Friday, December 4, 2015

The value of stuff

Since I can remember, my Mom has been a hoarder. Except when we were kids there was no fancy name for it - she just had a lot of stuff. Apparently her mother was the same way although I don't remember that specifically.  Interesting when you think that these women lived through some very tough times - my mother lived in a log house with mud to close the gaps between the logs to keep the cold out and then lined with cardboard. I'm sure many of you have similiar stories about your elders.

I found this link on the internet which is a very interesting read - have a look through all the pages - it only takes a few minutes.

Definition of a hoarder

There is a lot of my Mom in there - OK - me too, but I am able to break the cycle.

We took a break from building stuff and went to the farm to get some more stuff.  GASP - why did I do this after telling my Dad to NOT enable Mom.  Well - all her photo albums are still there, some stamp collections, some coin collections and I felt that that stuff needed to come in.

I was expecting this to be a tough trip since it would be the first time I'm in the house when it is no longer their home and some of the furniture and other things are gone.  Nope - none of those emotions surfaced.  There is still so much stuff in the house that it is hard to comprehend that some things had been removed.

I didn't have my camera with me and I'm not sure I even want to take pictures - I really don't want those memories of that house stuffed to the gills.  But it was my first chance to go through things to actually see what is there.   All I can say is that I walked around the house and repeatedly said "oh my god" in various tones and speed of delivery.  

There is garbage (not food garbage) but just stuff that she kept because it might be useful. Stuff she bought and never used - I found a BRAND NEW iron and hand mixer.  Never out of the box.  Let's just say that the iron is a tad dated and my guess - the 1960s.

So some stuff got put into the garbage bag but there wasn't time to go through everything. There is layers of dust on stuff that would put a dust bunny to shame. I had to move some stuff to get to a small cabinet that she wanted (and had the room for) and there was another entire small cabinet behind that I never knew was there. Boxes are piled from floor to ceiling - there are countless piles like that. Most of that is craft related stuff. Oh my god - I had better give a real serious look to my stuff at home.

I will be home soon and although I won't have a lot of time - this work business cuts into that time - I really really must schedule one hour at night or even just Sunday mornings as the get rid of clutter scenario.  That dining room has to be dealt with and probably just requires a couple of Sunday mornings.  Once that area is clear, then I'm dealing just with the basement which I can live with for the moment,  Imagine having a clutter free house.  Well we are close, but that damn dining room is my dumping ground.

Now if we could just get rid of this stuff here- wouldn't that be nice.  Nope - I have moved and then moved again the same damn boxes in the last couple of days and god forbid that you throw anything away.  We can't because she will ask for it.   However when I leave, there are going to be VERY STRICT rules and everyone that visits them is going to be reminded of those rules.  NOTHING comes into the apartment unless something goes out.  I have to figure out how to get around the "let's just store those boxes on the floor in the living room" mentality.   She thinks if there is an open space - that is rooom for storage.  Not so.  Two of my aunts dropped in for a visit and they are on board with our rules.  I will have no qualms about having the fire department and the building super have a visit and strongly remind her that boxes on the floor are not accepted.   SAFTEY is my number one issue - if it is remotely NOT safe - it isn't happening.

While I would say that I have hoarding tendancies, there is a difference.  I am quite prepared to get rid of my stuff or at least use it and right now I have room to store it.  I don't want or need half of what I have and I can part with it (not the quilting stuff yet - so don't ask!).  I must admit that did take a bit of training, but once you get started - it works.  Mom doesn't want to get rid of anything!!!!   It's all valuable.   That attitude has changed over the last couple of years and I'm hoping that next summer we will be given a free rein to deal with the rest of the stuff in the houses at the farm. If there is anything left - crime is a very common thing in this area. And yes - houses with an S - there are two of them filled with stuff.

I thought there was a book called "The value of stuff", but I can't find it - hmmmm - there's a topic for a book.  There is a book called "the Story of Stuff".   Anyway - there are enough organization books out there -  one more is not needed.  But do they have books on the topics of hoarding????   Oh yes - there are a lot. I must get one so I can figure out how to help them deal with this situation as it isn't going to be easy to stop her.   Well forutnately she doesn't know a thing about the computer, can't shop from catalogues so we are the only ones to enable her now and we have to stop. But we also have to deal with her mental angst and that is going to be hard.

On that cheery note - the bookcases assembled, the cabinets are assembled - a few more shelves to put up today and today's the day that pictures get hung on the walls and things get put away.  I can't wait to see how much is left over after that.  That is going to be crunch time.  It won't be pretty.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!



  1. I have read every book I can get my hands on through my inter-library loan and some are good. . . .but some are so scholarly that they were almost too hard to get through. If you are really interested I will check back through my "books read" file and give you the titles and authors (that's the only info I keep).

    Good luck!

    1. Sherry - are these books on hoarding??? I did find a couple at our library today and going to read them. The problem is that we get it - how do we get my Mom to GET IT?????