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#1 of 9 Old 04-12-2006, 02:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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HELP!I live with my mother and husband.Both are terrible pack rats.My mom has enough craft supplies to open a store.Enough clothes to open a botique.And she will not throw anything away.
Then my husband has computer parts all over the place.And he's even kept every broke toy and clothes his kids had when they were little.HE will not get rid of them.HE says "they might want them." My thinking is if they didn't want them by now,they don't want them.
The house is 3 bedrooms,1 bath.And everything is stacked up,full,disorganized mess.BUt everyone wants me to organize and have the house spotless.HOW???The house needs painting inside and out,better carpet,plumbing and floors repaired,and I think the electrical as well.It's hard to sweep and mop when you're walking on plywood because the floor might fall through with you.
I am soooooo overwhelmed I don't know how or where to start?How do I deal with 2 pack rats that won't cooperate.And then they get mad if I make any suggestions on how to take care of this mess.
Does anyone have any ideas? Thank you all:
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#2 of 9 Old 04-12-2006, 10:05 AM
 
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In our house, if it's broken...it's gone. Plain and simple. If it can't be fixed now, it can't be fixed later and there's no use in keeping it.

Sometimes, it isn't so much the STUFF but how it's stored too. Try getting some Rubbermaid totes or something similar and telling DH "Whatever you can fit into this you can keep." for his pc parts, etc. It helps pare things down and is "out of sight".


Another rule around here...if it hasn't been used in a year, it's gone. This helps with seasonal things and clothing.

And if it's REALLY bad...point out of fire hazards.

Good luck!
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#3 of 9 Old 04-20-2006, 01:09 PM
 
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I would make it a slow and sneakey process. One bag at a time, get rid of the things that you know are not being used and will be the least likely that anyone may look for. Don't ask anyone and don't let them know that you are doing it. The best things to start with are the broken, unused, or things that you no longer want to clean or dust. The most important thing is not to ask the PACK RATS their opinions on the things that you are getting rid of (or stowing away in a dark corner of the basement, if neccesarry)!

I am a former pack rat who used to save everything, just in case...
I can assure you, once the number of 'things' in your house is reduced your stress level will also come down.

Fill your garbage can.
sneak off to donation door @ goodwill.

Do what ever you have to do to reclaim your space and your sanity.
It will make the painting and home repairs easir to do as well.

GOOD LUCK and HANG IN THERE
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#4 of 9 Old 04-20-2006, 01:58 PM
 
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Computer parts: If it's not NEW (because outdated computer parts rarely get used) or immediately usable, it's gone (I build computers and have to watch myself with old graphics cards, memory, etc)

Craft supplies: If it hasn't been used in 6 months, it's gone. Also, make a list for 3 or 4 craft projects you (your mom) want to do and keep the supplies for that as well, toss the rest.

Clothes: If it hasn't been worn in a year, if ANYTHING is wrong with it (even a tiny seam rip), toss it.

Toys and kids stuff: Just get rid of them. The memories won't fade when the stuff is gone, and that is the reason he's holding onto them.

Hope that helps a little, you've gotten some good advice!

Amy ~ Web Designing Single Mom to 4: DD14, DS12, DS5, DS3
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#5 of 9 Old 04-30-2006, 02:10 PM
 
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throw it out. it is not fair to make you responsible for cleaning things they are not responsible for organizing or fixing. a bag or box at a time, get rid of it right away or they will be rooting through garbage. there is very little they will even notice absent. what they will notice & kvetch about is you asking or making a production of getting rid of it. quiet purging, this is within your rights. are they concerned about what they are doing to *your* living space?

i got rid of a bin of old pc crap (save the hard drives! glad i knew that much, all the baby pictures etc) & dh didn't notice for a year (then thanked me, & carted another bunch to the dump.)
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#6 of 9 Old 05-01-2006, 08:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Synthea™
Craft supplies: If it hasn't been used in 6 months, it's gone. Also, make a list for 3 or 4 craft projects you (your mom) want to do and keep the supplies for that as well, toss the rest.
I'm a terrible craft pack rat that I am working on right now. One issue I've always struggled with is the "wasted money" that you spent on the supplies. I plan to ease this with donating good supplies to someone who could use them.
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#7 of 9 Old 05-01-2006, 12:08 PM
 
