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Very simplified mamas--were your parents packrats? - Page 2

post #21 of 42
Simply - yes my parents horde and I it used to drive me nuts as a teenager and I *know* that is one of my reasons for scaling down and constant decluttering. I always the have urge to get into my mums stuff now to help her declutter (she wants to but likes everything she has or feels guilty about letting go of things that have been given to her).
post #22 of 42
Both of my parents are packrats, so are DH's. I absolutely hate clutter and refuse to store things except clothes for the next kid down.
post #23 of 42
Originally Posted by Sailor View Post
I think the pack rat gene has been watered down in my family.
I think the opposite is happening in my family. My parents save a lot, but I think my mom is getting better as she gets older and my father likely sees death approaching and doesn't want this stuff hanging around. They are also depression-era babies, so it's kind of understandable. My house is worse than my mom's and my daughter will not throw out GUM wrappers.

I watched this TLC or some kind of show on hoarders. They have found a genetic anomaly on some chromosome. I think DH has it, too. We are not to the point of having paths through the house, but we are definitely cluttered.
post #24 of 42
Well, my mom grew up in the post depression era and had very little so I think that's why she hangs onto everything. It drove me crazy growing up. We had magazines that were ten years old. I'm not a total minimalist, but I hate clutter. To this day, I refuse to subscribe to a newspaper because I don't want the paper in my house. I grew up with paper everywhere and I can't stand it.
post #25 of 42
My mother would throw away anything that wasn't nailed down and I have a lot of regrets. I wish I had a school report card or a dress from when I was a baby or a couple of special toys from my childhood.
So, I try to be more minimalist but to hold on to somethings for my lo's to have or discard when they are older.
post #26 of 42
yes,yes,yes....and i was totally the same way until i was pregnant with dd and decided i didn't want to raise her the same way....it has been a 3 year process to declutter and i am still not finished. it is sad that i have wasted so much time on all this but it is freeing and really i am proud of my accomplishments and i think one day i will actually feel content that i have completed this path of simplifying.

the reason it has taken so long is because i wanted to do this in a specific way....sell some stuff, donate, organize, scan or photograph before i get rid of....and i've kept certain things and then realize i don't need them...so i get rid of more.
post #27 of 42
Originally Posted by ElaineBenes View Post
Yes! Very severe packrat parents. My husband's parents keep nothing much at all. I am trying to slim down now as I see the packrat in myself. I am also trying to teach the kids to learn to manage their stuff as well and realize it is not the things that are so important.
This is pretty much the same for me, except my inlaws are also packrats which makes DH a bit of a packrat as well. I feel like I am the one who is leading the charge to declutter all the time, yet it can be a struggle for me as well. I do find clean and clear spaces to be so relaxing, yet the detritus of life keeps messing it up.
post #28 of 42
This is exacty my situation. My parents are hoarders and my mom has a shopping addiction. Growing up this way was extremely difficult and my relationship with them is still strained for this and other reasons. Their house is still a source of contention and I've had to set clear boundaries for myself in order to have a relationship with them (e.g. I don't ever go to their house even though they live closeby). I physically can't stand clutter (I get vertigo) and so we have a wonderfully minimalist home.

Sometimes clutter can be just a messy house and often it's so much more and can be so damaging to kids.
post #29 of 42
Oh, yes! Until a fire took out the barn loft they were stored in, my dad had college notes, textbooks, & etc. from 50 years ago, because he "might need them again someday." They had magazines (still have in their house, no doubt) magazines they'd had for 40 years, plus stacks of magazines from my grandfather's estate, that were decades older! ("They're collectables, might be worth something!") Piles of clothes in the guest room on the floor so high, they were taller than the bed & all dirty again!

DH's parents used to be more tidy, but as they've gotten older have gotten piles of stuff all over. He doesn't have lots of "stuff," but what he has, he tends to scatter around. He also doesn't like to throw away worn-out things.

I drifted along accumulating stuff (& having stuff dumped on my doorstep!) until I was pregnant with my 1st child, then I started decluttering like crazy! I now only want to have stuff that is useful, & that has a place; enough copies to make life run smoothly, without so much as to clog the gears (pairs of socks, dishes, etc.) While I'm by no means a minimalist (I like (& use!) all my books & my art/hobby stuff very much, thank you), I'm horrified at the thought of living like my folks, so my decluttering & organizing is definitely based on avoiding familial "packrat-itis".
post #30 of 42
Honestly, my mother's house should be condemned by the fire department. Seriously. It's jam-packed with newspapers, catalogues, magazines, val-pak coupons, all piled on the floor so that you (well, just mom because no one is allowed in) have you walk on top of all that paper just to get around.

It's not just her house either. She has storage spaces all over the city filled with crap from 50 years ago, in addition to newspapers and Lane Bryant catalogues from 1992.

