KonMari and co-dependent hoarding(16 Posts)
I've been doing (and loving) the KonMari method but have stalled at DD(12)'s bedroom. She keeps everything she's ever touched.
She has a million little stones and trinkets, old theatre tickets, springs from broken toys, bits of paper where she's written things or drawn a little picture, and she refuses to get rid of anything.
I ask her 'but does it bring you joy?', and she always say 'yes, it does because...'. Basically, everything brings her joy.
And it's got to the point where she's convinced me that she should keep her things, which is making me more reluctant to throw away my stuff too.
Am I just being a soft touch? Any tips for getting back to being really ruthless? She says I'm trying to throw away her memories!
Hmm, tricky! I guess maybe try and get your head back towards the "what do I want to keep?"
what would I rescue from a fire rather than "what must I get rid of?"
Is DD's room the final frontier, or can you leave her for a bit and get on with the rest of the house? If there's more to do elsewhere I might leave her to it, and make a very big deal out of how lovely the rest of the house feels now that there's more space, and you can find things easily etc... You might be able to coax her towards joining in with some of the categories (helping you get all the pens and pencils together, then chucking all the broken ones) and see if that sparks anything for her.
I'd also ostentatiously make a "special memories" box for things you're keeping for her - maybe it's anxiety or insecurity making her resist, and she'll feel comforted by seeing you're not getting rid of everything?
Mondo does say in her book that you should just focus on your own stuff and let others come to their own conclusions... Think you have to leave your 12 yo to it! At least you can close the door on the trinkets.
I would be pissed off with my mum if she wanted me to get rid of my things because of some fad! Leave her be!
I'd leave her be for now. She may see the example of the rest of the house and want to try it in future, but in the meantime she can just live with her clutter.
One tip I found helpful around that age - I had hundreds of cuddly toys, and was resisting getting rid of any. Eventually we took photos of all the toys (arranged together in groups) and then I could get rid of them because I still had a memento, if that makes sense.
I still have the photos somewhere, although haven't looked at them in decades.
I cull DD's unloved stuff when she's not looking. Have done for yrs. I have no regrets, not a fad, just necessity.
Age 6, She had maggots in her carpet & many toys from a hoarded dead bird. She (now a teen) tossed 14 kg of clothes recently. Huge progress.
Isn't that an ASD trait? Do you think your daughter might be on the spectrum? If so it might actually cause her a lot of distress to throw some of these things away so I agree you should leave her be.
Not every hoarder has, ASD? DD is just sentimental & greedy!
My colleague w/ ASD was not a hoarder (have been in his home).
I know a DC like this- they seems to have a feeling almost of guilt about throwing away. Seems to have partly begun as a response to some well meaning environmentalism- 'disposable' manufactured things causing problems etc.
Also guilt about throwing away a memento of any kind because disposal would mean the experience or person wasn't valued. And in a general worry that the DC would need to keep that bedraggled visitor map to remember the visit at all. So elements of fear of loss, with guilt, anxiety, it's clearly emotionally complex and has needed to be handled gently.
Agree that being able to demonstrate that the opposite approach can be taken (..with your own things!) without causing any catastrophe is a good way to start.
I've struggled with boarding tendencies for years - it's a huge issue in my life. I wish my parents had helped me find healthy ways of dealing with it. I think they thought I'd grow out if it but I didn't.
I think you do need to intervene but not by chucking her stuff away or doing it for her.
I understand the anxiety about chucking things away. She needs to be helped to Do something with the stuff, not leave it in chaos IMO.
I also suggest a memory box (or a few!). Can you help her sort through the stuff (without any threat of binning it) as a first stage? She needs to be helped go through this process as a regular thing.
Also for broken bits what helped me was an "amnesty box". It's like a stepping stone to chucking things out. I would find it hard to get rid of broken bits and things that I thought would be useful if only I could find the other lost bit in the mess (half a jigsaw, that kind of thing). I'd put that kind of really useless stuff in a "lots bits amnesty box". This helped with tidying as I could go through stuff without agonising about whether I should keep that stuff, Just chuck it in the box then on to the next thing.
Anything that ended up with all bits reunited came out of the amnesty box. Then when the rest of it had all been in the box for a while and not been reunited with the other bits it was easier to accept it all had to go.
When I was a teenager I was persuaded to have a clear out by choosing some soft toys etc to donate to a children's charity. Could that work? The women's refuge are usually pleased to receive toys.
I was also encouraged by being allowed to choose new decor/furniture but we had to have a clear out first.
Thanks all for your ideas and for sharing your perspectives; they're really helpful and has given me lots of food for thought.
I hadn't really thought about the ASD thing in relation to this - I suppose it could be linked to to that as her siblings have ASD.
I appreciate your points about leading by example and letting her do her own thing. Although I'm in a similar position to theothercat in that I wish I hadn't inherited my (hoarding) parents' habits - before I tried KonMari, I had to move house to have any sort of a cull, otherwise things would just accumulate over time. I do want to teach her how to stay organised, but perhaps you're right in that it doesn't mean she has to chuck stuff away
I really like the idea of the amnesty box as a first step too.
Wow, lljkk - I hope she doesn't have any dead animals up there, that must have been awful!
Scrapbooks for paper-type mementoes? Baskets to put "like with like" as this is a Kondo method? Display shelf/boxes to showcase the "really important" stuff? But mostly just leave her to it, I think.
I would leave her be. My daughter was like that and now 2 years later wants a more ordered space. But she learnt her way. Your daughters bedroom is her space. Let her breath.
I used to be like your DD! Eventually mum snapped when a bag full of last year's conkers rotted and there were flies everywhere.
I had to throw out all the slimy stuff around them and that led to downsizing in general.
I was about 8 though.
She also had tactics like donating toys to the school fair, we each had to fill a bag each.
Now I am a tidy adult.
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