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You know, being a pack rat can be an OCD/ anxiety issue, all be it on the mild end of the spectrum. Just getting rid of things, sneakily or not, is not only not helpful to the long term problem, but I think can be quite detrimental. Pack rats (and hoarders) tend to have anxiety regarding money, and having the things they want/need when they want/need them. They tend to worry about waste as well

IME, pack rats need to recognize and acknowledge that their hobby/ collecting/ material accumulation has gotten out of hand themselves. They need to work on the underlying issues, and develop a plan to deal with the stuff. And above all, they tend to need to go slowly. It is also helpful for them to know that the items they are getting rid of are being used.

If you think that your DH and MIL's issues are more than a hobby gone slightly out of control, I'd suggest counseling for them, and you.

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.  ~Albert Einstein
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#8 of 9 Old 05-01-2006, 01:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Breathless Wonder
IME, pack rats need to recognize and acknowledge that their hobby/ collecting/ material accumulation has gotten out of hand themselves. They need to work on the underlying issues, and develop a plan to deal with the stuff. And above all, they tend to need to go slowly. It is also helpful for them to know that the items they are getting rid of are being used.
This is great advice. I am a recovering pack rat, not terrible, but still kept things I did not need to keep. I had boxes of "stuff" that I had moved from place to place and when I moved in with my DH, he was livid. He didn't like having to move it all (I was pg and couldn't move a lot of it myself) and ddin't like having to store it. He harped on me about it and that got me started clearing it out. Once I got going though, it was all me (well, mostly). I have pared down my belongings considerably and think I have less stuff than DH now.

I would have been furious if my DH had just thrown it all out himself. Moreover, this owuld not have helped in the long run because I needed to do it myself. This has changed me, but only because I was able to process it all. How unnecessary it all was, how much calmer my life seems now that it's not overtaken with stuff, etc.

And the PP mentioned anxiety. I would literally get so anxious when my DH would start opening boxes of my things and try to do it himself. He would be trying to help condense or rearrange sometimes, not get rid of, and it would happen. I do still get those feelings when he starts moving things around on me. I always wondered if I was slightly OCD, maybe I am...

Good luck getting rid of everything OP. The best I can suggest is to get it all in one spot (or is it already, I can't remember) and try to avoid it. Talk to your DH about how it makes you feel to be overwhelmed with it all and see if he's willing to start working on it out of respect for the way you need to live. This really helped me to know my DH needed the space and the clutter was too much for him. It is for me now too, so there is hope.
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#9 of 9 Old 05-01-2006, 02:16 PM
 
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if the said packrats lived elsewhere & it was a 'concerned' relative that was tossing the house, i would concur absolutely. but it is more complicated than that. ani lives there, & is getting a rath of $#*! for not maintaining their hoard to their standards. that starts making it her business.

i have my hoards too. if dh just walked in out of the blue & started throwing stuff out, sure i'd be upset. but if i'd had my hoard piled in mutual living space & he'd asked me to stow it repeatedly, & i insisted on keeping my felt crafting hoard (for example) on the couch (instead of in a basket in the closet), i feel he would be within his rights to either store it (as i do with things of obvious value, like his functioning tools) or find it a new home.

one person's right to hoard does not supersede someone else's right to have a functional living space.

and no one has died from a panic attack (i should know!) if someone throwing out your 578 yogurt carton lids that are strewn about the cupboards & covered with mouse droppings (which does happen, because of course, clutter makes it impossible to either clean properly or childproof. it *is* a safety issue) brings on an anxiety attack, it is your responsibility to do some serious cognitive therapy, not your right to say 'wah, my yogurt lid collection is gone forever!'. if it was that meaningful, clean it up & put it away.

rules for how to deal with hoarding issues in other people are modified when those people share a home. it's a delicate issue, & i'd hate for some cleanfreak to feel i was advocating throwing out mom's china dog figurine collection because she felt it was cluttery & in bad taste. moderation.

ani has to live in these conditions, & regardless of hoarding being a mental illness, she has some rights too.
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