of dirty clothes! She's still working on not keeping everything, and we're encouraging her along the way. In doing so, I've realized how much I need to get rid of! Thanks for joining the challenge, it was great to see your progress!

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