Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.

You can read the start of my journey here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Humilation can be a great motivator.

Today was a really long day, but I got a lot accomplished and may have solved a small but horrifying and embarrassing mystery along the way. Normally, I think I would literally die of embarrassment rather than mention this to a soul, but I'm trying really hard to be honest on my blog about how hoarding has affected me or our family. And this is a direct result of the hoarding. So, if you don't see any sort of post from me for a day or two, assume I'm dead and call the authorities.

I've been so busy working on the pinata and getting some other things together for our family reunion that's coming up next week that I had to scramble this morning to get things ready for the electrician to come over. He was supposed to be over at 1:00 this afternoon, but he almost always shows up early, so I wanted to be ready, and I had a ton to get done.

The other night, Bugster came over and watched the girls for me, so I could run some errands and get some stuff I needed for the pinatas. While she was here, she boxed the stuff up that was all over in the office. There was a lot on the floor, and it kills me to pick things up from the floor, especially when there's a lot to pick up, so she boxed things up for me. Plus, it gives me a better frame of mind to be able to walk in the office and not have something underfoot the entire time, and it may be easier to just deal with one box at a time when it comes to sorting things. So it seemed like a good idea at the time.

I know that boxing things up isn't always a good idea. But I just needed the space something fierce. One of the air conditioners is in the office, and the electrician is going to install a dedicated outlet for each of the air conditioners, and I needed to make room. And the night that Bugster came over and boxed things up for me it was hot in the house. It had been a very warm day, and the air conditioners kept popping the breaker, and by the time I got back from running errands, she was feeling half sick from the heat. So she left the rather large pile on the floor for me to finish.

I put it off for a couple of days, because I knew I'd hurt when I was done. Sitting on the floor kills my back, and I'd have to sit on the floor, because sitting on a stool and reaching to the floor hurts it even more. So I grabbed the home phone, my cell and my drink and sat down on the floor to get busy. I was able to get rid of 3 more bags of shredables, 5 grocery bags of trash, found some missing socks, and put the small pile of stuff I saved away to sort later. I didn't have time to do it this morning.

By the time I got done and had worked a bit more on another pinata, I realized it was getting sort of late, and I needed to work in the bedroom. So I woke my husband up and told him that I was sorry, but that I had to get things cleared for the electrician to work in there. He understood and got up and showered and then did what he needed to do in the garage, so the electrician could get to the panel without a problem. He also helped me move the bed, which is a Goliath of a piece of furniture. I couldn't move it without him.

I was flabbergasted at the amount of dust under and behind the bed, and I went on a cleaning frenzy to get as much done as quickly as possible. I found several pair of socks that had slid under the bed, several medicine bottles that had disappeared over the months since I'd gotten things cleaned under the bed (most were empty), and several pair of shoes I'd thought I'd thrown away. I'll be going through the shoes as time permits and wearing them around the house. If they're horribly uncomfortable, or if my back hurts after wearing them, I'll pitch them in the trash. Otherwise, I'll have an extra pair or two to wear outside when I'm gardening or working in the yard. I think I actually filled the canister vac up with dust bunnies. They were thick to say the least.

When I was done there, I realized that things were going to fall over in the hallway, if I didn't straighten things up a bit. I threw a lot of stuff away and condensed what I will be going through later into two much smaller stacks than had been in there. However, when I came across one box, I froze in my tracks for a minute. And I was angry. I have no idea how this box came to be, but it frustrates me to no end. I know that it wasn't me who did it. That being said, I'm not angry at the person responsible for putting the items in the box, because I know that they were trying to help. It just didn't work out that way.

I hate just filling boxes to go through later. I despise it. I'd honestly rather have the mess than the boxes most of the time, because I know that I'll eventually get to it, if I can see the mess. When things are boxed up, it makes it harder for me to remember what I've got to do. Needless to say, Buster was shocked I'd asked her to just box things up in the office the other night, because she knows how I feel about it.

Well, what I found today just confirmed why I hate to have things boxed up. The box was only about half full, and a gallon water jug took up most of the space that had been used. However, when I pulled back the newspaper that was under the water jug, my heart sank. There in the bottom of the box was a bag of potatoes and an onion. There were probably only a couple or 3 potatoes in the bag. It wasn't like a full bag went to waste. However, there was evidence of rotten potato juice on the newspapers that were under them. And the onion was hollowed out. It has sprouted at one point, but the sprouts were long since brown. There were also carcasses of several small bugs in the box. They looked to be little beetles, but I didn't examine them very closely.

