Getting Rid of packrat's Stuff on the Sly - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 51 Old 08-01-2007, 05:47 PM
 
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I cannot live with junk. I was a packrat, and once you are clutter free, it is damn near impossible to go back. I would do whatever you need to do to maintain your home, frankly. If your DH has a fit, ask him what is more important : You, or that stuff you tossed? This is the question that reframed my behavior.

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#32 of 51 Old 08-02-2007, 04:44 AM
 
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i'm peeing my pants over here!!! My husband is definately just like yours! I've stacked boxes of his random "junk drawer" crap against our bedroom wall (it used to be stacked in every room of the house) i slowly get him to go through a box or two at a time with me and i've noticed that he still keeps the most random things : all he does is throw away the old q-tips, kleenex, etc. he must have every receipt from the last decade- yes, he owns his own business, but if the IRS came - i honestly believe they'd laugh at him. i just decided that tomorrow, i'm going to do him a favor and go through those last few boxes and TOSS IT ALL!!! after that, i'm making my way to the attic to get rid of more of the junk - it drives me crazy. his mother is a hoarder and he has a difficult time letting go himself!

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#33 of 51 Old 08-02-2007, 09:28 AM
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The only place I have a hard time doing this is the garage........I truly don't know what he needs and doesn't need out there.

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#34 of 51 Old 08-02-2007, 02:12 PM
 
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I want to speak up here. I'm not married to a hoarder, I am the hoarder. If you were my spouse and presented me with a box of trash to go through, I would agree to let you throw it out--which would be the first thing I'd suggest. If he has an issue with that he's got even more of a problem than I have, but I can still have empathy for why he'd want to keep it.

This is a psychological problem that needs psychological help before it will change. Some of my issues with it include: having lived in poverty, I fear if I throw something out, even $1 glue, I won't be able to afford it later; all of my close extended family is dead or in nursing homes, their belongings, even grocery lists in my grandmother's handwriting, or my grandfather's coffee cup, now broken, are links to those people; with no one left to come to family gatherings, I can use my house as a reason to avoid thinking about how everyone in my family is dead or dying; I was raised by people who grew up in the great depression, I'm failing their expectations if I waste anything; my mother was bi-polar and I totally took care of myself growing up, not cleaning was my one rebellion that I wouldn't totally take on her role.

Shaming them by making them pay for storage, or throwing out their ketchup packets while they watch is cruel. (No one would joke about their partner's irrational fear of heights and how they took them to the top of the Space Needle just to prove there was no reason to be afraid.) I'm already ashamed of my habits, having a spouse who mocked me would only make me feel worse. Would I divorce him for it? No, because it would also shame me into thinking 'who else would want someone like me'.

I've had one session of hypnotherapy and it's helped a lot. Now I'm doing better, but I'll probably see her a couple more times before I get my house to where I would like it to be. I just finished my own training in hypnotherapy, and really would like to help people with this issue. It's not recognized as a psychological problem like a phobia is, so we're shamed into not speaking up--and I think it's a lot more common than people realize.
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#35 of 51 Old 08-02-2007, 02:48 PM
 
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Thanks for giving the hoarder's perspective. My dh definitely has a stronger case than you do -- he would never throw out things. I found that the easiest and most effective way to handle it is to simply go through his stuff and throw things out. I can't let my children live in a home where there are so many boxes of stuff that a room is not accessible or where there is a fire hazard. So even if it seems heartless, his stuff has gotta go.
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#36 of 51 Old 08-02-2007, 03:16 PM
 
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I've had to do this too. When my DH and I first started living together, he had something like a dozen pairs of jeans. See, his mother sends him underwear, socks, and jeans for his birthdays and Christmas; cheap ones that fall apart quickly (Wal-mart). They were all nasty: holes in the knees, faded, frayed cuffs. And he'd wear one pair, throw them on the floor, then wear another (Hey, it's how we do laundry around here!)

