My house has become so full of piles of 'stuff' in every corner that I can no longer cope with it. Equally, however, it's seriously got so bad that I have no idea where to start. I'm in several catch 22s (or excuses?):
I don't want to chuck, sell or charity-shop things in case I might regret it.
I haven't energy or time - seriously feels overwhelming!
I don't want to have wasted my money but haven't time to ebay it.
I haven't a room or garage to 'keep stuff there' til I Ebay or tip it.
I'm actually unable to use my dining room or utility room because of clutter. I'm embarrassed.
leeloo I've always wanted to do those photo books - very inspiring!
What a lovely and useful thread
Mummyoftheyear it sounds like you are already starting to make some progress and hopefully as things progress you will want to continue and it will make you feel so much better.
Both my parents are horders and I really do want to help them but sometimes I just don't know where to start. I come along with my attitude to getting rid of things (which is probably quite dramatic since I am probably the opposite of a hoarder due to having grown up with it). My mother seems to find a sentimental attachment to everything and since my grandparents have passed on a lot of furniture and things from their homes have made their way into my parents house.
Now it has got to the stage where I have had to tell them that there has to be change otherwise we won't be able to stay there once we have had our baby. I am 21 weeks pregnant, my first baby and their first grandchild so they are pretty excited. But at the moment the house just is not suitable for babies/children there is nowhere for them to play and nowhere for us to put our things when we go to stay. We live abroad so visits have to involve overnight stays and they have a 4 bedroomed house for just the two of them so the house is more than big enough.
My mother seems to always find a reason to blame something else, like sometimes we come with a lot of luggage or that it is my stuff taking up the space, but it really isn't. I have gone through all my old posessions that were still accessible and either donated, thrown away or taken anything I want to keep away with me.
I wonder if any of you have advice on how I can help them clear their big hoard? I will be visiting for a week next month to help them. I try to see it from my mother's point of view but sometimes it is difficult.
Bejeena I think you have to be very careful and take the lead from your parents, I'm afraid. Proper hoarding is an entrenched attitude that has roots in anxiety. If the person doesn't want to see they have a problem, they might turn on you in some form. Sometimes it can be really, really hard to address. Tread very carefully.
buildingmycorestrength thanks for the advice. I was afraid of this. The thing is if I don't push them and take their lead we will get nowhere.
My mother has admitted that she wants to/needs to get rid of her clothes and that really is going to be a good start. But if they don't do something drastic my husband will really not allow our baby to stay there as the house won't be safe for the amount of stuff they have.
They do see that they have a problem but I am not certain they want to solve it enough.
If they are happy to start with the clothes then start there! And maybe just ask for some baby proofing tips for your own house, or something very non confrontational at first. See if you can gently steer the conversation towards how it might be if you stay at theirs.
But I would also have a backup plan of nearby hotels/bed and breakfasts, to be honest. You'll be able to find a way to explain a decision like that in terms that are not about their hoarding, of course.
It is so tricky.
I don't know why but my name changed when I logged in again. No idea why - may be because I'd originally logged on using another email. Another clutter story. Anyway. I'm the OP and currently sitting (hiding) on my bed with stuff that needs clearing staring at me!
We had tons of things that we could have sold for a tenner or twenty each on ebay. Also had lots of gifts we could have sold more locally through NCT sales or in shop windows but it all went to charity or the tip during 2012. It actually felt amazing to get rid of things - a few bags at a time. Like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. The less I have, the less overwhelmed I feel. I have never regretted getting rid of anything. Ever!
Give yourself a deadline with each item maybe? Have a week to ebay two or three items - or charity shop them if you fail.
I've been getting rid of black bag loads of stuff. Holding onto those bits (lots) that would sell on ebay. Just don't have time to do it. I've booked someone in for end June to come to sell it for me. She won't take it all though. So many dilemmas and so much time wasted. Can't see wood for trees as would love to get organised but still overflowing with stuff!
That being said, I really do feel a smidgen happier and less overwhelmed just having shifted about 4 or 5 bags.
Yesterday, it was my underwear drawer. Why oh why do I buy tights when I've got so many pairs already?
I've kept the new / newish ones and still hand a huge drawer full. Too many - but how many of each colour should I keep and how can I chuck the ones that are new (considering my legs seem to find the nearest piece of Velcro type stuff to pull them on the minute I've put them on)?
Brave on the bra n knickers front...
Chucked a big black bag of them!
Am avoiding THE most important room: my dining room.
