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Hoarding and housework. Totally lost

(52 Posts)
MedwayMumoffour Thu 17-Mar-16 12:48:58

I'm not really sure where my post belongs. I posted a while back about my abusive mum and hoarder dad. I have recently come to terms with the fact that my mum mentally and physically abused me. I have always known but for reason it's really hit me this year.

I have two disabled kids. One has severe asd and the other has a statement with complex needs.

I decided to go to the doctor about my hoarding this year. I had CBT but it only lasted five weeks. I have been put forward for more ongoing long term therapy but not sure yet if I meet criteria.

My house isnt really shockingly bad but it's very cluttered. I keep trying to sort but every time I do I feel even worse the next day as it gets cluttered up again by the kids.

It's like emptying the bath with a thimble while the tap is still running.

After asking for therapy, asking my Dh I feel even worse. I have had years of trying to get my son a statement, now my asd boy is going through the same thing and his EHCP is two months late.

I feel like I have been holding back the tide and it's all got too much now.

Everything is too much. The house is a tip, I can't get to my wardrobe to get clothes out. I tried to clear it but Dh was clearing up for a kids party and blocked it again! I told him last night I had cleared up and he came home, he looked at somewhere I hadn't touched and said it looked much better!

I feel worse than before I started to change

What's the point? I just can't see any way out of this despite trying everything I can think of.

RandomMess Thu 17-Mar-16 12:54:01

It sounds like you do want to de clutter but the practicalities are a challenge?

It means being very very ruthless and starting small.

So in your bedroom - one bag for the bin, one bag for charity and they are removed from the house at the end of the de cluttering session. Anything that gets dumped there you do the same with the following day if need be!!!

Do you have any friends that you could ask to help - keep you company, keep you focussed and fold up stuff things you really do need to keep so there is one tidy pile that you then find a place for that day?

It is hard to not get overwhelmed by the bigger picture but it is small steps at a time.

MedwayMumoffour Thu 17-Mar-16 12:58:34

It is hard because the little kids are here. So I either have to watch them, ignore them or they are pulling toys etc out making their own mess.

I asked my friend and she was amazing. She is having a few issues right now but I could ask her again. I have asked my sister twice. She always seems very keen but commits to a date.

Grumpyoldblonde Thu 17-Mar-16 14:25:50

Definitely ask a friend, you need help and support . How old are the children, tiny?
People here will cheer you on and offer practical advice but it sounds like you need someone there to help keep an eye on the children as well as help you declutter.
In the interim, how about a big swoop through the house binning any rubbish, anything broken or holey or too tatty to be kept? One bin bag? Even the bathroom cabinet, would take a few minutes. You will get there, it's a big job.

MedwayMumoffour Thu 17-Mar-16 14:44:33

Little ones are 19 months and four - but the four year old has asd so he's more like a 20 month old.

I could go round and gather up the bins upstairs in the bedrooms.

Every time I think - right I'm getting stuck in, you can't see any results the next day. I think I do need some one to physically be with me. It's so tempting to just walk away from it.

Grumpyoldblonde Thu 17-Mar-16 14:48:16

Your house did not get like this overnight, it won't get tidy and organised overnight either, so go easy on yourself. The upstairs bins would be a good stat, and it will make a difference, while there, if you spot a holey sock or tatty old t-shirt, empty toothpaste tube or whatever, chuck it out too. Baby steps, you have a lot on your plate.

MedwayMumoffour Thu 17-Mar-16 15:07:47

Thanks for being kind, I feel so useless. I keep saying I will be sorted by the end of the year and it's going to take time, but then I feel deflated all over again.

Grumpyoldblonde Thu 17-Mar-16 15:16:44

Now listen up Mrs, you are not useless, not at all, you are overwhelmed. Totally understandable, you have children with high needs that you are battling to get help for, and a horrid past that you are struggling to come to terms with. Who wouldn't struggle with all that going on? I would be a heap on the floor, swigging neat gin smile
Can you call your friend? arrange a date and in the meantime grab that bin bag I mentioned for any obvious rubbish? You can do it <cajoling voice>

MedwayMumoffour Thu 17-Mar-16 16:32:58

Five bin bags, nine bath toys out in the bin. I washed up two big pans. Swept up dh's fag butts from the garden ( his job but had to walk past on the way to the bin! Getting washing in now then might attempt the dishwasher.

