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, March 20, 2012

My favorite F words.

When we moved into our home, the laundry room was almost empty. The washer and dryer were in there as well as the hot water heater, water softener, and furnace, but that was about it. There was one small closet at one end of the laundry room that had shelves on side and an open area to store mops and brooms on the other side, and a double wide closet with stationary shelves at the other end of the room. There wasn't a single shelf on the wall, and in spite of the fact that the room was huge, it really lacked efficient storage space.

We stored everything from canning jars to toys to under the bed storage containers with the kids' projects and out of season clothing to gallons of paint in the closets. The shelves were too deep and were spaced too far apart to be practical. I finally got wise and took them out of the large closet at the end of the laundry room a few years ago, and it made all the difference in the world. It's where we now store all the holiday decorations packed away in plastic totes. We finally realized a year or 2 later that the smaller closet was more convenient to store the outdoor Nativity scene than under the stairs where we'd stored them for several years. It took awhile, but we finally figured it out.  

Hubster helped me put adjustable shelving up on the wall above the washer and dryer, the wall above the water softener, the wall above the dresser that I sold on Craigslist last week, and above the double tub mud sink we'd had installed. It made all the difference in the world. We finally had a place to store some of the extra kitchen appliances, the laundry and cleaning supplies and extra rolls of toilet paper and paper towels. 

I've probably gotten rid of a full 1/3 of what had been on the shelves initially, and I periodically go through and purge even more from time to time. The last time I tackled the shelves was when Mom was here a year ago helping me out, and I got rid of a lot back then, but I decided, while working in the laundry room the last few days, that I needed to purge a bit more.

About 10 years ago, we bought a new mattress set, and we got a small plastic tote with cleaning supplies specifically for the mattress. It included different cleaners that worked on various stains and deodorizers to take care of any leftover smell. We use mattress protectors that keep the mattresses clean and stain-free for the most part, so we didn't use it. We used it once after a particularly bad stomach bug, but other than that it. just. sat.  

I realized as I was dusting it last night that I would probably never use it again. I didn't need to hang onto it 'just in case' any longer. It dawned on me that the reason it was so hard to get rid of was because of that stupid little plastic tote. The sticker on the outside announced the store we had visited, and it held everything very neatly. And while I know that the tote itself only cost the company about a dollar, it made it somehow made the contents more important than the other bottles of cleaning supplies on my shelf. It made it nearly impossible for me to get rid of.

For years, I have dusted that thing and placed it right back on the shelf, because I just couldn't seem to let it go. But I am stronger now, and my thoughts are clearer, and I made the decision to get rid of it. I put the bottles of cleaner in a plastic bag for Bugster to use at her house, since she has pets. I thought it might be useful, and if it isn't, she can throw it away. I took the sticker off the outside of the tote, washed it out, stored the floor cleaning pads and replacement duster heads in it, and threw several half-empty boxes in the trash. 

While it was a small victory, it was not the only small victory I had yesterday. We had 3 bottles of the same disinfectant on the shelf, but only 1 of the bottles worked properly. Two bottles always leaked from the sprayer onto my fingers when I used them, eating into the flesh on my fingers. I could never remember which one worked, so I put on a rubber glove to protect my hand, and checked to see which bottle worked. I emptied the 2 that didn't into the one that did, put the rest of the cleaner in the refill bottle, and chucked the others in the trash. 

I came across 2 more sprayers for the gallon jugs of laundry pretreater, and threw them away, as well. I'd tossed 4 the day before and kept 2. I tend to find one that works well and use it until it wears out. I know. I know. The new bottles come with their own brand new sprayers, but they have been known to be defective. I have had to open 3 brand new sprayers before to get to one that actually worked. I hate to be caught flat footed, and I think that's why I felt I needed to hang onto all the extras at the time I'd set them aside. I certainly did not need to hang onto 8 of them, though! I'm going to have to be more conscious of that when I get a new bottle of pretreater.

I have a bit of dusting and laundry to finish up today, and I should be done with the laundry room. It's nice to know that I should never have to tear it apart to organize it again, since it is... 

Finally. Fully. Functional. 


  1. I too find things hard to toss. The excuse I give myself is, I might need it someday. (((hugs)))

  2. YEAH!!!

    (She jumps up and down for joy!)

  3. My favorite F word is FREE.

    So happy that you could just TOSS the stuff that needed tossing! Awesome!

  4. My favorite F word is FRIEND.

    Bet you thought I was gonna say something else, didn't you?

  5. Hi Judy,

    Thanks for reading my blog!! :)


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