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.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Santa has left the building.

Christmas is finally over for the family who lives in the Closet.

Mom left for home Sunday.

It's amazing how empty the house is without her and her adorable little dog, but we will be eternally grateful to have had her here for so long! I am incredibly blessed to count her as one of my best friends. Ever. 

She encouraged me to keep going, even when I felt like I had no more to give while cleaning out the different rooms, and I'm so thankful for that. We accomplished so much while she was here, and I have every intention of keeping on keeping on.

At Mom's urging, I started keeping track of the loads of laundry I did after we found the boxes of laundry in the garage. I started working on them back on April 4th. In the last 15 days, I've done 73 loads. Of those 73 loads, 7 or so were bedding, towels or clothing we use day to day. 

And just when I thought I was done, I wasn't. Shortly after The Hubster left to take Mom home, I went to the laundry room to get a load started in the washer. I looked around the room to assess what I still had to do when I spotted a box I'd seen in there but hadn't really paid it any attention.

We'd brought some Christmas things in from the garage to put away with the holiday decorations. I've mentioned before that the laundry room is also where we store the decorations behind sliding closet doors and the box was sitting by the closet. The box was sitting on a large tote of Christmas wrap that had been brought in from the garage, so when I saw it sitting there, I assumed it was decorations.

You know what they say about assuming.

I opened the flaps of the box expecting to find ornaments when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a box full of laundry that meant something dear. I laughed out loud at the absurdity of it all. Here I'd thought I'd finished the last of the laundry from years ago except for the 2 dresses I had left that needed to be washed separately from the other clothing.

Instead, I found the box is full of clothes from my childhood. I took the time to sort it today after finishing up the girls' bedding in the wash and got the first load started to soak. I squealed when I saw my Holly Hobbie pillowcases from when I was a child. I adored Holly Hobbie, and finding the pillowcases, both the one my parents bought for me and the one Mom made me just made me happy inside and out.

There were also some of my favorite shirts from high school which will work for Scooter and her eclectic choices that make up her mix and match style. One of my favorite outfits Mom made me as a kid was in there, too. Not only did she make me the shirt and pants that matched, but she made shorts as well. I remember feeling so special when I wore that little outfit! And while my girls are too big to wear it, I am saving it. If we have no granddaughters to wear it eventually, I will save some of it for a quilt I have planned to make from a few of my favorite things.

I also found the vest my grandmother lovingly knit for me when I was about 10. It's yummy robin's egg blue with a pretty pink accent. Gramma always knitted vests or scarves or hats for us kids. We loved getting her packages in the mail and could hardly wait to try them on. Many a school picture was taken in a vest Gramma knitted for us. Seeing the vest brought back many happy memories in an instant. There was also an olive green shawl with a salmon pink accent that I'm sure Gramma knitted. I'll have to ask Mom. She'll remember.

Needless to say, this last box of clothing opened a floodgate of memories for me. I had mixed emotions, but by and large they were happy memories. I'm anxious to see how well they clean up, what I'll decide to save, what I'll have to toss, and what will be in good enough shape to donate. 

Speaking of donations...

I've been donating the clothes we're getting rid of to a local thrift store. Well, it's sort of a thrift store. They have all sorts of items in there that they sell, but they don't actually sell the clothes. They give them away to whomever might come in and need them. Last Friday, I took 49 bags of clothes down to them. It was so nice to get them out of the house and even nicer knowing that they will help out people who need clothes for their families. 

40 of the 49 bags of clothes that were donated.
There were several bags of clothes that went to the trash after they were torn up in the washing machine, or I couldn't get the stains out. But there were actually very few things that remained stained once I was done with them, and some things came clean that I'd never in a million years expect to get clean. 

For example a hoodie that had set in stains for the last 18 years:

NEVER in a MILLION years!!

Was I ever surprised when this is how it looked when I was all done with it!

Some little girl is going to love this hoodie!
Mom thinks I should send the last two pictures to the makers of Shout, Era Laundry Detergent, OxiClean and Clorox to give them an idea of what their products together can accomplish. 

In every load of clothes I washed that came from the garage, I started out filling the washing machine with hot water, adding a large scoop or two (it depended on how dirty the clothes were) of OxiClean, a cup of Clorox, half a cup of Era and then I sprayed the stains until they were wet with Shout. I followed this routine no matter what color the clothes were. Where the clothes had been stored so long, and there was evidence of mice, I wasn't willing to take any chances with not getting them clean. After a few minutes of dissolving the cleaning products in the hot water, I changed the water temp from hot to warm or cold and would then run the washing machine on the longest cycle it has. I was in shock at how many clothes came out perfect right away.

Those that still had stains went into the sink that held OxiClean water to soak the clothes for a few days. Ninety-nine percent of the stains came out after soaking, if they didn't come out in the first wash. Of the clothes that were donated, there were maybe 5 pieces that had stains no bigger than my little fingernail. The rest looked new.

Most are gone now, and the ones I have left are either being used or packed away for Bugster and Bubster's future babies. 

Best of all? As soon as I finish the last few loads of laundry from the box I just discovered, I will be completely caught up on laundry for the first time in 20 years. 

How unbelievably freeing!


  1. Woohoo!!

    That's so exciting, and I'm so glad you and your Mom got to have such a nice, long visit!

  2. WOW! You amaze me with what you have and are accomplishing. You have much to be proud of. Reading your posts always makes me want to get off my ass and clean up my huge, taking over the house and garage piles.

  3. Go You!

    Please take this as a comlipment, as this is how it's intended...

    ...every time I catch up on laundry, I think of you. ;)

  4. I loved Holly Hobby too. I had a sheet set and a big doll and a t-shirt and a cup and plate set.... if I'd found my Holly Hobby stuff I would have done back flips.

  5. I have a Holly Hobby baby blanket that my grandma's friend made for me and its in mint condition, I have it waiting to wrap my little girl in... Well maybe it will have to be for my first granddaughter....

  6. Oh I forgot to say WAY TO GO!!

  7. Wow! you got so much done ! and I am amazed at that hoodie!!!!

  8. WOW! Good for you! I donated 15 garbage bags of clothes from August to December and 3 or 4 more recently. I also gave 5 bags to the hubby's cousin and a few bags to my sister for their new additions to the family. I have about 4 or 5 bags to get rid of now and it's still coming!

  9. That hoodie turned out super cute!
    And I loved Holly Hobby too!
    And how the heck have you been? I've missed you!!!! I was actually thinking about you today, wondering if you had uncluttered yourself right out of the blog world. So you see, you are thought of fondly!


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