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, March 24, 2011

Regrets. I've had a few.

So. The weather is not conducive to Mom going home this weekend as planned, so we have another Christmas Miracle headed our way!

This has seriously been the best Christmas ever

Also, the pressure is off, because the in-laws won't be stopping by after all. The Hubster doesn't have any time available to take off work, and Bugster can't miss out on her externship, so they decided they'll just see us this summer.

I've been working on the laundry for the last several days. Mom made the comment that I'd done more laundry than a laundromat sees in a month, and while it wasn't quite that much there was a lot of laundry. I lost count of how may loads I did, but there were at least 50 loads just in the last week.

I washed everything from sweaters to backpacks to coats to gloves and mittens to baby clothes to baby socks, bibs and blankets. Then I sorted them and either put them away, put them in storage, gave them to friends, or bagged them up to be donated. In fact, I dropped off 23 bags of clothes and gently worn shoes and 2 boxes to the local thrift store.

I will never have to deal with them again, and I couldn't be more relieved.

It's hard work.

Not the laundry itself. Well, I suppose doing 50+ loads this last week hasn't really been easy, but I do enjoy doing laundry, so it wasn't as bad as it could have been. But the laundry that is so hard to deal with is the stuff that tugs at the heartstrings. It's hard to say goodbye. 

Like the sweatshirt that I made when Bugster was little. I made one for The Hubster, myself and each grandparent. They said "Bugster loves ______!" with the blank filled in with Gramma, Grampa, Mommy or Daddy. I have hung onto ours for the last 22 or 23 years. Bugster will be 24 next week, so we've had them since she was just tiny. And yesterday, I took the step to cut Hubster's sweatshirt up, threw the front of it in the trash and put the rest in the rag basket. 

It was so hard to making the decision. I felt like I was throwing away a piece of Bugster's childhood. But once the decision was made, and the deed was done, I felt liberated. 


That is until I started sorting through the baby clothes and blankets I'd saved back for Bugster and Bubster for their babies should they want to use them to try and pare them down. Some of the decisions were easy. I saved the beautiful knit baby blanket my sister had made for Bugster and some beautiful little outfits that both sets of grandparents had given the girls. Most still looked new.

But I got rid of a couple of other beautiful hand-knit blankets that were given to us when Bugster was born that we never used. Our girls have very sensitive skin, and some of the yarn used to knit the blankets was just plain itchy. I didn't use the blankets on the girls, because I didn't want to make them miserable with itchiness, but I didn't know how to get rid of them. After all, they were given in love, and somehow, getting rid of them felt like I was throwing that love away. Dismissing it. 

Still. I did make the very hard decision to give them away.

And then guilt set in. Guilt over the fact that the little things still looked new. Guilt that I hadn't let them wear the outfits often enough for them to even look worn. But they were all so special to me, that I saved them for 'special occasions'. The problem was that it never seemed like occasions were quite special enough to wear the outfits, so some of them had only been worn once or twice before they were outgrown. 

The regret weighed heavily on my all day long.

To top it off, my arms ached from missing the babies they used to hold. I can't seem to wash baby clothes without feeling and smelling the little ones who used to wear them as though they're still asleep in the other room waiting for me to rock them and hold them and love them.


It's been a rough week emotionally. But I made it through. 

I'm down to only having 2 loads of laundry left from the huge amount of clothing that had been in the storage pod. The other 2 loads I have waiting to be run are towels and dark clothes that are clothes that we currently wear. It's hard to believe that after 10 years or so of trying to sort through the laundry that seemed so impossible, I'm almost done. 

For the first time in over a decade, I will finally be caught up on laundry when I go to bed tonight. I will have 9 empty laundry baskets and 2 empty hampers in the laundry room. At least 4 large boxes that had held laundry that have since gone out with the trash, and there are at least eight 18 gallon totes that once held dirty laundry that are now stacked awaiting their next purpose. 

I've been stretched mentally and I have survived. I have not been incapacitated by emotions like I have in the past. 

It is a small victory, but it is a victory nonetheless. 

I'll count it as a win.


  1. I would not call it small.
    It's amazing.
    And so are you.

    Is it okay for me to say here that I'm really relieved you won't see your inlaws until summer?

  2. What an amazing job! Getting rid of things is hard for many people but think of the happiness you are going to give others when they find your barely worn baby clothes at the thrift store!

    I am also glad the in-laws are not coming right now. :)

  3. Not a small victory at all; I would call it huge. Congratulations!

  4. Holy Cow.

    I count two miricales... that your mom gets to stay, and that the inlaws get to stay away. :)

    And... Holy. Cow.

    But just think, you saved those things so they could be worn again. Loved by another baby. And that is exactly what passing them along did. Just because it wasn't your grandchild, doesn't make the clothes less valuble.

    A friend of mine hung onto an antique bassinet for years. She gave it to me for my nephew. When they didn't want it, I brought it to the local shelter.

    She told me that if she had known before, she would have taken it back. But since I told her after the deed was done, she thought of how many babies would have a warm placce to sleep. A place of their own, to have all the dreams they could. It made sacrificing the basinet worth it for her.

    And you should have just as great a feeling passing all those clothes on...

  5. Hip Hip Hooray!! You are making leaps and bounds of progress!!

  6. Absolutely a win! YOu are an amazing woman!!!

  7. You are doing so great! I think it's amazing too. And just think, there will be someone who will be THRILLED to find those baby blankets and clothes. Someone will cherish them as much as you have. That's the way I look at it. Plus having less laundry, more empty totes... that's a great feeling. Keep up the good work!

  8. I think you are simply amazing. I've read over your entire blog in the last 2 days. I am so proud of all the progress you've made since you started. So many of your posts strike a chord with me. Finally finishing with all that laundry is a huge victory in my book. Job well done.


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