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.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fessing up

I've decided something. I've decided I'm wishy washy. I can't seem to make up my mind. Then again, I think it's pretty obvious to anyone who reads my blog. I step away for awhile. Then I come back with plans to post everyday, and life happens, and I don't. So I've made a decision. I'm not going to worry about whether I post daily or not. I'm still getting things done, and when I have time, I will post about my success and my failures. 


It's decided.

I've been working in the kitchen again today. We have some hooks on the wall under the telephone that we use to hang reusable shopping bags and purses, etc. While I was sitting at the table trying to sort that last little bit of stuff that seems to take all my concentration to get finished, a purse hanging on the hooks caught my eye. It had been hanging there unused for over a year. I had taken it out of our closet last year when I thoroughly cleaned our bedroom. 

I decided I was not going to let it escape my grip yet again and dumped the contents on the table.

It's not like there was a lot in it. A pocket Bible Hubster had gotten me, a small emergency kit that held bandages, hand wipes, samples of headache medicines, 2 lip balms and a small tin of mints with 2 mints left in it. There was also a book of cards I'd kept in my purse for several years. At one point it probably contained over 100 business, credit or store perk cards. I've gone through it a few times over the years and slowly but surely purged what I could handle getting rid of at the time. 

Today, I emptied it. Most of the contents went in the shredables bag. The rest have been set aside to go in my purse, because they're still relevant. There were perks cards for 2 stores that have gone out of business, old business cards of our realtor who recently retired, and business cards from the insurance guy we had when we bought our house. I did keep the old prescriptions for our glasses and 5 or 6 cards, 3 of which were library cards, that were in there, but overall, I felt pretty good about it. I even threw the book away. I've been putting off cleaning out that purse for close to a decade. The latest date I saw on anything was 2003.

I momentarily thought I'd wash the purse. It's made of blue denim and canvas, but there were a couple of quarter sized brown stains on the light part, and I didn't figure I could get them out. Well, I probably could, but it also had an insert in it made of cardboard, and I knew that it would be ruined, if it got wet, so I just pitched it. I didn't succumb to my old way of thought and undo the seam to remove the cardboard, so I could wash it. I just threw it away. 

I threw the makeup case that had held the emergency supplies, too. I saved one bandage out of it, the mint tin, the fingernail clipper and the Swiss Army knife that I'd had in there. But the little makeup case, which was in good shape overall, had a sticky zipper. And it was dirty inside. I didn't feel like rubbing a candle over the zipper or washing it, so I just pitched it, too. 

It's amazing how empty the wall looks without that purse hanging there. Since Bugster took her bag of stuff home that I'd had hanging there waiting for her, it looks downright bare. I like it. I really like that my purse won't be sticking out anymore, too. I hate when it hits me in the thigh when I come around the corner. 

Awhile back, I wrote about buying pants hangers in bulk, so I could get rid of the ones that didn't match. They were taking entirely too much of my attention. When the new hangers came in, I immediately went to each room and switched out the old hangers for the new ones. The problem was that I neglected to get rid of the old hangers. I'd put them aside, so I wouldn't have to make a decision about getting rid of them. Even though I knew I needed to do it, I couldn't seem to bring myself to list them on Craigslist. 

I had no problem knowing I needed to get rid of the clear plastic ones. They were made of cheap plastic and broke easily. But I really struggled with getting rid of the opaque ones. They were a much higher quality. They looked clean. Plus they all had the clothespin-type clamps on them. Only 2 of the black ones had them. I just kept thinking of how handy they would be to hang jeans. Jeans are so heavy, and they need a durable hanger, or the hanger tends to bend.

We've used the new hangers long enough for me to realize they're decent hangers, even though they aren't all that heavy duty. They still hold the jeans tight, and they don't bend or break from the weight of the jeans. So I sorted out the different types of hangers, listed them on Craigslist, and someone picked them all up within an hour of emailing. It was such a relief to know that I'd finally dealt with them.

I did find one opaque hanger after the others had gone out the door, but I didn't hang onto it. Well, not really. We took the ends that clamp off the hanger to use for chip clips and tossed the rest in the garbage. They're really handy, and they're a lot cheaper than buying clips that don't work or don't last and make you feel cheated for having made the purchase in the first place. 

So yeah. The hangers are gone. 

:::looks guilty:::

OK! OK! I kept the 2 black hangers that had the pinch clips! I didn't put them in the closet or in the laundry room. They're sitting in the study for me to deal with later. I'm don't know what I'm going to do with them just yet. I'll probably change my mind a few times.

I'm sorta wishy washy like that.

Don't judge me.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

How dost thou tempt me, oh Spring!

