Hidden hoarding tendency

Frankie_in_zone_7September 6, 2007

Some years ago I realized that while I was not a typical junk hoarder, I had a tendency that led to unnecessary excess and was probably a hoarding issue.

I seem to really like the idea of having several of something--like some need for abundance. There is like a little part of my brain that hums on this. If I needed some leather gloves, I liked the idea of having several pairs lined up in a drawer, and that was much more satisfying, in some indefinable way, than having just one. Kind of like starting a little collection of anything you maybe only needed one of. And it would sneak up on me--after awhile, several of something, and then I realized I didn't reallly want or need them and yet having them satisfied something.

None of this has been a major deal or filled up any rooms. But after getting older and trying to de-clutter, I began to tune in to this stimulus-response and try to understand it and relax out of it.

So this relates to the threads on defining a category--trying to understand why you have or need several of anything--and the one on buying less stuff now. I have been able to do both by recognizing that I do have this little psychological quirk and if I can see it at work, I can laugh at myself and hold off.

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DH is very much like you. We live at the most, 4 miles from every store possible, and he goes to our local BJs at least twice a week, but before he leaves, he asks me what I might need, and it reminds me as if we lived out in the boonies and go to town once a month for provisions in the buckboard.

We have overstocks of things that are no longer used so I give them away when I can; screws of every sort and size, but the only nails are roofing nails (HUH??). I bought my own little package of picture hanging nails and hid them.

If you go through this forum you will find that many have overcome the need to hoard and save and have found it so freeing.....Try it.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 8:16PM
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I sort of do this but my reasoning is that I HATE DETEST AND DESPISE SHOPPING. If I legitimately need a pair of gloves, I'll buy more than 1 pair so that I don't have to buy them again for years. I have 2 pairs of a number of styles of shoes because they are so classic that they won't go out of style and I like them enough to wear pair 2 after pair 1 has worn out. Again, I can stay out of stores. I buy household items (paper towel, TP, shampoo etc) once a year so, yes, we have space in the basement for loads of reserves. I don't buy stuff we don't need...just quantities of what we do. Quirky, yes. However, a huge benefit for me, besides not having to shop, is that I end up having more time for hobbies and other interests.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 8:31PM
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Good idea, kec01. It would seem that the fewer shopping trips, the less money wasted on impulse purchases.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 9:31PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I don't see it as a problem unless you can't afford what you are buying or don't have room. I like having options and you never know when you might need all the extra stuff.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 9:11AM
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Frankie, I'm a bit like that as well, especially the multiple items. What is it, I wonder? Of course, it might not be the same underlying reason for you as it is for me.

Sometimes for me I end up w/ multiples, but not IDENTICAL ones. It's as if, once I get on the topic of buying diaper bags, I can't quit. I end up w/ several, in different style. I have a love of gadgets, and can see all the ways one might be better than another, or better in a slightly different context.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 9:52AM
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Similar concept, talley sue.

Like, I found a vintage hankie to go in a jacket pocket. So then I wanted to look for more, but really, the one I got first was the best and went with everything already. Or a lapel pin--hunt for more for a collection and maybe buy one just for that reason.

It is maybe more like a collector than hoarding, and none of these are terribly expensive or take up the house individually, so there is not really a problem EXCEPT that I found that I was acquiring some of them mostly for this feeling of having several and not always because each item was so great or that I intended to use them that often. And so on with other categories of stuff.

Also, I find lots of ideas and "identities" interesting, so will get interested in quite a few expressions of such identities and not very focused, in contrast to a passionate participant in just one hobby or collector of just one item.

And, although it takes a while to sink in, over time you realize that, hmm, I used to have several types of things in one drawer, now I need 2 drawers, etc. So you realize, that is making me more dependent on having this amount of space and also time to put it away or whatever. And after awhile, sometimes 6 of something just feels burdensome compared to one, and like others on the forum I'm thinking about what my stuff says about me. So, I wouldn't mind my kids going through "here's Mom's flower pin she frequently wore," and I intend to keep everything I really use and enjoy--if you're lucky, you might just drop dead while you're still enjoying your home, hobbies, and life in general, so adult kids just have to plan on clearing out homes to some extent--but I'm beginning to shrink from the idea of having cabinets and drawers full of stuff that doesn't seem to really be a big part of my life.

So what has been successful for me is trying to focus in on, like the hankie thing (I am wearing out this example, but it seems to work here)--here is my great vintage linen hankie and that's what I'll use when I want to wear one and I don't need to have several other colors and styles just to somehow make a complete collection, and also trying to prioritize what "expresses" me so that I'm not all over the map.

Obviously, it makes a lot of sense for someone to have a "signature" style of a having a collection of type of clothing, accessory, dishes, linens, flower vases or any other such thing. I just felt I was being caught up in some need to have multiple such expressions of "identity".

