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, December 31, 2018


I've never been great at making New Year's resolutions. I mean I've had good intentions and thought about making them, but it just didn't make sense for me to make resolutions for specific goals I had in mind. Life in our house isn't necessarily conducive to keeping a list of  individual goals in the forefront of my mind. Too many things/illnesses/surgeries/doctors' appointments/etc. eventually nudge out any thought of resolutions, and things go back to they way they always are before too long. While I do consider what I would like to change the following year, I don't write it down and don't make a commitment that I can't keep. I don't need the extra pressure. I've got enough pressure without adding an extra helping, because it's tradition.

Last week, a friend asked me, if I'd ever chosen a word to represent a year instead of resolutions. I hadn't , but I was intrigued. My thoughts over the last several days have continually drifted to her question. I really like the concept of a single word to represent the whole year to call on for motivation. It's a lot easier to remember a single word than it is a long list of things you want to change. I like that I can have one word represent how I want to tackle things in my life. 

So for 2019, I've chosen the word 'Relentless'. 

I will be relentless in my quest to tackle the hoard and continue to make good decisions to get rid of things. I will be relentless in my pursuit of personal growth. I will be relentlessly loving my family. 

These I can do. They might not look like a specific goal on a piece of paper, but I will accomplish much, and I will be able to motivate myself with a single word. 

I. Will. Be. Relentless.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place.

A few years ago, we got a new shed to use as a workshop for when we're doing outdoor projects, and so we'd have a place to store garden stuff, Christmas decorations, and the like. But as is the case with hoarding, it got filled. It wasn't packed to the gills, but it was too full of stuff that we weren't sure where to put. But we want to actually use the shed for its intended purposes.

Enter Atticus.

He came over both yesterday and today and worked in the shed for us. We need to get the shed organized, so we can put things away where they need to go, as we empty out the garage and clean off the porch. It may seem silly that we're starting with the porch in order to finish the garage, but I firmly believe that this is going to make the whole process easier.

The shed is 10x12, and it has 3 metal storage cabinets When we had it built, we'd put all 3 of them in a line along the long side of the shed, but I realized that we'd have more space, if we put them at the back of the shed along the short wall, but in order to do it, Atticus had to empty the shed. He didn't have to take everything out of the cabinets or off the workbench, but he did need to remove everything from the floor, so he'd have the space to rearrange the cabinets. Sure enough, moving the cabinets around gave us more usable floor space, and it's going to make quite the difference.

Once he'd moved things around, he got the Christmas lawn ornaments out of the shed and spent a couple of hours helping to put the Nativity on the lawn. It's such a relief to have the decorations up already. I mean we usually try to put them up the day after Thanksgiving, but we haven't even celebrated Thanksgiving yet. We had to delay our celebration due to illness, but I still needed to try to get some things done. And getting the decorations out is huge. It takes way more time than it seems like it should, but the girls are alway so happy once it's up! I'm incredibly thankful for the help!

When Atticus came by again today, I worked out in the shed for a couple of hours with him. We got a lot accomplished. I got rid of roughly 20 gallon buckets of paint, three 2 gallon buckets, about 18 quarts, at least 2 dozen cans of spray paint along with several bottles of automotive chemicals and a chainsaw. Not only did I make a lot of space in the shed, but I was able to clear my head. I was able to release all the unfinished projects that the paint and chainsaw represented, and instead of feeling a loss, I felt nothing but peace.

I'm anxious to get the shed fully organized, so as I run across tools in the garage, they'll each have their own place.

Their. Own. Place.

Music to my ears.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

So This Hoarding Thing.

It's complicated. 

There are few things that hold great meaning to me. Perhaps there is a larger number of things that hold meaning for me compared to other people, but very few that hold great meaning. I could honestly take or leave the rest. I'm finally to the point once again that I'm making some great choices about differentiating between those things that actually mean something to me and those that don't. 

Yesterday was downright balmy compared to today, so I worked in the garage for a few hours on my own. Atticus, (a young man who grew up down the street from us when our girls were all little), was going to come and help me out wasn't able to after all, but I refused to let the change in plans derail me. I worked in the garage on my own for almost 3 hours. 

I was able to get rid of a lot of things. Well, technically, some of the things are still in the garage, but I've found homes for them, so it's just a matter of getting out there again to get them loaded up once it gets warm again. On Thursday of this week, 4 new interior doors, 4 used sliding closet doors, and a large air compressor on a cart will all leave the garage for sure. Knowing where each of these things is going has already freed up mental space. It's nice.

