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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Give yourself a deadline with each item maybe? Have a week to ebay two or three items - or charity shop them if you fail.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
leeloo I've always wanted to do those photo books - very inspiring!
Hi Mummyoftheyear - I've not long started a process of decluttering our tiny flat with the help of a friend. I was raised by a hoarder & although I have "worked"on my own hoarding over the years I need to take it further now I have DC & live in a small flat. It was totally overwhelming & depressing.
Link to my thread which you might find useful. There is a Minamalist Quiche thread too.
As for your opening issues:
"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 understand. The main thing that needs to change is the way you think about stuff. Just like an eater who will eat the kids leftovers so it doesn't go to 'waste' needs to learn and accept that they are treating their body as a human dustbin, so you need to accept that these issues of regret, overwhelmed by it all, wasted money, keep to eBay etc are all keeping you where you are.
Isn't it a waste of your SPACE, your HOME etc to keep this clutter? Set it free, let it go - you will save ££ because in the future you will spend less, you will buy less. Your values will change - I can't believe how deeply getting the kitchen done has changed the way I think about this.
I've taken 4 bags of "stuff to ebay" to the charity shop. I've kept back 3 items which I still intend to ebay. But if they aren't listed within the week (I just set that deadline cheers - its on my phone) they will go to the charity shop too.
The reward of a decluttered home is priceless!!! You deserve it.
you might like to take a google of some minimalist or decluttering website and blogs - lots out there & they are motivating and inspiring as well as full of techniques and ideas.
This might not help with the immediate decluttering, but...
With old birthday cards. Its hard not to be sentimental and I used to keep all my DS', then thought 'what on earth is he going to do with 18 years worth of birthday cards when he's 18?' I'm sure he wouldn't thank me for them.
So this year I arranged all the cards for the current birthday and photographed them in a block. Then opened them and took another bulk shot of them all open, so (if you enlarge the photo enough) you can see the messages.
Then, with all digital photos I try to download them all at the end of each month (I usually fail, but sort them out by month after downloading).
So I have a folders for 20111, 2012, 2013 and Jan, Feb, March... within each.
Then, each year I make an A4 photobook (photobox do codes to make it cheaper, but other places will too). So month by month I go through and choose the nicest photos to go into it and we have a nice record of the year (and a gift for doting grandparents!).
Anyway, this year the photos of the cards got added to the pics of DS' birthday party. I put the cards in the art box to cut up... then 6 months later when we hadn't cut them up I put them in the recycling!
I also take pics of any of his major artworks, junk modelling projects etc and put them in the photobooks too, then I can recycle the objects themselves without feeling guilty, as there's a record of them thats more likely to be looked at than if they were stuck in a drawer somewhere getting crushed and manky.
OP, we have framed DS very first 'masterpiece' and have shipped some off to relatives, otherwise I don't bring them home.
I have his 1st birthday cards in a memory box but scanning them sounds a good idea.
Don't have any boxes for eBay or car boot sale, you will never do them. my parents have had a pile of car boot boxes for about 10years.... some charities will come with a van to collect things, when we moved I had 12 boxes of stuff and they came to collect.
Do you know any teenage girls? I've found they're great at stuff like this. Also, they take half the crap away with them. I always rope my niece in for decluttering jobs.
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