Finding this box explains so very much. Rotten potatoes are one of my biggest asthma triggers. And these had been dead a long time. But I can't help but think that they have played a major role in my asthma over the last several months. The asthma I've had to take oral steroids for 6 or so times over the last 8 months. I have had so many sinus issues as well, and that's probably why I didn't smell them. At this point, the smell was pretty much gone, except for the smell of dust. And it doesn't help that this box was in the hallway that has the air intake for the furnace. Yep. This box has played a very negative role in my recent health. No more.

Finding this box released all sorts of emotions for me. Shame. Frustration. Anger. Humilation. Relief. Understanding. Inspiration. Motivation.

I am so motivated to see this dehoarding to an end. I am motivated that the health of our family will improve greatly once we get through this ordeal. So as embarrassing as it was, I'm glad on so many levels that I came across this box. I can't wait to get everything finished, so we can have the duct work in the house thoroughly cleaned, since it will never again be as bad as it's been. We will be breathing easy then!

Oh. And the electrician? Yeah. He didn't show up. He'd been out of town for a funeral and had gotten stuck out of state an extra day. He'll be here at 1:00 tomorrow. And it won't even bother us that we won't be able to use the electricity while he's working on things, because it's going to be nice and cool! We're getting a break from the heat. The high tomorrow is in the 50s! That just sounds heavenly!


  1. From a high of over 100 to a high in the 50's! Weird!

    I am so glad that you found the culprit for your health issues! You're doing a great job!

  2. 50's sounds heavenly to me too... we are in the 120's. If I'm not back soon I will have melted ;)

  3. Glad you found them ! and Please don't be too embarassed Hoarder or not I think everyone in the world has had a renegade potato or 2 stinking up their world at least once ,maybe more

  4. It's amazing how much you can learn from one little box. As embarrassing and horrifying it was for you, it gave you motivation AND an answer. That's a big yippee! Answers are always good.

  5. A renegade potato? Not even an issue in my house...

    thanks for the visit and i'm so glad that you're striving to change! me too!

  6. I just discovered some growing potatoes under the sink this morning. I've got the box problem as well as just stuffing things in closets and cupboards so that they're "out of the way" or not seen. Hopefully you're breathing will ease now that you found and disposed of those!!
    It's great that you did get most of the stuff sorted, 5 bags of trash and 3 bags of shreddables is awesome!

  7. Thanks for dropping by my place. I have a teenager who is a hoarder. Trying to break him of the habit before he becomes an adult. He hates throwing anything away. I'll be back to read more about your journey!

  8. We have potatoes sprout and go bad and juice up about once a year or so... I don't feel too bad about it, since I have lots of other things going on and sometimes, well, it's hard to keep up.

    Same for you.

    Don't spend too much time or effort kicking yourself. Really.

    Just be glad you found it, that you'll soon be feeling better, and that your AC will WORK!!!!


  9. I wish you a productive weekend. As for the awards, just copy the image as you would any picture on your computer, copy the rules to the award and post it.

    I hope that helps you!

    Hugs and love,

  10. Thanks everyone. It's nice to know I'm not alone in the 'renegade potatoes' as Fern put it. :)

    It's nice meeting you, Tamara. :) I've enjoyed looking around your blog as well. I wish I knew what to tell you about your son to help you, but I just don't know what it would be. When people have said things to me in the past about the clutter, it just puts me on the defensive. It doesn't now, because I know that I have a problem, and I recognize that I do, but before then...forget it!

    Thanks, GEM! I'll try to get to them soon. :)

  11. I have potatoes doing that right in my kitchen cupboard and my fridge I need to get to that too. I'm sure it's a little nasty in my veggie crisper too. Your working so hard I hope your proud of yourself changing your lifestlye it's not easy. I'm sending you hugs!! Thanks for all your comments on my blog. I love hearing about your daughters.

  12. I'm happy you found motivation from the experience, sometimes humility is a HARD pill to swallow, so props to you my friend!


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