So I started quietly hiding his jeans from him. After each trip to the laundromat I'd have 6-7 pairs of nasty jeans. I'd take the two or three worst and tuck them away, until all he had left were the 3 best pairs of the lot. Then I bought him one pair of nice (dark, well-fitting) jeans, and got rid of the others.

As far as I can tell, he never noticed!

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#37 of 51 Old 08-02-2007, 05:17 PM
 
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This is great! I feel so not alone! My DH has a night stand and I can't even get the drawer open. I did pry it open once and I could not believe my eyes. Old receipts, gum wrappers, brochures for places that don't even exist anymore... if he emptied out all that crap he would have room for all the new crap on TOP of his night stand!

Honestly... (grumble grumble)

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#38 of 51 Old 08-02-2007, 11:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Treasuremapper View Post
Thanks for giving the hoarder's perspective. My dh definitely has a stronger case than you do -- he would never throw out things. I found that the easiest and most effective way to handle it is to simply go through his stuff and throw things out. I can't let my children live in a home where there are so many boxes of stuff that a room is not accessible or where there is a fire hazard. So even if it seems heartless, his stuff has gotta go.
I'm torn between wishing my dh was like you, and feeling sorry for your dh. I still would suggest professional help if he's open to it and it's in your financial capabilities.
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#39 of 51 Old 08-23-2007, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Gendenwitha View Post
I want to speak up here. I'm not married to a hoarder, I am the hoarder. If you were my spouse and presented me with a box of trash to go through, I would agree to let you throw it out--which would be the first thing I'd suggest. If he has an issue with that he's got even more of a problem than I have, but I can still have empathy for why he'd want to keep it.

This is a psychological problem that needs psychological help before it will change. Some of my issues with it include: having lived in poverty, I fear if I throw something out, even $1 glue, I won't be able to afford it later; all of my close extended family is dead or in nursing homes, their belongings, even grocery lists in my grandmother's handwriting, or my grandfather's coffee cup, now broken, are links to those people; with no one left to come to family gatherings, I can use my house as a reason to avoid thinking about how everyone in my family is dead or dying; I was raised by people who grew up in the great depression, I'm failing their expectations if I waste anything; my mother was bi-polar and I totally took care of myself growing up, not cleaning was my one rebellion that I wouldn't totally take on her role.

Shaming them by making them pay for storage, or throwing out their ketchup packets while they watch is cruel. (No one would joke about their partner's irrational fear of heights and how they took them to the top of the Space Needle just to prove there was no reason to be afraid.) I'm already ashamed of my habits, having a spouse who mocked me would only make me feel worse. Would I divorce him for it? No, because it would also shame me into thinking 'who else would want someone like me'.

I've had one session of hypnotherapy and it's helped a lot. Now I'm doing better, but I'll probably see her a couple more times before I get my house to where I would like it to be. I just finished my own training in hypnotherapy, and really would like to help people with this issue. It's not recognized as a psychological problem like a phobia is, so we're shamed into not speaking up--and I think it's a lot more common than people realize.
I just checked on this thread again and didn't realize there had been more responses. What you said above has made me think and actually do some reading about hoarding and I don't think my husband has an actual hoarding condition. It's more of a clutter condition and a feeling of never having "time." In my defense, he does laugh when I find his condiment packets and it's now sort of a game for us. I would never intentionally shame DH, I love the guy, but making jokes about it here seems like a safe place to let off some steam. I do wish you success in overcoming your hoarding.

On another note, a serious reason I try to declutter is I don't want my children to learn packratting from us. I want them to be able to remember enjoying a movie without having to have a 20 year old ticket stub to prove it. A few boxes of momentos, photo albums, journals are great. Those are the things their children will be interested in, not instruction manuals and gas receipts, you know?
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#40 of 51 Old 08-23-2007, 11:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Gendenwitha View Post
I want to speak up here. I'm not married to a hoarder, I am the hoarder. If you were my spouse and presented me with a box of trash to go through, I would agree to let you throw it out--which would be the first thing I'd suggest.
Honestly the fact that you say that makes me think you're not very much like my spouse or some of the other DH's being discussed here. NO WAY would my DH say, "Okay, just toss it," if I presented him with a box of clutter/trash to go through. Sheesh, if it were that easy we wouldn't have a problem.
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#41 of 51 Old 08-23-2007, 04:25 PM
 
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Upside, it sounds like you're being respectful of the truly sentimental stuff and just tossing the junk, so I think what you are doing is fine.