Not sure I really want to get too psychoanalyzed, but I think it is part of the cycle of acquisition in earlier stages of life and then realizing you want to be simpler and more outwardly focused on experiences.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 4:49PM
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not really a problem EXCEPT that I found that I was acquiring some of them mostly for this feeling of having several and not always because each item was so great or that I intended to use them that often.


Oh, it's good to know I'm not alone.

I have managed to stop myself. Mostly.

By recognizing what I was doing, and my clearly identifying to myself the benefits of NOT doing this.

-More money to spend on OTHER indulgences that might be more fulfilling, or more money (however small the amount) to make me feel less anxious about mone in general.

-Less stuff.

I also gave myself permission to PLAN purchases, anticipate them, and then put the stuff BACK. I defined "dreaming" as OK.

You have many, many interesting thoughts, so greatly expressed. I'm going to come back to your post and read it more slowly--several times.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 5:33PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Sometimes I think the desire to have things actually is another way of saying "retail therapy" and by not frittering money away, you will have money for big purchase that will be much more satisfying, like home updates or nice furniture.

I remind myself this nearly everyday!!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 5:53PM
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See, bumblebeez, I think I am diagnosing a subset of that. Because there is a specific feeling that goes with having a collection of somethings that is different from having a lot of somethings you have just one of. You could spend the same amt of time or $$ or shopping and take up space with either one and want or need to change it, but maybe a slightly different brain synapse ( or mental disorder!)--obviously some need-- is involved, and so maybe the antidote is slightly different in trying to replace that or re-train your way of thinking.

But it's all related.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 6:01PM
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Frankie, are you in my clothing closet again? Just got home from travelling and trying to catch up on the great discussions happening here. I need to digest this thread and gather my thoughts, but I could immediately relate to your post and many of the responses.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 8:01PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I find that if I have one of something then I start to look for others. I don't really think of it as a collection though. Last year I bout a phal orchid and then immediately started thinking about getting more different orchids. This went on for about a month while I looked at orchids and checked out a bunch of books from the library.
By this time I realized I really didn't want the upkeep of more orchids and one was ok. That I could enjoy it even though it was common.
I am identifing too much with this thread...sigh.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 10:43PM
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I truly am my father's daughter. Dad spent 3 1/2 years in a Japanese prison camp... and swore he'd never be hungry, without soap or toilet paper (when he passed away there were 40 double bars of Ivory soap maked 2/.35). LOL
I keep a backup on hand, one of everything, Tide Safeguard, toilet paper, papertowels etc.

Bumble where were ya when I started collecting orchids? LOL Wish I'd kept to a couple kinds instead of just buying them cuz they are soo pretty. LOL

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 11:52PM
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I find that if I have one of something then I start to look for others.

AFTER I get new eyeglasses, I start looking at other people's frames.

AFTER I bought an expensive suit, I noticed gorgeous suits everywhere.

It's like I'm in a groove, and I have to switch off the "buy it" aspect of it all.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 2:50PM
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Can you trace this back, perhaps, to a specific time that you had bought something, realized that if fit so perfectly or was the perfect color to bring out your eye color, or maybe a part of it broke, then went back to get either another one or a replacement and could no longer find it? Maybe that's why you like to build collections of multiples?

Or... perhaps you don't like making decisions, and you find something you like and want to build up a stash of them so you never have to repeatedly go in search of the item?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 10:53PM
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I was recently unpacking some moving boxes and found razors with a coupon good for 50 of my next purchase. The coupon expired in 1992.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2007 at 2:15PM
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Well, Albert, that's fine, as long as the razors are still good, you will really still use them, AND you toss out the coupon. :)

Expired coupons are one thing I have no trouble tossing. It makes me feel that I've been freed from the obligation of using them.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2007 at 7:35PM
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I started tossing ALL coupons, and I really enjoy that feeling susanjn mentioned--if I have them, I feel guilty if I don't use them.

In my case, w/ the different styles of diaper bags, I find that I can't decide which is better, so I buy them all.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 9:22AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Huh? Why would anyone think twice about throwing out an expired coupon?
In Albert's case it sounds like he just overlooked a box while unpacking.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 10:41AM
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Quote:In Albert's case it sounds like he just overlooked a box while unpacking.
Exactly, for about fifteen years. The topic was hording I think. VBG etc.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 1:59PM
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"Why would anyone think twice about throwing out an expired coupon?"

To punish ourselves for not using it, I guess. But wait! Is it recyclable? With junk mail or cardboard? If I put it in the wrong bin, I may somehow mess up the recycle process. If I put it in the trash, I'm overloading the landfill. It's just too complicated to discard that expired coupon! So it sits on the kitchen counter.

This is a big exaggeration, of course. But I do go through a mini version of this every time I toss something.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 10:53PM
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wow, I never thought of this syndrome, "hidden hoarding tendency" because I have tons of storage and a very uncluttered home.......... yet......... I definitely have that tendency.

