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.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Uff Da!

I've been meaning to write more often than I have since Mom went back home, but I've been busy, and by the time I sit down to write, I'm either so tired I fall asleep, or I can't put my thoughts into words. It doesn't help that we've all been sick around here, and I've had daily headaches for over a week. But blogging has helped me work through things by talking about them, and I need to make it a priority again. I may just have to switch up the time of day I sit down to blog and see, if that helps.

I've been working on the boxes of paperwork that came in from the garage. I've gone through 6 or 7 boxes so far. I've thrown out a gigantic black bag full of trash, and I've gotten 10 bags of shredables from it all, so it's definitely progress. It's really exciting to know that I won't have to ever sort through the stuff that has gone to the shredables or out the door to the trash. What a relief!

There have been some adorable things I've come across, like Bugster's drawings from when she was tiny. She was just under a year old when she drew her first face, so some of these drawings are absolutely amazing and precious, both. I'm glad I dated so many of them at the time she was drawing them. Some of the cards she made when she was about 5 are precious. She says how much she loves one of us on the front of the card, fills the inside of it with Xs and Os or with hearts to make sure we know they're full of love, and then she writes, "The End" on the backs of the cards. 

And right now, I just can't throw them away. If I do ever get to the point I do throw them away, I won't do it before scanning them into the computer, so I have a digital copy of them. They're absolutely precious, and I can't bring myself to part with them just yet.

That being said, I am simply amazed at some of the things I saved over the years. Not only did I hang onto the little pictures Bugster drew, but I can't count how many pieces of paper I came across that only possessed a scribble or two. 

I can tell how stressful our lives were at the time each box was packed away based on how many things I find that I failed to give myself permission to throw away. Some boxes correlate withe exceptionally stressful times in our lives and are full of page after page of scribbled papers, proofs of purchases and UPC codes that take up as much as 1/8 of the box of paperwork. 

I also realize that I didn't throw a single receipt from a doctor's office over the years, and I kept each explanation of benefits that we received from the insurance companies, as well. I wrote before about not knowing what I was supposed to keep and save from paperwork, and while I have tossed the vast majority of these in the shredables, I wish that I'd at least kept track of the dates of service to put a timeline together of the doctors' visits over the years. It would have been staggering. If nothing else, it would have been interesting to put together a timeline of hospitalizations and trips back and forth to Norfolk, and I still may try to piece one together from the paperwork I've saved, but I am not going to try to dig anything out of the shredables to do so.

I've come across used gift wrap that I found pretty at the time and for whatever reason found irresistible enough to squirrel away. I'm sure some I saved for craft projects, but I allowed myself to let it go. I've already started a second big black bag for trash, and the gift wrap has found it's way to the bottom of the bag. 

I know that some of the paperwork has been saved, because I was overwhelmed at the time it was tossed into the box and I didn't have the time to sort through it. Most boxes so far have contained everything from newspaper articles to shut off notices from the utility companies (paying the bills were the last thing on our minds when Scooter and Hopper were in the hospital, and we didn't know, if they were going to come home or not!), to candy wrappers and greeting cards. And none of that really came as a surprise, because it wasn't uncommon for a table or counter's contents to end up in a box when we were getting ready for a birthday celebration or the holidays.

There have been a few things I've found that took me off guard. Like poems I'd written in junior high and high school that make it very obvious looking back that I had depression issues. Like my little red vinyl wallet with the blue heart on the front from elementary school that still had pictures in it of kids I knew growing up. Like mildewed black and white portraits of me, 1 of my sisters and 2 of my brothers that I'd salvaged in the hopes of getting them restored.

But nothing quite prepared me for the last thing I found carefully placed in a sandwich bag....

Scooter O'Shea's belly button!



  1. bahaha @ the bellybutton, i think i kept one once too lol
    great to see you back :)
    Its amazing how the boxes of papers add,up, i have one from every move we've made and as you say the cleanups for xmas birthdays etc
    I still cant help it I shove the paperwork in the drawer or behind clothes in my wardrobe until its a fairly big pile and i have to go through it,then mostly it goes in the bin because none of its relevant anymore.
    at the moment I'm procrastinating, taking pics of clothes and items to sell on ebay, its tedious and consuming even though I don't want any of the things, I jsut keep...not doing it lol.

  2. Nice to see you back , do what you can and blog when you can

  3. Ok. Ewww. I don't even save the kids teeth.

    But I do know the reciept thing all too well. I save everything for tax time. I have developed a file system. i have a whole file drawer for tax reciepts. All medical recipts get filed in a file for medical, car reciepts filed in a car file, GF food in a food file,... etc. Then come tax time, I pull them out and add them up, then put them in an envelope. Each envelope goes into a large 11X14 envelope and then a copy of the taxes once they're done. Then THAT gets filed away in another drawer, labeled with the year.

    It sounds like a lot of work, but it's really not bad once you're on top of it. I do the same with school work. I save throughout the year, then at the end of the year let them choose their favorites. I get an art protfolio folder and save only the "keepers' from the year. the rest gets recycled. :)

  4. I'm not sorry I didn't save the umbilical cord, but I should have taken a picture of Matt's it looked like an acorn.

    I have a buttload of paper to go through.

  5. Paper is my bugaboo, too. I just went through 2 weeks of junk mail last night, which was where I found my credit card statement, due in 3 days. At least I can pay it in full. I was not late with it all last year, and then only twice the year before.

    I don't have any kids, so I can't really comment on the belly button.

  6. I kept all three of my kid's belly buttons ...

    ... I guess I should be blushing right?


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