Very simplified mamas--were your parents packrats? - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-04-2009, 12:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just curious

I feel like my parents are one extreme (keeping EVERYTHING!) and I've gone to the other extreme (keeping nothing--LOL!) Wondering if other people have had the same experience?

Single mama to DD 10/18/03 and DS 9/15/05 

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Old 10-04-2009, 02:17 AM
 
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Well, I'd call myself a recovering packrat. I definitely have a long way to go but my mom is still a huge packrat. With DH and at least two of his siblings they are like you describe. They came from a packrat home that was always cluttered. DH had a really hard time growing up with the clutter and now keeps his possessions to a minimum. He's been a huge inspiration and help to me as I've been shedding the burden of stuff.

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Old 10-04-2009, 02:28 AM
 
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I think the pack rat gene has been watered down in my family. My grandmother is a HUGE pack rat. She keeps everything. My mom is very sentimental about the oddest things, i.e. her old vacuum cleaner, her old phone, her old clothes that she hasn't worn in 20 years, etc. And won't get rid of such things. Although, she's not as bad as grandma who keeps every single scrap of paper and piece of twine.

I, on the other hand, am definitely a minimalist. I tend to be hardcore about de-cluttering, and will routinely go through the house and put things in the Goodwill box. I also have a rule about buying non-necessities - if I buy a non-necessity, then I have to give something away that I already own.

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Old 10-04-2009, 10:33 AM
 
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I am the most minimalist person I know, although I always see room for improvment!!

My parents are not big packrats, although if I had my way I would certainly clear out a bunch of stuff- especially clothes- my mom has closets and closets full. I will never understand this womenly desire to have so many clothes. Dh and I share a closet both of our clothes for all seasons fit in there. If I cannot fit something in = organized than I have too much. For my and dh's parents that just means you need more storage. Dh's parents are definitely packrats. His mom is a hoarder, but his dad packrats other things- you have to keep every building equipment/ car piece etc because you might need it later. We refuse to put the time and energy into keeping up with it- not to mention now he is spending thousands of dollars building new sheds becasue he cannot hold it all- it seems to me the small amount saved here and there would take a long time to add up to that. We save basic things, but not every small scraps. So, I am sure they think we are wasteful. Having nice uncluttered spaces is everything for my piece of mind. I like knowing where everything is and that is nicely organized for every part of our house!

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Old 10-04-2009, 12:49 PM
 
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On the other side both of my parents have minimalist tendencies and I have to be really really careful or else nothing would ever leave my house.
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Old 10-04-2009, 12:53 PM
 
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Yes! My parents and both sets of grandparents were packrats or hoarders. Or rather, they seem to start out packrats and by the time they're elderly they have cupboards full of ancient, sticky general mills proof of purchase things carefully cut out decades ago.

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Old 10-04-2009, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes! My parents and both sets of grandparents were packrats or hoarders. Or rather, they seem to start out packrats and by the time they're elderly they have cupboards full of ancient, sticky general mills proof of purchase things carefully cut out decades ago.
LOL!! When I was younger, I used to have to sneak stuff out of the house into the trash so it wouldn't find it's way back in the house courtesy of my dad

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Old 10-04-2009, 01:41 PM
 
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Yes. I think there are many emotional reasons for clutter. Dh and I have worked through ours (which stem from our childhoods) and keep a decluttered/simple home.

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Old 10-04-2009, 04:18 PM
 
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Yes, definitely. Dh's parents are hoarders, and he sees this and actively tries to let go of things we don't need. I see that they have a basement and several bedrooms that they can't use and a house that you can't be comfortable in...and I actively work against that. My parents - not as bad with keeping stuff, just with organizing it.

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Old 10-04-2009, 04:28 PM
 
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I feel like my parents are one extreme (keeping EVERYTHING!) and I've gone to the other extreme (keeping nothing--LOL!) Wondering if other people have had the same experience?
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.

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Old 10-04-2009, 04:30 PM
 
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Yes, I am definitely inspired to not keep things because of family members who would keep everything. I want empty space in my house!
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Old 10-04-2009, 08:09 PM
 
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I have packrat tendancies, unlike both of my parents. I think it stems from being lonely as a child. I had a great family life, but very few things. I would keep things that reminded me of the few friends I did have. DH comes from quite a packrat family. His grandmother and mother were both extreme hoarders. It looks like his brother will be one, too. DH definitely has those issues. He will hold onto a lot of things because of sentimental value. I've been working with him and we are slowly doing better. Before me, DH never lived in a house with more than a 1 foot wide trail between clutter in which to walk.

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Old 10-04-2009, 10:40 PM
 
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Not to an extreme degree, but yes. Growing up our house was always messy- with 5 people in a small house, and my mom didn't really care, or make us declutter, things got sloppy. I was embaressed to have friends over.

Now as an adult I hate clutter, hate the thought of gobs of boxes packed away with crap, etc. My DH, on the other hand..... sigh. I am trying to convert him to the tidy side.

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Old 10-04-2009, 11:15 PM
 
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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.
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:25 PM
 
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Umm, yeah

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Old 10-05-2009, 02:59 AM
 
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Both of my parents (divorced when I was 3) are more minimalists than I am, but I am only slightly less minimalistic.....nothing significant.

DH's parents keep a nice home and always have, but the attic and closets and underbeds are far more crowded with sentimental "stuff" than I would ever want to have. DH has some minor packrat tendencies, but it isn't anything major.

We don't have an attic or basement or garage. I would love a garage for our cars and tools, but we live fine without any of those. I love having tidy closets where anyone can open any of them and find what they want. I strive to keep the space under our bed clear, but it is invariably the largest flat space we have for random, short-term items. Our DD's bed has a trundle underneath, which suits me just fine.

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Old 10-05-2009, 03:13 AM
 
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Just curious

I feel like my parents are one extreme (keeping EVERYTHING!) and I've gone to the other extreme (keeping nothing--LOL!) Wondering if other people have had the same experience?
Yes!!!
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Old 10-05-2009, 03:37 AM
 
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Your question fits my family perfectly. The only think that I do keep plenty of is food.
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:13 AM
 
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Your question fits my family perfectly. The only think that I do keep plenty of is food.
Yep, totally agree!

Happily Married to my : 11 yrs- Mama to wild-eyed monkey boy 7-04, fiery little girl 4-07, and the happy smiley baby that sleeps 11-09!
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Old 10-06-2009, 02:22 AM
 
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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.
My mother does this too! The clothes thing I don't mind, but the saving my refuse for a rainy day? Annoying. That and her definition of declutter (because she does get rid of some things) is "give to dd (me) or dgs (my ds)". Drives me INSANE. I just got a bag of 30 seashells. And all they're almost identical. ETA: by the way, we live 3 months of the year on an ISLAND. Why would I require a bag full of shells????

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Old 10-06-2009, 04:07 AM
 
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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).

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Old 10-06-2009, 07:06 AM
 
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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.
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Old 10-07-2009, 07:45 PM
 
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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.

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Old 10-07-2009, 07:58 PM
 
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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.
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Old 10-07-2009, 08:45 PM
 
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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.

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Old 10-07-2009, 10:09 PM
 
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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.

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Old 10-08-2009, 11:09 AM
 
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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.
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Old 10-08-2009, 03:45 PM
 
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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.

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Old 10-12-2009, 03:14 AM
 
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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".

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Old 10-12-2009, 03:35 AM
 
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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.
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