It's awful and my family and tutees (job) would really benefit from the space. Sadly, at the moment, I can't even let my family sit at the table for the shxxxx I've got piles up under and on and to the side of every corner of the room.
It's all 'keeping' stuff, but the places I need to store it on are ridiculously TV worthy (How Could You Let Your Home Get Into Such A Mess?).
I had a baby (number 2) and started an assessor's course witching weeks. I felt totally out if control n overwhelmed... now I can't see the woods for the trees. It's getting me down. Any spare time I have (10-30 mins here or there), I try to start but go to bed depressed about it. I'm not a lazy person - workaholic, if anything. But this particular issue sends me into Sleepy Mode.
Hi OP, have you tried the timer somebody suggested? Do just 20minutes per day in the dining room - if it's going well then take a 10minute break and then do another 20minutes?
Start actually on the dining table so that you can visibly see an immediate impact from your work. It will motivate you to continue! Be ruthless. Just. Do. It.
I'm currently surrounded by the contents of the bathroom cupboard. Can't be bothered but I will keep going until it's done, and I know it will make me feel good!
Been slowly but surely working through the whole house for almost a year now. The satisfaction you feel when a room is clutter-free and everything has a 'place' is second to none.
You can do it OP, I know you can.
Do 20 minutes on that dining table. Tonight. Don't procrastinate - visualise it clear, imagine how you will feel when that happens...
Clear dining table in 14 minutes - and it DOES feel good.
However, I have a sickening feeling of unease at the fact that some of the clutter has migrated to my worktops, etc.
Well done! That is awesome.
Ok, some of the clutter may have 'migrated' but at least when your students come this week they have a place to work?
Tomorrow do 20 minutes on a pile around the table. Aim by the end of the week for the dining table and its immediate vacinity to be a useable space that you no longer feel you need to apologise to the parents for.
Sorry if I come across as patronising but I am so proud of you. Well done.
I'm not feeling patronised. I'm feeling supported - and, embarrassed as I am of admitting to the state of my house, I'm so v v grateful to your guidance and encouragement.
Right... Tomorrow I will start (20 mins) on one pile of stuff at foot of table. I did laugh as I think you must be able to see my dining room! Wish there was a picture facility! Lol
It bothers me about migrating mess _ but you're right about freeing up living and working space for tutees and my family.
Apologies OP if you've already mentioned this... Whereabouts in the country are you? (Pm me if you don't want to put it on thread)
If I'm anywhere close then I volunteer my services for a day to give you a hand. I'm awesome at helping others to de-clutter
You're so kind. I'd need a bloody army - and one person to gag my "I need to keep thats!". Lol
I will PM you.
You need to start posting here on thread your "I need to keep that"s and we will persuade you otherwise
Well done on your clearing of the table.
Onwards and upwards OP, onwards and upwards.
OP you really are doing great and I love your determination in all of this, I only wish my own mother had the same.
I agree that the timer works well, set it for 20 minutes and you are don't feel so overwhelmed.
I am still trying to understand the roots to my mother's hoarding and I think it goes beyond an attachment to her things too. Last night I was talking to her about our own clearout at home (baby due in August so the spare room has to become the nursery) and that we have reduced our number of books and I have them ready for the charity shop. I then told her that 1 of the 2 bookcases we have in the spare room will be moved into the lounge with the books we are keeping. So the subject of the other bookcase came up and I told her we didn't know (to be honest I thought if we cannot dismantle it and store in the cellar then we will give it away, freecycle or ebay it).
She then suggested we put the bookcase in the kitchen. It is the most absurd idea I have heard in my life as there is NO space in our kitchen for a bookcase, it is almost impossible for 2 people to be in there at the same time.
But it is almost as if she cannot bear anything to be 'thrown' away (I would never throw it away, am also against waste but would nake sure it went to a good home) and I realise that during the week when I visit in May I am sure there will be a lot of tears and fights due to my frustration.
I don't understand it, but I really want to. All I see is their tip of a house and things that are never going to be used or needed.
OP, how are you doing today? Don't forget to keep making sure stuff is actually leaving and so you're not simply re-organising. I know I keep making this point but it is the only thing that will make a real difference. If you manage to have 20 mins tonight, try and go round dining table and onto surfaces and concentrate on lifting up stuff which can leave house immediately (via recycling bin outside or rubbish bin)
Keep going! You can do this in baby steps. Each step will make an impact!
You're doing great. Do a corner pile and surface clutter on computer desk \ sideboard. Binbag at the ready. Toss, toss, toss
Everybody is mega impressed with your renewed vigour and determination. Keep it up.
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