There is something I’ve been wanting to tell you…

I still am not sure how to go about this, but you all have been so supportive this past month as I worked through my internal struggles. I used to not even notice, but it seems to just be getting worse. My husband is fed up with it, and my kids don’t even have their friends over anymore.

I think I’m a hoarder. It is not as bad as the people you see on tv…there are no rats or anything. This all started the more I stayed home. It is easy to just let stuff around you pile up, when you are in a wheelchair, and since I can’t really go shopping at real stores very often, the home shopping network has been my lifeline. Well, that and blogging.

This may, or may not seem like a big deal to you, but the problem is that since I can’t go upstairs very often, I keep most of the stuff downstairs. I put a lot under the stairs, but there is no more room. It is not like I am just wasting money on stuff I will never use…I have a purpose for everything I order, and I will use it, it is just that sometimes I order stuff for a period of time in the future. Also, sometimes I get stuff that reminds me of when my kids were little, because there are so many happy memories there.

Anyway, it is getting difficult to move around. My wheelchair is pretty wide, and paths seem to be getting smaller. I just need to do something, and I don’t know what. I would sell some of the stuff, but what if I need it later?

Okay, so sorry for all the drama, and I hope you are not disappointed that I am just hoarding stuff. I don’t even know if that is a real problem. Maybe it is just a different lifestyle, but I have watched that hoarders show, and they usually need professional help. Like I mentioned before, I don’t really want to go see a psychiatrist or anything, because of transportation issues. I just need some ideas on how to best deal with this. It is kind of embarrassing, and I don’t want to tell anyone in my regular life, because they would want to see my house and stuff. Talking about it to you seems like a better option.

Thanks for all your concern, and suggestions.

34 responses to “There is something I’ve been wanting to tell you…”

  1. Hmmm…just a thought… the stuff with ‘memories’ attached – maybe download the image of them rather than get the item? (Pinterest leaps to mind…I don’t like it but its scrapbook nature might work for you?) Or maybe start an electronic scrapbook type thing where you can ‘stick’ in the pictures and write down something about the memory they’re linked to…? That could be something nice to look through and share with your kids in the future?

    Another thought – those things you get for the future – just think how much cheaper they might be after mark downs… There might even be a better version if you buy it when you need it rather than getting it now. If you’ve got it already, sell it and put the money away for when you get it in the future – if you still need to! 🙂 And if you really need it later, it or something very much like it will be there in the future!


    • I haven’t checked into pintrest, but it does sound like something that might be useful and fun in a way. The scrapbook idea is a good one too. I think I’m going to buy a “netbook” or something similar…maybe an iPad too. We already have a scanner, so getting the pics online wouldn’t be hard. I kind of am a procrastinator, but I’m sure one day I would be able to sort them all out.

      Buying stuff that is marked down is great, but I have to be careful. Sometimes I buy stuff just because it’s on sale even if I don’t need it at the moment. It would be nice to sell some things, and make a little money. On the show “Hoarders” they put stuff in piles, to give away, throw away, sell, keep. I need to do that, but it is hard to know where to start. Thanks for your ideas…I really need all the advice I can get.

  2. In my head it makes sense what you’re doing. Because of the wheelchair and the fact you can’t get out or get upstairs…downstairs is going to be YOUR space. It should be your space. Maybe organize it somehow? Is there storage anywhere else in the house? Maybe your husband could help you out here…things you will need in the future or the things that remind you of your kids/memories could go to another area in the house and when you need those things, someone can get them for you. Have you got things in bins or containers so maybe it won’t feel so cluttered to you? I’ve found that when I keep things, for whatever reason, if I put them in attractive containers of some kind it helps me to feel less cluttered. It’s…how do I say this? It’s not really fair that your husband would get fed up with this. Thinking he should be a bit more understanding here! But men aren’t really good at that. I think organization is key here woman! It’s hard to get rid of stuff! Remember that perfume bottle I told you about that I kept for years? Yep…found it the other day (or it could be another one I managed to not throw away) when I was looking for scrunchies. I still have it! Did not even know. Did I trash it? Nope. Could still smell the perfume. 😀 Maybe make a list of the things you’ve got, categorize them, then shop for yourself some nice containers/boxes/baskets to organize it all. When you do that, it helps you to feel in control and that will make you feel SO much better! Oh, if only I were closer. I’d love to be able to help you!!

