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, January 16, 2012

Coming clean.

Almost 2 years ago, I walked around the house in a bit of a panicked daze taking pictures of how things looked before we started the dehoarding process. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done. It brought me face to face with my hoarding problem, and it made me sick to my stomach. 

But it also motivated me. As a result, the levels of hoarding throughout the house have decreased. In some rooms, the decrease has been substantial.

Our bedroom probably started at about a 3 on the Clutter Image Rating on the International OCD Foundation site I mentioned the other day. Today, our bedroom pretty much stays at a 1, although the night stands climb to a 2 from time to time. Both Hubster and I find that we can't seem to allow it to go over a 2 before we go nuts and clean things out again. It's been pretty nice knowing it's always our little refuge from life.

There has been a much more drastic change in the girls' rooms. 

A year before we realized we had a hoarding problem, the basement flooded due to a burst pipe. A lot of stuff was ruined as a result of the flooding, and what survived was stuffed into storage pods on the driveway. Even though she'd only been staying in the room for about a year before the mess, Hopper's room had been freshly painted, and it was the only dehoarded room in the house. But it became a dumping area for everything that wouldn't fit in the storage pods on the driveway, and we had to start over from scratch in her room.

With all that had been stored in Hopper's room, it would have easily rated a 7 on the visual scale. Mom helped me get it done when she was down here last year. We worked really hard for several days, but it was so worth it. Hopper's room has been at a level 1 for the most part since we finished. From time to time, it gets to a 2, and I'm quite happy with that. The best part is that it will never get really bad again. Ever.

Scooter and Hopper shared what is now Scooter's room for many years. When the basement flooded, they had to share it again, and it was so incredibly frustrating. I would work for a week or more on the room and would never seem to be able to get it under a 3. Within a week of having it clean, the girls would undo everything I'd have gotten done, and it would be back up to a 5. The clutter would creep back up to a 6 or 7 within a couple of weeks. The girls still slept in their beds every night, but there would be piles of stuff that Hopper had stacked as high as 4.5 or 5 ft at the heads of their beds. I could never seem to get the room clean and keep it that way.

Because of the magnitude of the clutter in Scooter's room, I focused on it early on in my journey. Mom helped me get started on it when she came down for Bugster and Bubster's first wedding when they got married at the courthouse. I finished it after she went back home, but it wasn't easy. I know that I had to have gotten rid of enough toys in the bedroom to fill a 'grand' van from top to bottom, front to back, and side to side. That doesn't even count the amount of stuff that went to the trash and the clothes that found their way to the laundry room to be washed, sorted and donated. 

Since I finished cleaning Scooter's room, it's stayed clean. It would get messy from time to time before we got Hopper into her own room, but overall it has stayed clean. For the most part, Scooter's room remains at a 1, occasionally climbing to 2, but it has only gotten to a 3 once in the almost 2 years since it's been clean, and that was with Hopper's 'help'.

The bedrooms are definitely the biggest success stories, but I think they should be. The rest of the house hasn't fared quite as well. 

The laundry room, was probably a 7 or 8 on the visual scale at its peak. It was bad. Once we finished clearing out the laundry room, it stayed at a 1 or 2 for the longest time, but it's crept back up to a 3 with the hospitalizations this year and the stress from the guardianship. I'm working on getting it back together. Hopefully, I can get it down to a 1 and keep it there!

The living room and dining room/kitchen have never been too bad, so there hasn't been significant improvement like the other rooms. They've crept up to a 4 for short periods of time over the years, but they probably averaged a 3 before I started this dehoarding process. Since then they stay between a 2 and 3 on average. They get down to a 0 or a 1 from time to time, but they don't seem to want to stay there without help. 

There's also a large baker's rack in the living room that is a 7 all by itself. I don't count it as part of the rest of the room, because it's so out of place. I filled it up with paperwork when I was sorting through boxes back in October. I'll get it done eventually, but it might be awhile.

The study is bad again. It's always been a catchall, but it has the remnants of the paperwork I didn't get all the way through when I was sorting boxes. It's on the list. Not sure when I'll get it crossed off. I'd say it's currently a 5. I want to get it back down to the 1 it was years ago. It'll happen.

The garage had been really bad, too. Hubster thinks it was a 9 at its worst, but I think it was closer to an 8. Not that there's a huge difference between the 2. It's probably at about a 4, maybe a 5, since we worked in it about 18 months ago. We have plans to knock it out this Spring or Summer and get it under control. And the back porch? It easily started out as an 8, but it's probably at a 4 right now. It's also on the master list to finish up once the weather warms up.

The bathrooms have never been too bad - usually a 2 at the most, but we're in the process of remodeling a couple of them, so we just don't use them at all. They're not being used due to the remodel, not hoarding, so I'm okay with them.

That leaves the big room and workout room downstairs. They're the ones that were flooded, and we've worked so hard on. They were probably at an 8 or 9 before the flood 3 years ago. I'd say they're still at a 5, but that's because I still have to unpack and sort the boxes that had been in the pod on the driveway. I got through well over half of them, but I still have plenty to keep me busy.

So there it is. I've laid it all out there. 

We still have a lot to do, but we've made incredible progress over the last 2 years. I still can't believe it's already been 2 years, but it has. 

The really neat thing? In 2 more years, we should be at no more than a 2 in any room in the house. 

You can mark my words!


  1. I ADMIRE YOU for how far you have come and envy you in the fact that you have recognized your behavior and have taken ACTIONS.
    I'm still at...." where/how do I begin ?"

  2. you have come a very long way , and sharing this journey as well has been helpful both to you and others! Wonderful! you are amazing

  3. I admire the fact that you have stayed on task all this time and continue to make progress. Proud of you and hope I can take this as inspiration for myself.

  4. Thank you all so very much. It means so much to have the support. :)


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