The battle with caffeine withdrawal has gone pretty smoothly. I was able to stave off the excruciating headaches until almost a week after giving up the evil that is caffeinated soda, so I don't think these headaches have anything at all to do with withdrawal. I just think I have whatever Hubster has that is making him miserable. A bad head cold.

I'll live.

Granted, it will be with the aid of meds that can help with the headache, but I will live.

I'm still trying to plug away and get things done in spite of how I feel. I have more success some days than others, but that's nothing new. I do feel good at having gotten some more deep cleaning done. I moved the stove and refrigerator out and cleaned underneath them. There was something really sticky under the edges of the appliances that seeped further under the refrigerator than the stove. My guess is that Hopper spilled something when she was attempting to fill a glass. Considering the stickiness of the spill, I'm assuming it was rootbeer. As dirty as it gets under appliances that get cleaned under every 6 to 9 months or so, I can't imagine what they'd look like, if I'd have waited any longer. Yuck.

This weather is making it doubly hard to be sick. It's so nice outside that I am dying to get out there and do some gardening. I've got some major cabin fever. I want to get my hands in the dirt. I want to turn the soil and plant the seeds. The fact that the apple and pear trees have just finished blooming and the strawberries are doing so well that every single plant has blossoms on it makes it so much harder! I am so tempted to go out and plant my garden already, but I know it would be a mistake. It's still too early to plant, in spite of the current gorgeous weather.

This is Colorado, after all. I know that the moment I took the plunge and got my hands dirty in garden soil, I would regret it. We would get a monumental frost, and I'd lose all the effort that I'd put into the garden in an instant. I'm doing my best to fight that primal urge that Spring brings every year.

I will not be able to resist temptation much longer. Thankfully, I shouldn't have to. It's usually safe to plant Mother's Day weekend. Only 3 weeks to go. Not that I'm counting or anything.

I just hope I can hold out that long...

Monday, April 16, 2012

I wish I'd learn to listen to myself.

Over the years I've really struggled with drinking caffeinated pop. A lot. Daily. As in a 2-liter bottle every single day. A few years ago, I stopped drinking it, and I stayed away from it for 3.5 years. Then I started drinking it again, because the caffeine helped with my asthma. I eventually stopped again, because the caffeine was bothering the neuropathy associated with the fibromyalgia. It felt like I was being used as a pin cushion from the inside out, and it just wasn't worth the pain. 

I'd been off it for right at a year again when Hopper broke her leg last summer and ended up in the hospital for 10 days following surgery. I felt like I couldn't keep up with the physical demands of going back and forth from home to the hospital every day, because I was ready to drop from exhaustion. It at least gave me the energy to make it through each day. 

But then life sort of exploded, and I figured I'd just stop drinking the 2 to 4 cans of soda I was drinking each day when things settled down. Except that they didn't really settle down. In fact, they got worse, and I started struggling with anxiety like I've never experienced before.

I started anxiety meds several months ago, and although they're helping me, I'm needing another dosage increase. It's getting rather frustrating. I don't know, if the caffeine is adding to the anxiety or not, but I'm giving it up again, anyway. 

I'm on day 3 of withdrawal. 


For the umpteenthed, and hopefully final, time in my life.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Do you believe in the Easter Bunny?

Mom went in for a procedure today on her heart. It absolutely killed me, because I couldn't make it up to be there, and I've been a nervous wreck all day. Thankfully, the procedure worked so well that Mom is doing amazing tonight, and there is much relief and much rejoicing. 

But today has been rough on me. Heck, the last several weeks have been rough, but the last 2 days has been particularly difficult. Unfortunately, my regular anxiety medicine hasn't been enough to deal with all that is going on internally, and I've had to resort to taking Xanax from time to time. I could probably take a whole one and just be done with the anxiety for awhile, but they tend to knock me out pretty well, so I only take a half. I need to be completely aware of all that is going on with Hopper and Scooter, and if a half a tablet takes a bit of the edge off but keeps me awake and aware, I'll stick with that. 

Anyway, I was texting back and forth with Bugster about how Mom was doing when I decided to check out the microphone function on the text messaging. I said, " I really like this. Right now I am writing a text by talking it." into the phone. It came out like this, "I really like this but right now I am writing a text by talking with it." I figured it was pretty close, so I left it alone.

Bugster asked me, if I was playing with it, because I was lonely. I said, "No. I'm just waiting for the Xanax to kick in."

The phone, in all it's infinite wisdom came up with, "No. I'm just waiting for the Xanax chicken."

I'm thinking that the Xanax Chicken must be related to the Easter Bunny on some level. 

I believe!

Monday, April 9, 2012

First comes love...

Hoping y'all had a Blessed and Happy Easter!

