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.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dehoarding: 1. Stress: 0.

We haven't felt well since we went on vacation to my nephew's wedding. There have been chills, fevers, lethargy (Hopper actually slept 25 hours straight the other day, and the girls slept about 18 hours straight last night), body aches, (my elbow has hurt so much I can hardly use my right arm and have been using one of those band things around my forearm that are used to treat tendinitis and wearing leg warmers to keep the elbow warm), and some rather unpleasant side effects of the intestinal sort. It's been rather discouraging. I'm just hoping we're almost done with this bug, since we've already had it right at a week.

The good news is that we're unpacked from the trip. I just have to put the suitcases away and finish up the laundry. I quite liked having the laundry room floor clear of dirty clothes, so I'll be working today and tomorrow to finish up the rest of them. It's been so nice knowing we have a place for everything to go, too. It's the first time in 18 years we've had a place for all of our clothes. It definitely helps that we got rid of probably two-thirds of the clothing we had, and I'll be working on getting rid of even more. 

This is only the second vacation we've taken since I discovered that I have a hoarding problem. The first was last June when we went back home for Mom's birthday celebration. When we went back home then, we put the car-top carrier on the car and loaded it up and filled the back of our car. I can't think of a time we haven't used the extra space on vacation. 

Car top carriers are great for transporting those extra things you don't have the space for in the car, but they also make you a major target for thieves who can tell at a glance you're away from home. They also tend to be cumbersome to store, and as much as they're convenient, they're not. It can be quite the pain to attach them to the top of your car, and it's not entirely convenient to retrieve your belongings standing on a step stool. So it seemed really strange to try to go on vacation this year without using it. 

Things are always a bit tight in the back of the car. We have a small station wagon that can't possibly even be half the size of the one my family had when I was younger. (Those things had storage!) Still, we were able to get everything we needed for clothing for 2 weeks for 4 people, the pinata which was quite large, 4 winter coats, 4 sweatshirts, some items Mom asked me to take out to my sister's house and a few pillows from home in the back of the car. Granted, Hubster had to rely on the side mirrors only, but it really wasn't an issue.

And not having to load or unload the car top carrier was huge! It may have even saved us from having an accident. The carriers are not all that aerodynamic, so the wind can really bat you around the highway. On the way to Rochester, the wind was so strong, Hubster didn't dare take either hand off the wheel. There were several times that the wind buffeted the car enough that we nearly ended up in the ditch the way it was. I don't doubt that's where we'd have landed, if we'd had the car top carrier in place.

Honestly, I think we'd have ended up using the top of our car for storage for our vacation, if I hadn't started the dehoarding process over a year ago. Realizing we all have hoarding tendencies and trying to change the result of those tendencies made all the difference in the world for this trip. Obviously, the car top carrier situation was huge, but that wasn't the only thing.

It used to take me forever to get things packed for a trip. Because we had so many clothes, I was always doing laundry up until the last possible minute. There were times I'd forget to wash a much needed item, and we'd have have to haul it along to launder it while we were on vacation, or we'd have to buy something new when we arrived to replace it. And because the laundry was stacked in baskets in several rooms in the house, it would literally take days for me to pack.

I could never seem to sort out in my mind what shirt would go with what pants with what socks, etc., when I never had the room for the clothes to all be in the same area. I would think one set of clothes would make the perfect outfit only to find the right colored shirt in the dirty clothes. It was exhausting and incredibly stressful. I would get by on no more than 5 hours of sleep nightly for a full week or more before heading out of town. Considering I need a minimum of 8 hours to function properly, I felt like a zombie most of the vacation.

My, what a difference a year makes!

I was able to pack the girls' suitcases in less than 30 minutes. 

Total. For. Both. Of. Them. 

It took me about 10 minutes to pack my own bag, and The Hubster packed his, so I didn't have that to do. I was in shock that it took so little effort and so little time to get everything ready to get on the road for a 10 day vacation.
There was still stress. There always is. But the amount of stress getting out of here for this trip compared to vacations in the past is minuscule. 

Just one of the many perks of dehoarding. 

I think I'll keep it up...


  1. You're so inspiring!! Way to go!!

  2. Kudoos to you. It must feel so empowering to make such progress. I'm sure it's hard work but clearly the payoffs are coming. I admire your strength and courage.

  3. How fabulous! I think it's great that you're discovering even more benefits of decluttering! It *is* supposed to make your life easier - that's the whole point. We just don't realize how many ways it can make our lives easier.

    I hope everyone finishes up with the bug very soon. Being sick is the pits, but being sick in hot weather is worse.

    Get better soon!

  4. Woohooo! Glad to hear the de-cluttering is working out so well. And I hope you feel better soon.

  5. I've been reading your posts for most of the night--since I have such a problem sleeping. It made me more sure that I am a hoarder--in a big way. I have tried so hard to deny it to myself, I won't even watch HOARDERS--because I know it'll show me what I am--so I live in denial about it. I don't even know what to get rid of so I rarely get rid of anything. My husband is patient with me, and in a way, sort of helps enable it-because he doesn't like to do ay work around here to help! He says he will, but then I let him off that hook by telling him I kind of have to look through things myself. I know he'd just cart it all off to the dump-and some things HAVE to be kept! It's SO HARD to live this way--I just don't even know how to do it anymore. You're younger--I'm in my early 60s and have Fibromyalgia, but you've given me hope that maybe I can get rid o a lot of what I've been keeping. You are an amazing person! Just amazing.


Welcome to The Closet. Feel free to take off your coat, hang it up, if you can find the space, and sit a spell. I just love your visits. :)