Mom and dad are on their way to their semi-annual date night, so mom asked me to be her "guest blogger."
As you may know, I also have the hoarding gene. Thank goodness, since my new husband and I have lived in our new home, the tendency has yet to rear its ugly head. This is a result of diligence and a strict "it-doesn't-come-home-with-us-if-I-have-no-intention-of-using-it" policy. But it was not always this way.
Shortly after my husband and I met (and by shortly, I mean a few months) he was deemed trustworthy enough to enter our house, (which embarrassed me enough) and significantly more mortifying, my room. He was never judgmental and always polite, though I knew he didn't really like the waist-high mess in my room. I was 18 at the time.
Fast-forward a year or two. "Bubster" and I were considering marriage (for the first time, lol) and he expressed a concern that the as yet unnamed hoarding would enter our adult lives and settle in, resulting in a problem similar to my mom's. Again, he was never judgmental, he just didn't want it to be a part of our lives, and who can blame him? I didn't want it to be a part of my life any more than my mom or my dad or anyone for that matter.
This, I think, was when the "anti-hoarding" seed was planted. It terrified me to think that, 20 years down the road, I would be facing the consequences of my inability to get rid of or say "no" to things. This was made worse by the fact that it bothered "Bubster" so much. So I made a concerted effort, when I moved into my first apartment at age 21, to pare down all the junk, and be extremely discerning when adding new things. I wanted him to realize I could have a tidy house, without all the junk.
The reason I decided to post about this particular topic during my cameo on "Confessions of a Closet Hoarder" is that today, after a session of frenzied cleaning, my husband asked me why I was grumpy. I replied, "Because there are three people living in this house and I am the only one cleaning it. I can't do it all myself, and you were the one who was worried we would have a messy house someday." Now, don't get me wrong, I love that man more than anything in the world, and I know what I am experiencing is completely normal. Men don't like to clean house. But there's a slight difference. There are actually four of us living there: Bugster, Bubster, Frank, and Hoarding.
This afternoon, Bubster told me to sit down and relax while he did the dishes. This little gesture may seem insignificant but it kept me from just giving up and letting the boys suffer with dirty dishes and a messy house. And I appreciated that oh so much. <3
The point is, it is vitally important to have not only the support of your spouse and family, but also to have their active participation. I'm sure Mom will agree that she needs my dad's participation and support as much as I need Bubster's. Participation isn't always there in spades, however, so on mom's behalf and my own, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your supportive comments (which she has shared with me often), because they have filled in the gaps, and inspired me to keep it up.
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.