    • You are so sweet to want to help, but even if you were close, I don’t know if I’d want you to see it. I do have a lot of containers, but a lot of stuff isn’t in containers too. Organization really is an important part. I thought about getting a storage shed to just help clear some of this stuff out, but I worry that if I get room in the house, I’ll just fill it up again.

      As far as my husband goes, I think he is more fed up with me in general, than the stuff. He is a good dad, and a good provider, but I will admit that our relationship is a little strained right now. It is both of our faults though, and I’m sure it will work out. If nothing else, it gives me emotions to write about. 😉 No, really, everything will work out.

  3. I am new to your blog, so I don’t know anything about your history. I tend to be blunt, so I hope I’m not too harsh. It sounds to me like you might have some issues that new containers are not going to fix. If this is a problem for your family, you are not an island, this is a problem for you too.
    I think you should make some promises to yourself and your family. Maybe you stop watching the home shopping channels. Maybe you promise that for every new thing to come in the house, three things go out. Maybe you can promise to find three things a week which can be donated to charity. If you need help with this, don’t be ashamed! It is not weak to ask for help. You are taking the steps you need to take to have your life be the best it can be. That is powerful!
    Step one is always admit you have a problem. So, you can scratch that right off your list for starters. Congratulations.

    • I’m so glad you are checking out my blog, and sorry it is at a weird time. Usually I write about fun stuff…this is just an unusual situation.

      Anyway, don’t ever feel bad to be blunt here. I love honesty, and when it is up to me to read between the lines, I often get it wrong.

      I like the idea of making promises to myself and my family. I also think that you are right about taking small steps. I have tried to clean out things, like the closet, before and it can get really overwhelming. Thanks for the congratulations on admitting the problem. It feels like a big step, but it is nice to finally get it out there.

      • My hubby & I just had this emotion-laden type weekend here too! Our eldest daughter & her new hubby are coming for a visit for Easter so we needed to clean out the guest bedroom which has been just a storage room since we moved into the condo. I got mad at him because my idea of cleaning things out is to move things out of the room, examine them, decide what gets kept, what gets tossed or donated & then taking only what’s staying back into the room. His idea is to slowly work through what’s in the room, organizing his tool chest & his cords & the Xmas lights as he goes. We lock horns every time we do this. I can’t move to do anything following his way & he hates my way! So we end up mad at each other. For a little while & then we get over it & work together.
        But I agree with lifeandfriendship, you need to get ruthless. If you haven’t used something in 6 months, you aren’t going to use it again – it’s time to go. If you’ve bought something & it won’t get used in the next 6 months – it’s time for it to go too! Start with a corner, clean it up, feel really proud of yourself for a day & then tackle something else the next day. The things you say bring back memories of the kids when they were small are just things – take pictures, scrapbook, whatever – you don’t need a lot of things to remind you of your children. IMHO

        • Thanks, very good advice, and although the hoarding thing was for the most part an April Fools Joke, I do have certain areas in my life that I need organization with. Everyone has been so great at offering suggestions and sympathies, I almost called the whole joke off because people seemed to be so concerned, but it was a little too late at that point. I do appreciate your suggestions and other’s so much. You all have helped me to be less cynical of others in general, and I hope that I haven’t offended anyone with this “not so funny” prank.

  4. I can understand how these things get out of control. You are stuck at home for the most part and I’d imagine bored and trying to stay upbeat (you apologized several times for not being funny like you usually are) and buying things probably gives you a little bit of pleasure but then you feel guilty because when you get it there is no place to put it. You hang onto the memories of when your kids were young because those were undoubtedly happier times and I would imagine you are feeling a bit like you are losing control over your life and your happiness; over your ability to “do”.

    I was developing a hoarding issue when I was with JC because I felt my life was out of control, I was lonely, depressed and scared and collecting things that I found for free or on sale made me feel better for awhile. I was proud of myself for saving money but my place was getting over crowded so I started making myself throw away something before I brought the new thing in. Every time I went to buy something or bring another treasure home I had to decide what I would throw out. If I couldn’t think of something I was willing to toss then I didn’t want it that bad.