Clothes and toys and food have been strewn about the living room while I did that. Lost the TV remote now - sigh......

donajimena Thu 17-Mar-16 16:39:28

<whispers> have you read the Kondo thread? I am (or was) just like you. I was up to my eyes in crap and couldn't see a way out.
I heard about the Kondo method on MN over a year ago and dismissed it without reading about it. Assuming it would be a fad like feng shui...
I finally bought the book just after Christmas and read it cover to cover and its changed my life for ever. I am now 90% of the way to a beautiful home.
if you are a Facebook user there is an inspirational group Konmari Uk which you can join and you will see that there are many in the same boat.

Grumpyoldblonde Thu 17-Mar-16 16:41:13

star brew
Wow! Great work, that's a good bit of cleaning you have got done in a short space of time. The clothes and toys, hey, that's life with kids, they make mess!
Tidying is very different to cleaning and clean is important, tidy, not so much. The less crap you hang on to the easier it will be to keep on top of things so if you can get your friend over to go through clothes, toys and what not, you will probably find a lot you can throw out or send to charity.
Remember, you are a busy, frazzled mum, not in thee least bit useless, please be kind to yourself, you are important to your family, vital smile

Grumpyoldblonde Thu 17-Mar-16 16:43:05

donajimena I was working up to mention Kondo, I am also on the FB group.
Fabulous source of support and advice.

MedwayMumoffour Thu 17-Mar-16 17:59:19

I'm on the Kondo FB page. In fact I brought her book and my friend brought me it for Christmas too. Lucky because one is lost in the hoard.....

I need to nuke the place before I can start it. I have tried before but if I put all the clothes in one room I wouldn't be able to get in.

The only that sparks joy under my roof is my kids. They all come with a host of crap in age ranges 1- 12. 12 year old has hardly any stuff tbh.

I am going to a group meeting tonight about respore an how easy it is to get. But my son is too young - but when I was assessed they did tell me how cluttered I was, that I needed help but still didn't qualify. That's why I feel even worse now. I did everything I was told to do - ask for help, seek respite, councilling and all its got me so far is "your house is messy you need to sort that out". Argh!!

I wish I could swicth my brain off and just chuck the lot out in a few days. I want to. I just don't get why it's so hard to do.

IsItMeOr Thu 17-Mar-16 18:06:45

Do you have a HomeStart in your area? They might be able to match you with someone who could help you with the kids and/or decluttering.

I don't qualify, as DS is over 5yo. But we are battling with the EHCP process at the moment, and I can relate to the overwhelm. I've done some Kondoing, and want to keep going, but it's hard at the same time as looking at potential alternative schools...

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Thu 17-Mar-16 18:13:16

I think you need a plan!

Today I will do X cupboard - then if you do two it's a bonus -

Give DH a list of jobs - he's perfectly capable and equally in charge of the house.

Don't give up - sometimes it has to get worse before wit gets better - always darkest before dawn and all that.

Grumpyoldblonde Thu 17-Mar-16 18:16:04

It's hard to do because you have children and children have 'stuff' and they take up time, especially when they have additional needs and challenges. We are conditioned to buy stuff in this country, and hang on to it, change is scary and what if one day you need that 15th scarf or odd glove you threw out?
You have done well today, chucking all that rubbish, I really think you should enlist a friend to help, honestly, once you have broken the back of the clutter you will feel so much lighter, it's a revelation and it becomes addictive. Your Dad was a hoarder? So there is probably an element of learned behaviour there too but I am no expert.
Please be kind to yourself, I said upthread this clutter didn't appear overnight, it wont go overnight, but it can be done, baby steps are fine. The FB group we are both on is as you know very supportive and practical, use that support?
I have to go now, but I hope you get some relaxation this evening and I can be around to cheerlead tomorrow if you like (I WFH).

LazyCake Thu 17-Mar-16 18:21:43

I wish I could swicth my brain off and just chuck the lot out in a few days. I want to. I just don't get why it's so hard to do.