I loaded up a garden wagon with pieces of an old pressboard cabinet for the trash. We'd torn apart the cabinet years ago and used the pieces as a floor in the attic but left it up there when cleaned the attic out last summer. The time has come that neither of us can physically make the trek up to the attic and back down safely, so we emptied it out, However, we hadn't removed the 'floor'. When we had the insulation in the attic blown in this summer, the workers took it all down. Since we're not going to be using the attic for storage anyway, off to the trash it goes, along with two extra large black trash bags that I filled to the top.

I know I've still got a long way to go, but I'm happy with the progress I've made up to this point. I was able to toss a couple of things in the trash instead of washing them to donate. I realized that the 50 cents the thrift store might get for each of the things would take me 15 minutes to get cleaned up and sterilized in order to donate just wasn't worth it. In fact, there was a good chance they'd just go in the trash once they were donated, anyway, so yeah, I chucked them. 

Yay me. 

I'm getting there. It's taking time, but I *am* getting there. 

One uncomfortable decision at a time.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

If Some Day Never Comes

The girls are sick again, which will limit the amount of time I can work in the garage until they're feeling better. Thankfully, I was still able to get out there today and get a bit done. I filled two large black trash bags full of stuff for trash pickup this week.

A few of the things had been hard for me to let go of in the past, but I had no problem with getting rid of them today. One thing was a small dog bed. When we first got our puppy a few years ago, she had a tendency to chew the stuffing out of her dog beds. Literally. And for whatever reason, I felt the obligation to keep them for Some Day, as though it were a holiday to be held in high esteem. The day that I would get my sewing machine, (or glue, hammer and nails, cleaning products, or whatever else my project seemed to need at the time to be redeemed to it's (almost) former glory), and sit down and fix it.

I was finally able to part with a mat for the front door, too. It was one of those nice and heavy ones, but the picture on it was fading. In the mind of who I used to be, it was worth saving for Some Day. I'd go ahead and paint a new scene on it, so it would look nice. After all, it was a nice mat. It stayed in place fairly well, and it had some weight to it. Something about it's weight made me think it was a quality mat, and you shouldn't just throw quality things away. Right? I patted my former self on the back and tossed it in the bag. 

There were several other things I tossed, but one of my favorite things to get rid of was the packing popcorn that had spent most of its life in the attic. I could not seem to rid myself of it in the past no matter how hard I tried. Bubble wrap, plastic bags, peanuts, and boxes have always hung me up a bit. I'm sure it's because I always wanted to make sure that whatever I sold on eBay was packaged well. But who's kidding who? I don't know, if I'll ever sell anything on eBay again. The bag of plastic bags made me pause, but for only a millisecond. Into the trash they went. 

There was one thing that made me pause a bit longer. It was a great big yellow foam cowboy hat that my parents got me in highschool decades ago. I'd taken great pride in wearing it to school events at different times. It was silly and goofy and fun. I took it out of the bag that I'd neatly stored it in years ago. Years ago I'd folded the brim of it neatly and slid it into the bucket of the hat. The foam was still the bright yellow of yesteryear. It hadn't aged like normal foam - maybe because I'd kept good care of it? I started toward the trash bag but immediately started to back as I bent down to place it inside. Memories started to overwhelm me, and then I pictured Mom and Daddy. When they bought me the hat for my birthday, they certainly didn't think I'd have it for the rest of my life! They not only wouldn't expect it, they'd feel guilty, if they'd known how hard it was for me all these years to get rid of it.

I slid it in the bag and smiled. 

Some Day has finally arrived, but I realized that it's not a special day to set aside to mend things. 

It's time to mend me. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

It's gonna be a challenge.

Our home isn't all that large. It seems even smaller now that Hubster struggles with walking in tight spaces due to the Parkinson's. Even without the Parkinson's it's small. We can't open the dishwasher and oven door at the same time, because they'd hit one another. They're on opposite walls. Like I said. Small. 

Don't get me wrong. We love our house. It's our home. It will be our one and only home. We just want it to be a little more user friendly when the eventuality comes that Hubster will need a wheelchair. It is likely years away, but it will come. And we know from experience that our house is not built for someone in a wheelchair to get around. When Hopper broke her leg a few years ago, I thought we were all going insane from the lack of space!

We had a couple of major hail storms this year that tossed baseball-sized hail at our roof and patio cover. It destroyed them both, so they both will need replaced. The problem is that the roof on patio is entirely too small. Originally, there had been a brick planter all the way around, but the roof didn't extend over them. Now that the planters are gone, the patio looks like it's been the butt of a summer camp prank and has been short sheeted. Unfortunately, we can't replace the patio roof with a size large enough to cover the pad without new concrete being poured and a new structure being built.