    I also go shopping to avoid going home and being alone, I know why I do it but its really hard to stop. I imagine you are doing something similar; avoiding something that is really bothering you. My cousin started hoarding things after her husband died. On the show “Hoarders” it usually started when the person had a serious illness or other tragedy in their life.

    I gather that you hate to ask for help and you don’t want to be a burden on anyone but I think the husband and kids could help organize things, keep what you can see using in say the next 6 months and put it in the logical storage space ie: tp in bathroom, keepsakes in the attic or the basement. Then have the kids hold a garage sale and do something special with them with the money you get. Or make it a family event to bag it up and give it to charity. After that maybe try collecting something small like I don’t know tea cups or something that you would find pleasure in but it wouldn’t cost much and takes up less room.

    I know how easily things like this can get out of control and then become overwhelming and it just gets worse. Its great that you recognize you have a problem and it sounds like you can do something about it before it is totally out of control. I read about your foray out to the garden so it sounds like the kids would help if you asked.

    I wish I was closer; I’d help 🙂 (PS sorry my comment got so long winded)
    Good luck!

    • Thanks for understanding. I do get bored a lot. Everything has changed so much in a year. This time last year I was driving, walking, not blogging. 😉 there are a lot of good things, but it is so different.

      Sorry to hear about your difficulties too. As far as the sale stuff goes, that is a really hard to resist, but please don’t worry too much about me. It is not as serious as what people seem to be making of it.

      The kids helping and the yard sale is definitely a great idea, especially now that the weather is nice. You have no idea how much I appreciate all the feedback on this. It helps me to get an idea of where to start, and it also helps me feel a little more hopeful about everything.

  5. Of course I think no less of you. In fact, my housemate, Lyn, is a borderline hoarder. I still label her as a pack rat as I have been in a true hoarders house. This guy literally had stuff from floor to ceiling with a narrow path to get through the house. In fact, in his bedroom, he put his bed in a loft with about 2 feet of space between the mattress and ceiling so that he could utilize the space beneath the bed. To him, if the bed was on the floor, then he considered all that air above the bed as wasted space.

    Now THAT is a hoarder. A pack rat is different, in my opinion. Since I live with one, I have been trying to figure out why she keeps so much. About 80% of what she has I would have tossed out – or never bought to begin with. But from what I understand, Lyn grew up rather poor, which would explain her “need” to buy and keep things – because she can buy stuff now. But what really puzzles me is her manner in keeping everything as though it is the last of it’s kind on earth. i.e. cottage cheese containers. There must have been 20 of them in here before I tossed them out. We’ll never use them all. And it’s not like there won’t be more that come through. Same thing about shopping. She’ll see a great sale on ibuprofen, for example, and buy a half dozen or so as if this is going to be the last sale ever.

    She also keeps mementos which mean something to her. Now, most people do this as well. I don’t, but I used to. Then I came to realize that all these birthday cards, Christmas cards, etc. just ended up in a box on the closet shelf never to come out again. I can understand why people do this more so than other pack rat behavior.

    Lyn is my dearest friend, and I love her to death as a friend. I don’t understand her pack rat behavior, but I accept it as that is her. (Although when she leaves the house now, I’m slowing starting to toss some of the true “junk” out – like the broken vacuum cleaner she “may repair.” It’ll never happen. I know her too well. She’s too busy and will not take the time to take the vacuum in for repair, and especially won’t take it apart to see what is wrong. It won’t work so motor I’m sure is out. She’s not going to replace the motor but will simply buy a new one, which she already has done when that one crapped out. Then I have mine which I brought with me when I moved in. So, one garbage day morning when she’s already left, it will go in the can to be picked up. To much of “I may do this” or “I may need that” around the house. None of it is the last available item on earth.

    So, in reference to your situation… I’m not a psychologist, and most certainly do not think any less. I live with one myself, as you now know. I think you can find the answer within yourself. Why do you keep so much? Why do you buy so much? And perhaps when temptation crosses your path, truly ask yourself and truthfully answer yourself, “Do I need this now?” “Well I seriously ever need this in the future?” And remember… except for the personal mementos, nearly everything we buy is not the last of it’s kind and will always be there when you truly do need it.