Ours was nice, but it did not seem at all like Easter. It's nearly impossible for me to go to church with the girls by myself, and due to hubby's work schedule, it's even closer to impossible for him to go with us. So we don't go, and I really miss church. I'm hoping to get back again someday.

Bugster, Bubster and Frank came over for Easter. We celebrated Bugster's birthday, too, since we weren't feeling well last weekend. She wanted Chinese food from our favorite Chinese restaurant for her birthday meal, so we didn't have the traditional Easter meal we usually have. Did I mention it didn't seem like Easter? Still. It was a good day.

We gave her the birthday gifts I've been working on, even though I'm not finished with them yet. They ended up being much more labor and time intensive than I thought they'd be, but it's been worth it.

I covered a huge candy box that would fit a small blanket or a thick sweater with pretty paper and embellishments. We also got her an antique camel back steamer trunk, (the kind with the humped lid), and decorated it to match the box. Well. I'm still decorating it, actually. I still have to finish covering the top and one side and to line the inside of it. I took some pictures, but they're sort of blurry, so I won't post pictures until I get better pictures and finish decorating it. 

Bugster's favorite movie ever is Ever After with Drew Barrymore. It's a retelling of Cinderella in a way it could have really happened, and it's adorable. In the movie, Drew's character, Danielle, or Cinder Soot as her step sister calls her, has a trunk in which her mother's dress and glass slippers are stored. Bugster said that the first time she saw it, she knew she wanted to have a special trunk to store her wedding dress after she got married. 

She has the married thing down, so...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Carpe Diem

I've been doing a deep spring cleaning in the kitchen the last few days. I've slowly been surely been organizing things, cleaning out cupboards and finding permanent, easily accessible homes for things I've never known quite where to store. I've been dehoarding as I go along, as well, and I've learned a lot about myself once again.

Several years ago, maybe 20?, I came across some spare Tupperware lids for bowls that I didn't have. They were old when I got them, although I'm not sure how old. I don't remember where I picked them up, but I came to the conclusion I don't need them. I think at the time I acquired them I thought they were hanging onto, because they had a lifetime warranty. It made them worth something. If I were to donate them, they would likely go in the trash, so I just tossed them and saved someone else the work. I did keep a couple of the newer ones, because I think I still have a bowl or two to go with the ones I saved. If I never come across the bowls, I'll throw the lids at some point in the future.

I came across several things that I realized I'd never used, because I attached some sort of special meaning to them, and they seemed too special to use. None of them felt so special that I would have grabbed any of them to save, if there had been a fire. But there was thought put into picking them out for the girls or for us, and I set them aside to use at a special time, so I would remember them. Instead, they ended up in the trash.

One thing was a gingerbread cookie Mom had gotten for the girls. For some reason, we never used it while she was down here. It was over a year old, and there's no way it would have tasted good after all this time, in spite of the fact I'd had it in the refrigerator until a week ago. I pitched it.

Then a few years ago, Hubster picked up some adorable marshmallow treats that are made like Peeps, although I don't recall, if they were made by the same company. They were shaped like Veggie Tales, and they were adorable. But the girls don't care too much for that sort of thing. I put them up thinking I'd let the girls use them in a cup of cocoa, but I just kept setting them aside over and over again. I needed the space in the cupboard more than we needed to keep them, and I know Hubster will understand. They went in the trash, too.

The other thing that comes to mind that I came across was given to us several years ago for Christmas. My friend had given us a little jam jar of vanilla sugar she'd fixed up for us to use in teas or on toast with a bit of butter. She put little red and green sprinkles in it. It was really cute and such a thoughtful gift. We did use it several times, but I think I stopped using it, because I wanted the feeling it invoked to last. The jar was only about half-full, but I knew there was no way it was good anymore. I dumped the contents in the trash and washed the jar. If I don't find anything to put in the jar in the next few days, I'll throw it in the trash as well.

It was a great reminder for me to live in the moment and not for moments in the future. I've done this my entire life. I've saved the girls' special clothes, so they wouldn't ruin them, and they ended up outgrowing them instead of wearing them. Fun food I've picked up to do something special with the girls has gone bad, because I've put off using it until the circumstances were 'just right'.

I've got to learn to give myself permission to use things, even special things, every day. I have to learn that 'special' doesn't mean 'too good to ever use' or 'too good for me to use'. It means that someone thought enough of us to give us something they thought we would enjoy. They didn't give it to us to put on a shelf or in a box and never see it again or to have to throw it away, because it went bad. 

