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.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Things are going well here. We're thrilled that weather is keeping Mom here and we get to enjoy her company a bit longer.

We've been plugging away here and there on the dehoarding when we can. We've gotten most of the Christmas decor put away, but we'll take the tree down tomorrow and get the decorations put away that I didn't get around to last year. They've just been sitting in baskets waiting all this time. They'll be dusty, to be sure, but I'll be thrilled to dust them and get them put away. It will be such a relief to finally have them done.

It's been so nice having Mom around to be able to bounce ideas off. I've had problems getting rid of a few things and talking with her has helped me make decisions. For example...

Several years ago, The Hubster was deployed, and he asked his mom to order flowers for me. So she did, and she signed the card instead of just letting the florist. When she signed the card, she wrote 'I "love" you' on it from my husband. It's bothered me all this time. Like she thought that the love from my husband needed to be in quotes, because the love he had for me wasn't real love. So all these years, I've hated the mug, but I've kept it in the cupboard, because it technically came from my husband. 

I don't know. Maybe the quotes for her are like underlining are for other people. Maybe she uses them for emphasis in a good way rather than to sew doubt. I don't think any of us have ever gotten a birthday card from her without the word, happy, being in quotes. It somehow has always felt like the wishes weren't actually sincere. If she hadn't been a proof-reader for several years, maybe it wouldn't bother me, but I can't help but let my mind obsess over it. And every single time I see that mug, it brings back that horrible obsession, and I don't have time in my life for negative reminders like that.

It went in the donation box. I know my husband won't mind a bit. He'll be glad to have a little more room in the cupboard.

Another thing I've dealt with is a little teapot that my cousin made and gave us for our wedding. It's not that she did a poor job on it that I don't want it. I mean, it does come close to matching my good china in color, in spite of the fact it doesn't come close in style, but we haven't used it once in the almost 25 years we've had it. Not once. And now, it just makes me sad, because it reminds me of the ugliness she and her mom and sister treated her brother with. I'm not going to go into it here, but it's just very ugly, and I don't want to be reminded of that sort of ugliness every time I look at it.

Bugster wants the teapot, and she is more than welcome to it. I'll let her get rid of it, if she doesn't want it anymore. I think she just wants it to potentially use next summer when she and Bubster have their formal wedding ceremony. I am sort of hoping she doesn't find it as appealing once she sees it again and decides to donate it. I'm sure someone will find it worthwhile and have good memories associated with it. 

In the meantime, I'll be enjoying the space it used to occupy.

I'll try this last one one last time. I've accidentally erased it 4 times now...

Several years ago, I had a friend who did what she could to cause strife between Bugster and me. I didn't find out about it until I'd gone to see my dad and be with Mom and my siblings two days before we lost him to lung cancer. The night before he died, this so-called friend told Bugster I was taking advantage of her by going to be with my dad when he died. Thankfully, instead of being successful in driving that wedge deeper, the situation brought Bugster and me closer together.

During our "friendship", this woman had her husband, a very talented artist, make us personalized Christmas ornaments for our tree. They were gorgeous. Our names were painted in white on red satin Christmas balls. They had beaded holly leaves made of green glass seed beads. They were absolutely gorgeous. But when I came across them this year, I realized that they only reminded me of her ugliness towards me and my family.

They went in the trash.

So even though I haven't had time to write about things every day since Mom has been here, I'm making huge strides. I'm learning that I don't need to hang onto things I don't like due to obligation, and it's not worth hanging onto things that are hideous to me due to circumstance. No matter how beautiful they may actually be. 

Life's too short to be emotionally drained by things.


  1. Congratulations on taking a huge leap forwards! It must be such a weight off your mind to be able to say that you're no longer hanging onto the bad memories. ^_^

    Glad you're enjoying your time with your mom. I'll cross fingers for you that the weather keeps her there a bit longer. ;-)

  2. You're doing an amazing job! Good for you for getting rid of things that remind you of bad situations. NO sense holding onto that!

    Keep up the good work!

  3. Great work! I always read your blog and root for you. :-)
    The quote marks thing is definitely weird. Not defending anybody, but my first guess was that they were used for emphasis in place of italics. You know like how you put quote marks around the title of a book or movie instead of using italics when you're writing something by hand?
    Is she alive? Can you ask her? Or can you ask anybody else she ever sent birthday or any other kinds of cards to? It can be a casual question, right? LOL!
    The clincher for me was when you said she did it on birthday cards, too. Incorrect usage, for sure. An odd habit.

  4. I was glad to see your post today, I've missed you!
    And, I'm very impressed with what you've gotten accomplished. I think we are all guilty of keeping stuff we don't really enjoy out of obligation. But, then we are all also guilty of keeping odd things because of their meaning. Like the horrible, horrible (did I mention horrible?) piece of "art" that hangs above our kitchen table. It was my husband's great grandmothers and it's the only thing he has of hers. So, it's ugly but it stays.

    Could you ask your mom about the quotation marks? Your mom is so wonderful, I'm sure she didn't mean to hurt you and make you wonder all these years.

  5. So glad to have you back.
    I am glad that your mom is still there with you and you are having a great time.
    I think too that maybe the quotes were used instead of italics but you would know your mil better than any of us
    Glad to hear of your continued progress at organizing.

  6. I am so proud of you.

    Chinese new year is a time for everyone to clean out the bad to make room for the good. Every year we pick one thing to clean out. Sometimes it's the junk drawer or the spice cabinet, other years it's been something bigger... like the year I got rid of my Husband. :)

    It's coming up... maybe it's a little goal you could have for next month. :)

  7. I found your blog today and I have to say I love it! (Not in quotation marks.:)

    I am a serious declutterer...almost manic about it so to me there is something thrilling about reading about others whop are in the process of simplifying their lives through getting rid of things.:)

    I just want to say a very heartfelt way to go and I love your attitude of getting rid of things that have a bad memory attached to them! How very freeing!

    Love Colleen

  8. If you haven't already done so,..check out or buy books by Peter Walsh on organizing, decluttering and such. He is awesome!

  9. the quotation thing drives me crazy, especially since as a publisher I have to deal with people who don't know how to use quotes. Lots of people think you should use quotes as an emphasis, like you were underlining the words to make them stand out. But what really comes across is what you described: people think the quotes de-emphasise the word. It sounds sarcastic.

    There's a whole website devoted to the wrong use of quotations that's pretty funny. I can't remember the name of it right now.

    Bravo for letting go of such things!

  10. Greetings from Southern California :-)

    I added myself to follow your blog. You are more than welcome to visit mine and become a follower if you want to.

    God Bless You, ~Ron

  11. To your last line - AMEN!

    Glad to see that you are still here now that I am back in blogland and no longer eternally distracted ;)

  12. You go girl....I'm so very proud of you for gettin' those negative energy things outta of your house and your life!!! You will be much happier for it. The extra space is just a bonus baby!!!! Heeehehehe!

    God bless ya and I hope your havin' an extraordinary year sweetie!!!

  13. I'm still here and just catching up on my blog reading you have been so busy as usually sounds like your doing great. Keep up the good work get rid of stuff with bad memories is fantastic.

  14. lol didn't know you'd gone, i havent been online as much lately.
    I have a problem with things that were gifts too ,but I'm trying to be ruthless this year.


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