    I was also homeless at one point – I literally walked away from everything in my life due to a very abusive husband. I learned to live with only the clothes on my back. So it is very easy for me to keep my life in a minimalist life style. It’s just easier. And the less I have to dust and move around, the better.

    Sorry… didn’t mean to write a novel here….

    • That is okay, everyone is opening up so much to me. I really appreciate you all sharing your hearts, and lives. All of those questions that I should ask myself, seem like they would be helpful. I think half the battle is just realizing that things can and should be better. The whole hoarding thing is intersting to me. The different reasons why people do it can differ so much. I think there is a difference between a packrat and a hoarder too. My dad is definiely a pack rat, but I’m sure it looks like a hoarder if you only see the areas where he keeps most of his stuff.

      Sorry to hear about your homelessness period and especially about an abusive husband. It makes sense why it would be easy to live in a minilalist style with all of that you have gone through. I hate moving stuff, so that might be part of the reason things have a tendency to get piled up. It does seem like it gets a little better every day, and I am pretty sure that by the end of today, I will feel like I’ve gotten a lot off my chest. I’ve been waiting for this day for a while, and although it did feel good to put that out there, I think it will be even better once I have heard a lot of opinions, and gotten a chance to just let it all out. Thanks again for sharing with me.

      • I do really like the one suggestion about scanning items you can and putting on disc. Especially being in a wheelchair, it will make those sentimental cards and letters so much more easily accessible.

        In fact, I may suggest that to Lyn when the time is right. She has way too many boxes of that stuff, all falling apart, full of dust and old dog hair….

        • That really is a good idea. It would be great for the kids homework papers and drawings too. Some of those are just way too cute to throw away.

              • Actually, in order for me to move in, Lyn knew I needed the extra two bedrooms as I needed to house all my computers stuff in one room alone. So… she cleaned out the “junk” room which was piled from floor to ceiling with basically junk. Lots of empty boxes, packing peanuts, etc. Found a new toilet seat (??? she has no idea on that one). Etc.

                She truly amazed me by doing that. I honestly was very worried before she got it done.

                • Wow, that would have been quite a challenge. It is strange how you don’t even notice how much stuff you have until…well, I guess someone else is often the first to notice.

  6. Sometime this week I mentioned using the garage as a staging area, and emptying out your house. Honestly, for me getting rid of a lot of stuff is such a great feeling, but large scale shedding was usually done when we moved, which we haven’t done in a while. When you have anything enormous to do, just focus on one room at a time, and even one area of that room. Think of a magazine, how uncluttered that looks, and then make the room look like that. Then keep it like that. And so on. That’s the practical advice.

    But it’s not about that. You’re bored and kind of lonely, probably because of some divided issues between needing help and not wanting to be a burden. So you’ve been cutting people off before they cut you off. Whether they actually will or not. To make up for it, you have things. I think you should try this: Take the money you were going to spend on a thing, and take someone out to lunch. That will get you three things: Fewer items to hoard, a decent lunch with a friend, and a good feeling because you’re paying. You could do this with your husband and/or kids as well. That’s the advice I’m giving because I care.

    You know how people are treating you like an equal in the blogosphere, because you’re all mouthy and you bust everyone’s chops and you have great ideas that entertain the masses, and you can dish it out and take it? To me, that’s the real you. That’s how you are right now, not how you “were before”, much as that phrase bothers me. And if you treated the people around you in real life like you treat us on the blogosphere, well they’d all come after you with pitchforks and torches. No, seriously, you’d find that they would be as cool to you as we are, only slightly less cool, of course. People like you, Hobs. Just let them.

    • That was the sweetest thing LA. I think that your organizational ideas are great…I don’t quite need them that bad (see newer post).

