how to convince someone ELSE to declutter? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 05-29-2005, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
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ok my mom is the junk queen. her whole house is crammed. she has two storage buildings in her yard and rents a large storage room too. she needs help big time. i start twitching just walking into her house its so bad. what can i say? how can i convince her to let me help..ive dropped hints about freecycle and flylady, to no avail. i need to be more direct. help!

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#2 of 7 Old 05-29-2005, 07:06 PM
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I don't think you can.

Maybe if you get some websites or photos of really extreme examples you could scare her into decluttering?

I know that the really extreme examples usually involve mental illness- often OCD. Do you think this might be the case with your mother? If so, would she be open to getting psychiatric help?

Ruth, single mommy to 3 quasi-adults
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#3 of 7 Old 05-30-2005, 10:37 AM
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I don't think there's anything you can do about it either, unless she wants to get rid of stuff. My dad is the SAME way! ugh! I am a Freecycle owner, so I tried to turn him on to it, but he got on the website and thought it was a big scam for people to take his stuff and sell it at flea markets .

I know it's morbid, but the ONLY reason I look forward to my father's death is so I can get rid of all his JUNK!! You've just got to deal with it until then. We can't stay in his house when we visit, we have to stay in hotels b/c his guest room is filled to the ceiling with boxes. Stupid, I know. I wonder if they'd sit with us through an episode of Clean Sweep or something? I have a feeling, though, if my dad saw that show, he'd probably think all his junk was useful, not like those peoples. Or else he'd be wishing he could go to their yardsale and stock up! :LOL

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#4 of 7 Old 05-30-2005, 08:27 PM
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I feel the SAME WAY. Get this... okay me and my mom both are bad housekeepers. that's one thing. but my mom is continually getting more STUFF and cramming it in the house. she scrapbooks. she has TONS AND TONS of scrapbooking crap. in many rooms. the garage? can't park in there! can't even freaking walk in there. there are things she gets at the thrift store, at yard sales, all piling up and she can't find it when she needs it. she forgets she has half the stuff. she gave me her ford escape so we would have a backseat for baby and she bought this new 8 passenger Caravan. It is FULL now of crap that she bought at various places. We need to have a serious yardsale. she could make so much money. and this is where my child will be staying during the day! i have been wondering in the back of my head if this is some kind of sign. not necessarily mental illness, but at the very least of her trying to fill her life with something. well, she has certainly filled the house. that's it. as soon as i am unpregnant and able to get up and around, we are going to get a yard sale pile together.

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#5 of 7 Old 05-31-2005, 01:12 AM
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LOL we should have a Coalition for Children of Clutterbugs! My Mom has Numerous collections, they are nice but someday they will be passed along.Like 300 mini teasets,93 pairs of shoes,46 watches,76 rings,43 water pitchers.....ITS CRAZY! Its really up to them to finally decide to "pare down". She recently moved and I on purposely did not help her, I wanted her to FEEL the weight of her consumer gluttony so to speak(plus she lives 3 hours from us). In fact going to my moms house drains me, there is no visual break,iykwim? knick knacks everywhere and clausterphobic! I think it has helped her to feel the weight of her packratting, I will see as I visit her in June.
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#6 of 7 Old 05-31-2005, 01:13 AM
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I totally agree with all the PP's. You can't really convince someone else to declutter. Just set a good example and invite her over often. My mother is now decluttering her house because of my house. She even told me the other day "we're tackling the kitchen next, you'd be so proud". LOL (kitchen's are my BIG pet peeve and her's is awful) I guess just be glad you realized how much easier it was to be decluttered so you didn't live like that forever?
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#7 of 7 Old 05-31-2005, 10:02 AM
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My mom and dad are also packrats. (Not surprising I guess since both sets of grandparents were too.) DH and I have been cured of it by living in NYC where we don't have room for junk. Others are right, you can't convince someone else to declutter, but I do gently encourage it.

I require only that there be a safe place for us to stay if they want us to come there. (The first time we stayed there with dd it was horrible, thankfully she was too little to get into anything, but there were boxes of stuff literally up to the edge of the bed and the bed frame was falling apart. ) That at least collected their clutter so the livingroom and one bedroom were manageable.

I regularly try to engage my mom in conversations about what is in one of her many boxes, what she'd like done with them, and if I can help. Oftentimes it's a box of stuff she's saving for me or dd, and I take the box for her. Then I go through it, usually get rid of most of it, and keep the one or two useful things in it. A few years ago, I started refusing to let my parents just buy everything we're getting rid of, which they used to do.

I also asked my mom if I could have a garage sale at her house and she's joined in, so that should help.

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