We've also always wanted to convert the garage into living space, (think bigger kitchen and bigger living room), but we never even thought it was a possibility. It certainly isn't big enough for a car. Ok. Maybe a small car would fit in it, but there's no way an SUV or van would fit, and I don't see us getting by without one or the other. Come to think of it, I suppose the possibility existed, but the money to make it happen didn't exist, so we really didn't know when, how, or if it could ever happen, let alone get a carport.

We didn't want a little flimsy aluminum one that would blow into our neighbor's backyard with the smallest gust of wind, but a permanent carport that would protect the car from the hail, heat, snow, and ice. The thought of not having to shovel snow from the driveway seems to good to be true, let alone the safety factor. Where both Hubster and Scooter are at greater risk for falls, the thought of a driveway free of ice sounds beyond amazing! 

All of these renovations have been nothing but far-off dreams for years. Until now. We just found out that Hubster's disability claim was awarded, so we will be signing loan paperwork to get started on all of it in the next few days! We are super excited and can't wait for the additions to our home to be complete!

The flip side of things is that it's a lot of work. The garage is full. It's not as full as it used to be, because we have worked on paring down quite a bit, but there is still a massive amount of stuff out there. My mission, if I choose to accept it, is to get rid of every. single. thing. in the garage and on the porch. Once they pull the walls from the kitchen and living room down, any mouse or spider that currently resides in the garage will have free access to the house. If we get rid of everything out there, they won't have a place to hide, and we'll be able to eradicate each of them before the wall comes down. 

Totally worth it. 

This mission is going to be difficult, there's no doubt, but guess who's up for the job? That's right! I'm ready to put in the work to reap the rewards of a bigger, more comfortable home. I'm finding that dehoarding decisions are coming easier now that there's a real goal in mind, so I'm just going to go in each day that I work out there with the renovations in mind. 

This mission may be difficult, it may be a herculean challenge, but it is not impossible. 

I accept.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Forgiveness. It's what's for supper.

Lots has happened since I was last here. Lots. Mostly good. Overwhelmingly good, actually.

Shortly after I last wrote, we had to leave for almost a month to be with my mom. She had open heart surgery that went fantastically well. A hiccup here and there, but she's doing great, and we are very thankful! Without it, she wouldn't be here today. Like I said. We're very, very thankful!

We also found out Hopper has virtually no immune system. This doesn't sound like a good thing, but it really is. She would still have virtually no immune system, if we didn't know, and at least by knowing, we can get her treatment. The treatment is getting infusions of replacement immunoglobulin once a month for the rest of her life. It's harvested from the B cells in the plasma that people donate. Her infusions contain the immunoglobulin from no less than 10,000 donors, and as much as 100,000 donors for each treatment! That amazes me! 

While I know some people give plasma, because it pays well, I also know there are others who donate for no other reason than to save lives. Regardless of the motivation behind the donations, I just want to say that we appreciate each and every person who donates to save our daughter's life! From the bottoms of our hearts, thank you!

Before the 'dear friend', (that tried to derail me), contacted me to see, if we could rebuild our friendship, I had already forgiven her. Instead of feeling sorry for myself and holding anger towards her, I started praying for her. It changed my mindset completely, and I had complete peace about all of it. I'm not saying that I'll let it happen to me again. I won't. I refuse to willingly participate in the destruction of anyone's mental health, including my own. 

I told her I would be willing to try to rebuild our friendship, but I also know that I'm okay with leaving it like it is, which looks nothing like it used to look. It's more of an acquaintance thing for now, and it likely will be for quite some time - perhaps forever. I've moved on. I harbor no ill feelings for her at all, but I don't think we're supposed to be really close friends, and my heart is okay with that, too. 

In spite of everything, I continue to dehoard. There are days that it might not look like much, but with each thing I toss, donate, or sell, my mind clears, and my mood lifts. Earlier this month, we got a couple of little cabinets to store our medical supplies, so we we are using shelves instead of drawers. I cleaned our old one out, purged a lot of things we no longer needed or used, and came across one thing that actually made me feel a bit sad for that person that I used to be. That person who didn't know how to clear the cobwebs from her mind enough to know that it was okay to throw certain things away.

I was finishing up the last little pile of items to sort that came out of the drawers of medical supplies yesterday. In it was a pair of those clip-on sunglasses that were covered in what looked like whitewash paint. I felt sad for the old me, who couldn't seem to throw them away, but I know her. She wasn't hanging onto them, because they were 'so important' to her that she couldn't part with them. She held onto them, because they were a splurge at a time when we couldn't really afford them, and she felt guilty they were messed up. She felt that somehow it was her responsibility to at least try to fix them, so they were usable again, and she stuck them in a tin to fix when she 'got around to it'. She just never got around to it.