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#42 of 51 Old 08-23-2007, 05:19 PM
 
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haha! my dh is a packrat inherited from his dad. i find all kinds of crap that he keeps but mostly it's just stuff like water bottles, gum wrappers, and q-tips (I don't know why). I guess it's more of an untidy thing a lot of the times (gets this from both of his parents). But, he also has boxes upon boxes of unopened Star Wars figures in the garage that I would luuuuuurrrrvvvveee to get rid of, but he doesn't want to. He can't play with them, I won't let him display them but he won't get rid of them either. He thinks that he could maybe make some money off of them and wants me to research their serial #s...like I have time
Star Wars figures are never junk. Seriously. Some might be worth something on eBay if they are original 1970's. My husband and I have things like this that are not worth much but we save. What we end up doing is slowly give them to the kids to enjoy and play with. Anything worth anything I eBay or save.
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#43 of 51 Old 01-10-2008, 03:54 AM
 
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#44 of 51 Old 01-10-2008, 12:09 PM
 
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Hmmm, I agree with this POV, but some of DH's stuff that I have junked was not exactly trash per se. He has accumulated a lot of little novelty items. Unusual decks of playing cards, for example, or little plastic figures, or greeting cards (single ones or boxes). ID cards from jobs he held 20 years ago, old key rings with a single key to god knows what. It's like all the little things that accumulate in a person's top dresser drawer, dumped into a box every time he moved to a new place, and every one of those boxes saved over the last 20 years (and a lot of moves).

I know he doesn't ever think about any of this stuff, and clearly wouldn't miss it. But if he looked at it to try to go through it he wouldn't give up any of it.
Gosh, this sounds so much like my DH. Figurines, tickets to sporting events from YEARS ago, two dozen baseball caps, stuffed animals (he's got a thing for monkeys), bobble heads, goofy wall signs, business cards for people he hasn't spoken to in 10 years, magnets, just CRAP. I can handle the cross stich his sis made framed with the World Series tix from 97. That's memoribilia. Tickets from the Reds game in June 2001? TRASH. JUNK. And there's 10 times more of the latter than the former. I'm so tempted to throw crap out but he'd be so angry. Right now, I just have to contain in his spaces. But I still don't like it and I hate walking through his man lair and seeing all this crap when I go to the laundry room. Heck, I'm sitting amidst it all right now as I type since the computer is in his man lair too. There's a D*MN stuff monkey stairing at me from on top of the file cabinet. AAAAGHHHH!!!
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#45 of 51 Old 01-10-2008, 01:46 PM
 
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I was thinking about this topic last week -- we have an entire (unfurnished) bedroom that is wall to wall with boxes and clutter, that I need to organize and clean up in the next few months, before I get too big with this pregnancy. It is frankly COMPLETELY unfeasible for me to try to involve DH in this in any way. It is not just that it would take 20 times longer. It simply would never get accomplished. I know how he is, he would not be able to spend two minutes in the room without getting sidetracked, or thinking of some other urgent thing he has to do, or getting "sick" and having to go lie down, or [fill in the blank here]. Seriously, getting him to de-clutter is about as easy as giving a cat a bath. I mean maybe you can manage it for a couple minutes, but you're not going to keep the cat in there all day, kwim? Or even for half an hour.

So I put it to DH like this: Would you rather I compel you to spend hours with me going through clutter and saying yay or nay to each individual thing...or would you rather I do it myself and use my judgment, and everything ends up tidy and organized without you having to do anything?