Don't beat yourself up. Lots of people have very mixed feelings about getting rid of stuff. flowers

Do you have access to a storage space that is separate from the house - something like a garage or a storage unit? You could hire a van, get childcare for a day and then with your husband ruthlessly remove everything non-essential.

It would give you a chance to experience what it was like to live clutter-free, but all your stuff would be safe and if you really, really needed to retrieve something you could do so. When you felt more relaxed, you could start to gradually sort through and get rid of/ find homes for things.

LazyCake Thu 17-Mar-16 18:28:45

Ps. This has been working for me. I often find I do not have the emotional energy to make decisions about stuff, and then once I have sorted and packed bags for the charity shop/recycling centre/tip, etc. nag DH to take me in the car to drop them off. I have been slinging loads of stuff into carriers, often unsorted, and dumping them in the garage. The house is almost clear now and, when it is, it won't be too hard to sort the garage as it is just one discrete space and I can always just slam the door and walk away if it gets too much!

MedwayMumoffour Thu 17-Mar-16 20:30:40

I have had home start twice before. They was really good but after a year and a half my helper left. I had to re enroll but there's no volunteers on the books. I'm not ready to explain my life to someone new either to be honest. I just don't feel I have the resilience to have a new person in my home right now.

The garage is a good idea. It's a garage on block and it's just behind my house but I have to walk around the garage block to access it. It's in safe place on private land so in theroy I could box up stuff. I could try four big removal boxes of "I'm not sure" maybe and start with that?

Dh is good with "do x job tonight" or sorting the kids out, cooking, washing up every day without being asked but he could walk past a kids top on the floor 50 times and never think to pick that up

IsItMeOr Thu 17-Mar-16 20:47:44

flowers OP. You are already doing amazingly.

Lucked Thu 17-Mar-16 21:13:15

Do you think you are a true hoarder? You haven't said anything about not being able to part with things more that this has happened and now it is overwhelming. I am not a hoarder but hadn't been throwing things out and things started to get ridiculous. I am now realising how proactive you have to be all the time, constantly making a decision on the things you handle every day.

Also with the kondo method one thing that struck me was getting your own belongs sorted and then everything else can follow after so I would just get all of your clothes together as 5 peoples is too much to deal with.

How is it going?

MedwayMumoffour Thu 17-Mar-16 21:27:28

I wish I could bottle some motivation. It just doesn't seem to last.

I would really love to do what they do on these American hoarder programs and get everything out on the lawn. Clean the house. Then go through the stuff before it goes back in.

MedwayMumoffour Thu 17-Mar-16 22:30:09

Hmm, not sure I am a true hoarder. I don't keep any rubbish or truely useless items. I have a clear floor ( when the kids are in bed!) and there's only "stuff" on the floor that has migrated under the sofa, table etc that I clear periodically. So no paths through pilled up stuff ( except in my bedroom, where it is walk sideways as its bad in there).

I have emotional attachment to the kids clothes, toys, possessions. I don't tend to buy myself clothes now but I am the same with my clothes. I buy things but tend not to get rid. I'm not a compulsive shopper, but I get more than I need.

I'd like to say I'm not a true hoarder because I have never had a health professional say so. But I probably aim. I fit all the diagnostic criteria - just no dead rodents or out of date food - yet.

But I guess most hoarders would deny it. It's something I'm not proud of.

Dad used to keep out date food, was and keep bread bags. But again it wasn't to the ceiling ever.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Thu 17-Mar-16 23:13:25

What about taking a before and after photos -

So corner A - pic of 5 bin bags - so you have a record of your achievement? You can see progress.

You could add how you feel about your wardrobe before and after

IsItMeOr Thu 17-Mar-16 23:21:10

I have had some success with writing myself a modest list of tasks to do in a day. So some examples have been to Kondo my socks and tights, my bras and pants, tops, coats, etc, etc. Basically I broke it all down into quite small categories, that I could manage to do quite quickly.

It meant that I was achieving something, even if it didn't mean the whole house was done.

I've definitely hit a bit of a roadblock at the moment though flipping EHCP.

How about we both try to do one thing tomorrow? What are you up for?

I could do with tidying the kitchen...

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