I am going to have to remind myself that using and enjoying gifts shows my appreciation and love for the person who gave it much more than just putting it up to keep it safe. My friends and family mean more to me than that. I know they want more for me than what I've allowed myself, and I'm going to do my best to seize the day...

each and every day.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Our household was hit by a stomach bug Hubster brought home from work. Yesterday was the first time I'd felt almost normal in a week, and I took full advantage of the improvement. Scooter is feeling better this morning, and her coloring is a bit better, so hopefully she's on the mend as well. 

Even though I still need to finish Hopper's birthday gift, I worked in the kitchen/dining room yesterday. I'm hoping to finish up in there today, and I'm encouraged at the changes in there. 

Awhile back, I put a shelf in the baker's rack, because we're so limited for storage in the kitchen. The shelf allows for double decker storage, and it's made a big difference in how things are working out in the kitchen. It's helped tremendously. And we did put the credenzas down int he laundry room, so we had the extra storage down there for the overflow from the kitchen as well. I just hadn't gotten around to taking the cake pans and baking dishes down there until yesterday. So I washed the dust out of them and took them downstairs.

1 10x14 glass cake pan, 
1 11x15 ceramic baking dish
1 6" round ceramic baking dish
1 glass pie dish 
1 silicone heart cupcake pan
1 silicone heart cake pan
1 2-piece set silicone birthday cake pans
1 tin of Christmas cookie cutters

It's amazing how much more room there is on the kitchen counters and table without all that stuff in there. There has never been enough storage room for the stuff that we use regularly in the kitchen, let alone all the extras that we don't use as often. I have been known to store the extras in the oven, but as soon as I get used to using the oven for storage, something is left in there that that melts when I turn the oven on without checking it. If I left them in sight, at least I wouldn't have smoke billowing out of the oven. Now it won't be an issue. Yay!

I didn't get out of the house very often when we first moved to Colorado 18 years ago. Between Scooter's constant hospitalizations and my own health problems, I was fairly busy and just didn't have the time. On one of those rare occasions when everyone was well enough, we went for a walk as a family. There was yard sale on the street over from where we lived, and we decided to browse. 

A black iron plant stand, shaped to fit in a corner, caught my eye. It was about 5ft tall and had some pretty scrolled iron on it. I've always had a thing for wrought iron and things that look like it, so in spite of the fact we didn't have a lot of extra money at the time, Hubster told me to splurge and spend the $5 they were asking for it. I have used it in the kitchen ever since. It has been such a big part of my life for so long that it came as a slight shock for me a couple of weeks ago when I realized it was no longer working for me. I needed something more functional than decorative.

I window shop on Craigslist from time to time in the off chance I can find a solution for a specific need, and a couple of weeks ago was no different. I came across a tall narrow cabinet that was just what we needed. It wasn't intended to be used in the kitchen, as it's more of a tall skinny desk thing, but thankfully, the kitchen police haven't come around and told me that I'll be cited for using it in the wrong room.

There is a cabinet area with a door at the top with 2 adjustable shelves. Just under it is a docking station where one can hide a power strip and the power cords for cell phones, etc., so they are conveniently available to charge small electronics at any given time. Directly under the docking station is an open area for storage. One one side of the upper cabinet is a section of 4 mail slots and the other side has a place to hang keys that will be perfect for hanging the aprons.

The bottom portion of the cupboard is deeper than the top. Toward the top of the lower section is a small board that pulls out for a writing surface followed by a shallow drawer. There is an open space that follows with holes for adjustable shelves, but there wasn't a shelf included, which is fine. I don't know that we'll need one there anyway, and if we do, I think I have something that will work.

The bottom of the tower ends in a rather large drawer. I'm not sure, if it's supposed to be a file cabinet or what. There aren't any supports in it to hang files on, but it doesn't really matter. I'm not going to be using it for a filing cabinet anyway. I haven't decided exactly what I'm going to store in it just yet. I may store lids to the plastic containers, aprons, cake decorating supplies, or kitchen towels. I haven't made up my mind just yet. It will come to me, but I know I will not be using it for files.

The flash or regret over not having the beloved iron shelf in the corner of the kitchen holding plants has been quickly replaced by delight at having something so practical. 

For years, I've struggled with having a place to put the weekly pill boxes where they are out of sight, but where we will still remember to use them. I've also never quite figured out what to do with the large bottles of vitamins that I used to fill the boxes. I've carted them around in boxes or baskets from one room to another never knowing exactly where to store them. They now have a permanent home in the cabinet at the top of the tower stored neatly with the weekly pill boxes. 

I'm not sure what I'll do with the plant stand. I'll figure it out eventually. In the meantime, I'm the closest I've ever been to a completely organized kitchen, and I can't express the relief this small change has given me. 

It's taking awhile, but I am slowly but surely getting there.

Wherever 'there' is.