I'm not super minimal, but I do try.
post #31 of 42
Originally Posted by Beauchamp View Post
Oh, yes. My mother is still wearing MY old clothes from high school. (I'm 31 years old.) She picks things out of my Goodwill boxes and squirrels them away in her closet.
OMG, see I'm not alone! My mom does exactly this. They never let me get rid of things so all my old clothes (out of style, whatever) went into a garbage bag and into a basement. I found out too that my mom was wearing my old bras too (the small cup ones--she had lost around 30 pounds after my dad passed and could fit into them).
post #32 of 42
Yup. As my parents' health is deteriorating, I now feel that I should take some responsibility for their home, and I have done my best to declutter and organize without stepping on too many toes. When we realized my mom would need regular household help, I finally got her permission to pack up all the junk from the main floor and get it into the basement. We bought a bunch of IKEA storage shelving, hoping to be able to stack things from the junk room in the basement to make room for junk from main floor.. DH found a bunch of boxes that hadn't been opened since a move in the early 80s. They still wanted to keep them but he played the water damage card and we got junk removal guys to haul off virtuallly the entire contents of that room. Now it's filling up with crap from the rest of the house, but at least it's in boxes, on shelves.

We live in 700sq ft. There will soon be 4 of us. No junk allowed!
post #33 of 42
My minimalist tendicies increased as I get older and realize more and more what useless stuff my parents and in-laws keep.

My in-laws are hoarders. They buy and buy and buy stuff, but nothing leaves the house. Things they buy that would be useful (i.e. like a new phone when their old phone broke) tend to hang around in boxes way too long or just never get used. We don't take the kids over to their house anymore because 1) MIL smokes and everything smells of smoke (anything she gives us out of her house all smellls like smoke) and 2) it's way dangerous for the kids. Sad but true. They either come to our house or we see them at a relative's house.

My parents are not as bad, but they still have hoarder tendencies. Dad is pretty good about not buying much stuff, but then when it comes into the house, he won't get rid off it because "it's still good". For example, he wouldn't get rid of my brother's old computer from 1999 because it still worked. He wasn't using it, mind you, they had a new one, but "it was still good." I finally had it recycled/donated.
Mom just gets sentimental about stuff. She called the other day, because she was sorting through old papers:

Mom: Do you want your first birthday cards?

Me: What cards?

Mom: The cards all the family and friends gave you when you were 1 year old.

Me: ?????

I have never seen these cards (there must have been about 20) , didn't even know she had them, why would I want them? But my brother meanwhile, took his.
post #34 of 42
My mom and dad totally are. I just spent the week with them and almost went crazy with all the stuff they have! It makes me want to give away EVERYTHING I have! lol
post #35 of 42
Originally Posted by loon13 View Post
My minimalist tendicies increased as I get older and realize more and more what useless stuff my parents and in-laws keep.
Exactly what I was going to say! Why do people need to hang onto something "just in case"? Like my 58 yr old mother still has a crib in her basement?!? Also, she still has the poster they put up when my sister got married almost 20 years ago In-laws save old appliances (small ones) when they get new ones, just in case the new ones break, I guess. Um...why buy a new one then? I don't get it.

I keep just what we need...what we actually use on a daily basis...that's it. Life is too busy to waste time keeping extra junk clean and put away. BTW, my mom used to do the old routine of giving me her extra stuff until she saw us carting it off to Goodwill once. That was the end of that.
post #36 of 42
My mother became a horrible packrat after a family tragedy. I remember walking around boxes to get from room to room in my later years at home. I keep the clutter to a minimum.
post #37 of 42
Both my parents are packrats, but off different kinds. Mom keeps every scribbled picture, craft, and photo along with hand-me down clothes and unfiled paperwork. Dad keeps the leftovers from projects around the house, farm, and old construction projects. He has stuff (nice stuff mind you) salvaged from jobs he did 20 years ago. They have the space to keep it all, but my goodness its overwhelming. I'm not a super simplistic nut yet, but I'm on my way there.
post #38 of 42
Originally Posted by Beauchamp View Post
Oh, yes. My mother is still wearing MY old clothes from high school. (I'm 31 years old.) She picks things out of my Goodwill boxes and squirrels them away in her closet.
I could have written this post! Yesterday my mom just took a bag from my house that was going to Goodwill, AND she wears my old clothes.

My mom is a big hoarder and I REFUSE to get anywhere close to that so I am relentless about decluttering. I wish my mom would stop giving us so many knick knack items. Because I really would rather have the clear spaces instead of knick knacks but I feel bad when I get rid of the ones she gives me. But that is another topic.
post #39 of 42
One set of grandparents were hoarders, things were packed up to the ceiling, you walked through a trail system. The other set were not like that but would have expired canned goods they refused to throw out. I remember not even being able to place a glass of water anywhere in the living room because there was no room. My dad doesn't keep anything he doesn't use, his parents were the hoarders. My mother does declutter but keeps more stuff then I do. I go through things constantly, I can NOT stand clutter in my house, not even a box. I fight a battle with my mom who likes to bring a bag off stuff off weekly that she thought I could use.
post #40 of 42
Yes. Not that they live in squalor or are hoarders, per say, but they don't unclutter until they are overwhelmed. If you go into their bedroom, it's filled with little pieces of garbage and junk just laying around. (Not putrescible garbage, though.) They don't get rid of things they don't use anymore. It used to be that their whole house was like this. I grew up in a very cluttered house!

I still find it amazing that I can see the floor in my house. There aren't things crammed beside the couch, against the wall, etc. I can vacuum the whole floor without spending 45 minutes cleaning things off of it. It's novel.
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