      As far as your next paragraph, yeah. No joking around to that one. I did go out with a friend the other day, but I don’t know. It still was to a Dr. appointment, but we went to her house for a while after, and actually sat in her car for a while after getting a coke, just listening and talking. Even though I am not actually buying stuff, I could take friends out to lunch. I need to do it with my husband and kids too. It sucks that we can rarely go out one on one, but now that the weather is nice, I have taken my daughter out a couple times. The older kids I haven’t though. My husband and I don’t go out either. He just works a lot, and I hate never knowing how difficult it is going to be to get in and out of places. Not to mention the emotional stuff that is constantly going on in my head.

      I want to be this person at home, and I think just being able to be like this, free, on here has helped me to enjoy real life a little more. I have always had a lot of depression and stuff, but writing really helps that. You all have been so wonderful here. Sometimes it just is like an escape. Real life is a lot more complicated because even if I get smart-assed for a while, or funny, or whatever, I also get sad, and angry, and tired. Honestly, sometimes I feel like it is acting either way, even though it is not acting really. Just neither side sees everything. I don’t know if that is making any sense, but for some reason I think you might be able to understand.

      Anyway, thanks, sorry for the April Fools stuff, and I really hope you know just how thankful I am to know you.

  7. lol…All that build up.. I seriously was expecting a confession to something like running a terrorist cell or being a mafia hit man!

    I completely understand wanting to surround yourself with reminders of things that make you happy or bring back fond memories. You’ve gotten plenty of advice for organizing your memories, so I won’t put my two cents in… Just wanted you to know that I WISH my deepest, darkest confessions were as sweet as yours … You poor thing!

    — Bird

    • Thanks, you are so sweet, I think it is awesome that you thought I could be a hit man! The funny thing is, the build up really was just so that you would believe me when I said that I was a hoarder…it is actually an elaborate April Fools joke. (See most recent post). I feel kind of horrible now though, because everyone was so wonderful. Thanks for thinking I could be in the mafia, and thanks for thinking my fake hoarding is sweet, and hopefully you still think I am sweet. I really never expected everyone to open up to me like they have. It makes me a little teary, but you have all really shown me that people are loving and understanding and kind. I just hope you all forgive me now for the whole prank. I also hope that the intimacy people have shown doesn’t go away. Even though I am not actually a hoarder, I really do have lots of other issues.

      • AWESOME!! I LOVE PRANKS!! Let me tell you, I respect someone being able to pull one over on me…And you did it, my friend!

        After I hit the reply button, it occurred to me that the Mafia thing might not be so funny to some people. My family has mafia scattered all through it, so it isn’t a big deal to me…Glad to see you took it as a compliment!! LOL.. That was too fun… 🙂 Good One!

        • I’m so glad you liked it. I haven’t been sure how people would take it. Funny, I worried less about being a hoarder than I did about pranking everyone like that. As far as the Mafia goes, I don’t know if I would actually want to be one, but since I’m not, it sounds kind of cool.

  8. I just have to say that I am a daughter of a hoarder, and if it is getting to the point that you or your family don’t want to invite people in because of embarrassment, you have a problem. Take care of it before it ruins your entire life and the lives of your family. Tackle small areas at a time. Ask yourself, “Will I use this in the next year? Do I have a space for this that is not in storage of some kind? Is this item affecting the regular daily function of my life? Do I have sentimental attachment to this item, if so, do I feel like I will lose the memory if I get rid of the item? ”

    Many hoarders feel like if they get rid of an item, they are either hurting the person that the item is attached to, or they are losing out on a possible experience. This is not the case. You need to retrain your brain in decision making. One of the hardest things is to stop bringing new stuff into the house. Otherwise, it won’t matter how long you work on discarding the old. The house will never get any better.

    I know this is hard, but try and fight it now before your family starts to get angry and resent you for the missed opportunities that you are forcing them to deal with. Trust me. Nothing good comes from this disease, and other will see it as a problem long before you do.

    Good luck!

    • Thank you so much Christina. I really appreciate you being open and honest with me. I can not even imagine the heartbreak of growing up in a hoarder’s house. This post was actually part of an April Fool’s Day prank. I am sorry if I offended you in any way. I know that hoarding is a horrible disease, and that it is not joking material, but for some reason, my brain didn’t get that memo until after my fingers had been typing this and a few other “leading up to this” posts. Anyway, I am sorry for your situation, and I am really sorry for misleading you.

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