And do you know what I did? I gave her a hug, I forgave her, told her to forgive herself, and then I promptly threw them in the trash. And it was freeing for both of us. 

It's amazing how good forgiveness tastes. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

Well, That Escalated Quickly

I hate when this happens. 

I get a thought or idea in my head. Something special. Something that I feel is meaningful, but others don't. And yet I need their help to pull it off, so it falls apart. And then I fall apart. Or explode. Or a bit of both.

Today was one such day.

We watched Baby Bug today, and I was able to finish up a handprint/footprint painting for both sets of great grandparents, and for her other grandmother. Each painting consisted of no less than 3 footprints and no less than 2 handprints. And while that doesn't sound like any big deal, it's no small feat with a 1 year old. And we had so much fun doing it! She was really enjoying herself, and so was I.

We laughed about the fact that I got paint on my clothes, and she got some on her paint clothes, too. We talked about each of the characters in the paintings, and she was very proud of all her hard work! We talked about her giving her painting to her other grandmother. (The great grands live out of state). It really was a lot of fun.

She was getting tired, so I held her while she napped, and I drifted off a bit myself, because once she starts that deep rhythmic breathing once she closes her eyes, my breathing follows suit. It's rare that I can keep my eyes open when I hold her when she's napping. I thoroughly enjoy the snuggles. The time goes so fast. Why is it that babies are little for such a short time?

The plan when she woke up from her nap was to take pictures in front of the Christmas tree, so we could take it down. I want her to be able to see pictures of what she looked like when she painted these masterpieces. I wanted her to see how proud she was years from now when she looked back at her former self holding her paintings. I wanted to give her parents a picture to go with the paintings she did for them, because they are little for such a short amount of time. 

And I wanted a picture of us together. Because years from now when I look at it, I want to be able to feel her little arms around mine. To breathe her in again as I look at the pictures. To remember all the fun we had. 

But nobody would help me.

Bugster got off early, and I asked her, if she could help. She said yes at first, and then she changed her mind. I asked Hubster, but he's having a bad Parkinson's day. He's been cold all day. So he spent most of the day under a blanket in his recliner. And by the time he realized I needed help I'd been talking about for weeks, Bubster showed up to pick up Baby Bug. 

And things just fell apart. I asked Bubster, if he would help. He jokingly said 'no', because he says that a lot. But he also didn't do a thing to help me. And of course, when Baby Bug saw her daddy, it was all over. And she wouldn't sit with me for pictures. So they went home.

And I was left with all sorts of emotions that I wasn't prepared for. Disappointment apparently wasn't enough. I went straight into self-loathing, self-hatred, and every negative memory from every single negative experience in my life flooded in at once. And I exploded. Which made me hate myself even more. 

I'm just done. 

I'm done with having a Christmas tree in my living room for 4 months. I'm done with falling victim to my high expectations, (who knew a snapshot was a high expectation?). I'm done with my husband having Parkinson's and life being so incredibly different than what it was supposed to be. And I'm done with asking for help. 

I'm just done. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

I'll Take "A Side of Frozen Claustrophobia in Limbo Land" for the win, Alex.

Christmas came late this year for us. Or really early. I guess it depends on how you look at it. We were all finally feeling well enough to celebrate Christmas in mid-February. We still have our tree up, because we have to get a couple of pictures of Baby Bug with some cute little paintings we made for her parents with her hand and footprints. It will be good to get the tree down soon. I'm starting to feel claustrophobic. We will have Baby Bug over tomorrow, so we will get it down this weekend.

The bad thing is that I've been feeling a bit more claustrophobic in the house lately. 

The good thing is that I've been feeling a bit more claustrophobic in the house lately.

As much as I hate the discomfort of the feeling, it always leads to a surge of dehoarding, and I'm really beyond wanting to get it done! However, I'm far enough behind again that I'm feeling frozen. I just need to get moving. Once I do, I'll thaw out a bit and will start accomplishing things again. So tonight, I will make a master list of things that need to be done in the near future and another list for the not-so-distant future. Lists always make me feel better, because I feel like I know where to start. It gives me a visual of what I've accomplished when I mark something off the list. And yes. I've been known to add something I've accomplished to the list after I've done it. It's still a record, and it helps.

Hubster's Parkinson's has left him exhausted all the time. It doesn't help that we have been sick more often than not since October and had to cancel Christmas week after week after week. But now that we're all feeling better, I need to kick it into gear. It's so easy to let his exhaustion be contagious, but I can't afford to do that. 

I need to propel myself out of the Land of Limbo.