He thought it over, it was clearly hard for him to just give me a greenlight, but he finally acknowledged that in no way does he want to commit many hours to helping me "clean". So he's trusting me instead.
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#46 of 51 Old 01-10-2008, 02:30 PM
 
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With my DH its books books and more books ... everytime I look he has bought another one .. he couldn't possibly read them all and even if he has -- he will not part with them. I have converted a walk in closet in our basement to "HIS LIBRARY" .. yikes .. every time I find a book I put it back down there - much to his annoyance .. but honestly I could walk around our house right now with a laundry basket and fill it to the brim with books that have floated back upstairs or they are newly aquired!!

He also has a habit of cutting things out of the newspapers of interest to him??? that he will never look at again!! ..

He doesn't really collect anything else -- but if he did I would take a picture of the items and then donate them!!
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#47 of 51 Old 01-10-2008, 02:33 PM
 
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I snuck two trash bags to Goodwill when dh was asleep

None of the stuff inside was his. It was kids clothes (outgrown) and some Happy Meal toys that dh insists on saving. I refuse. I will save a certain amount and after that I refuse. Nothing will be missed.
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#48 of 51 Old 01-10-2008, 02:53 PM
 
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I started as a teen with my dad's hoarding by removing a few decades old shirts or old jeans or shoes out of his closet every week or two and put them in the bottom of the trash can when he was at work. Also, tossing receipts and business cards and other things... He NEVER noticed anything.

My dad will rip through an electric shaver in a few weeks to a few moms because he shaves a very course beard twice a day but he SAVES them all. My mom does not make him throw them away.. I do not understand it. Of course, she hoards her own things too I think. I don't even want to see what the house will be like when my parents are gone and we go in to clean it out.

My grandparents (dad's parents) are hoarders too. Well, I don't know if my parents or their parents are TRUE hoarders and are hurt by cleaning. They're not. They're just run of the mill hoarders.

When we cleaned a bit for DH's hoarding mother I secretly tossed SO MUCH stuff... she had no idea. I would just thrust it to the bottom of the trash bag befpre putting in stuff she approved of trashing. And still there are things piled to the ceiling in her trailer and storage.

Now for us...

Neither my DH nor I are hoarders in the true sense, but we're very cluttered. Both of us. And when I want to declutter it's easy to blame him and want to attack his stuff first and ignore MY piles of things he doesn't approve of.

The DIFFERENCE between us is that I will go through my stuff periodically and toss a significant amount. And I don't keep trash like receipts, gum wrappers, etc... lying around.

So I secretly clean as well.

He will have a FIT if he knows I am going through his papers, so I don't tell him I removed old envelopes. I just go thru things to "straighten" them and "dust them" and don't worry, it's all still there kind of thing. I have to be careful not to move piles anywhere else, but I can toss stuff I KNOW needs tossing and he won't notice.

His books are hard to deal with. I know he loves them. I love mine. But I gave up hoarding books for the good of the family! He won't. He did "donate" many books 2 years ago before we moved. I sold hundreds on Half.com and donated the rest. I think we had 1,000 books in our collection and that's on a non-existent book budget. When we moved, we brought maybe 200 total.

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#49 of 51 Old 01-10-2008, 05:15 PM
 
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My DH definitely has packrat tendencies, though he has gotten better over the years about getting rid of stuff. However, he would NEVER do it on his own. Mostly because going thru stuff can be tedious, and he hates to do things like that.

I put his stuff in "limbo" in bags in the garage. Then I give him a month or so to go through it...which he virtually never does. So out it goes.

As I've gotten older, I've gotten stricter about not having a lot of junk around.
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#50 of 51 Old 01-10-2008, 10:21 PM
 
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My dh is like this to a point and I have started doing what you are doing-- I throw out stuff I know he won't miss. So far he hasn't. I put the rest together in boxes and put it on his side of our closet. We have a decent sized closet in our room. I put a shower curtain across it and we clearly have his and her sides now. His side can have whatever he wants to put in there-- it's his business and I don't have to look at it anymore. His stuff was starting to take over my side of the closet slowly (he's sneaky) so I had to go to that extreme to divide it. My side is my office for when I am studying.

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#51 of 51 Old 01-25-2008, 03:56 AM
 
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