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Thread: Nothing like cleaning out a hoarder's house to motivate

  1. #1
    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    Nothing like cleaning out a hoarder's house to motivate

    As I've mentioned in another thread, my husband and I are cleaning out his mother's apartment, now that she has gone to assisted living. She literally threw nothing out (besides food waste and paper products). Empty boxes in every closet, items in boxes labeled with something completely different than what was in them, so many knick knacks and kitchen gadgets "as seen on TV" (she didn't cook). Bottlecaps, every rent/electric/utility receipt going back several apartments (she lived in this one for 25 years, so that's a lot of years), every report card from all 6 kids, at least 20 bedspreads stuffed in various drawers and closets, a dozen packages of curtains still in the original packaging and never used, 2 full sized Christmas trees as well as another half dozen small ones. A lot of the glassware and nicer knick knacks are going to our town's take it or leave it shed. The big truck comes tomorrow to take away the furniture and remaining trash we haven't put out yet (you can only have 4 bags per week in her town). And then there are all the buckets in my basement for later sorting of papers and pictures.

    This is something I never want someone to have to do for me. I'm usually pretty good at going through things every few years and donating/discarding but now I'm on fire to do more. I want to just have some nice things around me and use them, or display them. When you have so much stuff, nothing is precious and things get damaged from being shoved into drawers or left to the elements. I want to keep continuing to cull, even though I have plenty of space. I'd like to move towards a more curated house. I want one nice item instead of 5 so-so items. I want all the things I do have to be easily accessible and not require moving something else out of the way first.

    So thank you, Mom in law, for modeling behavior that I do not want to emulate. It has brought great clarity to me on how I want my relationship with things to be. I want to use and have nice things, but not too many, know where they are and take care of them, but then when its time, be able to bless someone else with them.

  2. #2
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    It is amazing how much one accumulates when one never moves or very rarely. Getting rid of stuff is hard but keeping it is harder.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    Senior Member flowerseverywhere's Avatar
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    This morning I met twelve other quilters. We worked for four hours to go through bags and boxes of donated items to sell. We got a little over halfway done. We were literally stuffing bags of fabrics and labeling them $1 to $3. Quilt kits, bags of trims and so on. It was exhausting. I am determined not to leave a craft mess for my survivors.

    It it really makes you think about what you have when you have a job like yours. It breaks my heart to see so much money wasted on cheap junk that might have gone to something productive.

  4. #4
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    It is such an ongoing task, the cleaning out stuff.

    I have about a dozen white tablecloths. Well, guess what—I once used them at the same time for parties. We had neighborhd parties where we would throw nice tablecloths over cheap plastic tables and all looked nice. We havent hosted such a party in a while and i am taking a few of these tableclother to Hermann where they will be used and then probably pitched after getting stained.

    speaking of hoarding, I finally watched a few of those tv shows in bits and pieces. The one episode I highly recommend is about “Louise” in L.A. She is a hoot. She is a trust fund baby who spent all of her money and now has to move to rent assisted living, and she has to get rid of stuff in two apartments and in storage sheds.

    She is a clean hoarder. All of her stuff is carefully packed in plastic bags. She does not eat in her house so there are no food wastes and attendant rodent issues.. She has no pets. All of her clothes are colorful and interesting. She is a former model. Her dailey uniform of choice is flannelpajama sets.

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    Iris, I have to check this out--sounds like Grey Gardens.

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    Moving is always a great opportunity to clean out the excess. Perhaps there is a point in time when the thought of dealing with it just becomes too daunting for some elderly people - so they just ignore it. I too am determined not to leave a mess behind for someone else to clean up.

  7. #7
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tybee View Post
    Iris, I have to check this out--sounds like Grey Gardens.
    It is the Season 4,episode 16 show called “one is good, two is better.” Bur be dorewarned, Louise is sad and confused about life. She is not a happy person. There is lots of crying in her episode.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    It is the Season 4,episode 16 show called “one is good, two is better.” Bur be dorewarned, Louise is sad and confused about life. She is not a happy person. There is lots of crying in her episode.
    Well, I've been pretty confused and sad about life lately and doing my own share of crying, so sounds like a good fit!

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    Senior Member Simplemind's Avatar
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    Cleaning out my parents stuff put the fire in me as well. NOT that I have even a fraction of what they had. They weren't hoarders but they had a lot of stuff that was not being used or maintained from the glory days of the property. We will never leave anything like that for our kids. At least that is our plan, who knows what starts happening to your mental function as you get older.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simplemind View Post
    Cleaning out my parents stuff put the fire in me as well. NOT that I have even a fraction of what they had. They weren't hoarders but they had a lot of stuff that was not being used or maintained from the glory days of the property. We will never leave anything like that for our kids. At least that is our plan, who knows what starts happening to your mental function as you get older.
    Same here, Simplemind, cleaning out my folks' house has made me determine I will do whatever it takes to keep up with the "stuff" in my life. My mom actually did an excellent job of this up until the very end, when suddenly it became too much for her to process, and so the last 4 months or so the house really tanked.

    I can't imagine how bad it would be if people got cognitively impaired and lived there for years without cleaning.

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