I'm getting ready to move in a large condo, we are selling a big suburban house and a small city condo, I'll have 40% less space, hence 40% less storage.

Thank goodness, I'm at a point in my life where I'm ready to let go of a lot of my stuff; my big move is only next march so I've already started paring down my "hoarding collections" starting with socks, all kinds, votive holders,
papers and stationery of all kinds, clothing, shoes, and so on and so forth.

I never did the hoarding thing with food and cleaners, I operate with minimum supplies.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 8:54AM
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I never thought of myself as a food hoarder. But i guess, many of you may call me that.

We butcher and have a half a beef (roughly 425 lbs) in the freezer. I have well over 250 bags of frozen veggies in the other freezer and 500+ jars of home-canned food.

On the farm -- we call it necessity. Yes -- I can go to the grocery store fairly easily. But that would be wasting money since I have the space for a garden, the time and ability to can and the need for organic, healthy food.

We have lots of long underwear, work boots, chore clothes -- many of you may look at the old worn sweatshirts and tell us to get rid of them.

Lifestyle determines needs. Snow storms can keep me stranded for several days. Even summer doesn't have enough hours in a day to go to the grocery store at a drop of a hat. The definition of "hoarding" is not the same for all of us. I may have more socks than most -- but in the winter, I have to wear two pairs to stay warm.

This has been an interesting discussion. I love hearing other opinions on the subject.


    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 11:57AM
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Wow, these have been some interesting replies.

I don't think I have much deprivation history to blame. One thing that I have found to be behind some collecting is thinking that "they" (the manufacturer, etc) are going to quit making "it"--which is certainly true for clothes, fabrics, or other products--you know, when you start some system or really find you like something (even things that are called "basics"), then you go back a year later to get another, they've changed the style, or the color, or the quality, or some new gizmo has replaced it.

I guess the Internet has made it easier to find whats'its, and also, you could hunt garage sales for someone throwing out that very thing.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 11:41AM
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Cathy, I would definitely NOT call you a food hoarder. If you grew it, preserved it, and will use it before it spoils, you are not hoarding. Can I drop by for dinner sometime? :)

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 9:57PM
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Fascinating thread... hitting way too close to home, but especially Mitchdesj's: "paper and stationary of all kinds" which caught me off-guard. Over 10- (TEN!) years ago my daughter and I "stocked up" on reams and reams of high quality paper, the good 100% cotton rag, 25% bamboo laid, etc. being sold at an outlet really cheap- we kept going back to get more, and more, two of this type, three of that one...likely reasoning it's a bargain, we might not find it this cheap again - who knows, stocking up for life?? Surely, I will never have to buy paper again, (maybe that was the seductive excuse) but I stored it all, then had to move it all twice, and then again from my basement to the attic when I realized the cellar wasn't a smart place to store paper. And the kicker - in the ensueing over-10 years, I have used less than two reams of paper, including when I went back to school for my masters; I have been a slave to many seemingly innocent purchases now just filling up my space and life. (and having a difficult time letting go of things obviously completes the problem) Mostly neatly stored, mostly quality stuff - but even quality stuff seems to take on an aspect of junk from its accumulated weight...not one or two or three All-clad pots but the collect-them-all mentality, or at least the if-one-is-good-two-is-better school of thought. If one breaks I'll have another, and yes, if they stop making this, I have stock!!
How I wish that over the years I could have saved and bought REAL stock or CD's or something with all the money I have frittered with foolishly "justified" hidden, and not-so-hidden hoarding/saving of STUFF that I may never live long enough to use------or maybe don't even need to use. What WILL I need 15 reams of paper for, or a drawer full of beautiful stationary? What year was it that I last wrote a letter? For all the money I spent on duplicate cutlery, I could have bought several top-notch ones instead, especially since, as I notice, I use the same few over and over, (the 20% rule?)leaving all the rest to gather uselessly as a testimoney to my poor judgment. And so it goes, ad nauseum. Anyway, thank you all for the thought provoking subject.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 10:19PM
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eaving all the rest to gather uselessly as a testimoney to my poor judgment.

peegee, promise me you'll get rid of stuff like this--why keep stuff in your hous that only serves to reproach you?

Take the reams of paper to the church or charity office, or a day-care center, or even to the local lawyers' office, or something. Just get it out of your house.

Oh, and.....

If one breaks I'll have another, and yes, if they stop making this, I have stock!!

I STOPPED MYSELF from doing this just this week. I had found a plastic box for storing batteries, and I really liked it. But my kids dropped it, and it broke. It is still usable, but the lid is now freestanding instead of detached. When I went to buy a replacement, it was out of stock, for a long time, and I figured it had been discontinued. But I didn't switch to some other product, bcs this fit exactly in the space we had available, and I liked how it looked.

Just this week, I found it again, IN STOCK. I ordered 2 at first, figuring the second one might be as readily damaged as the first, and I am indeed worried they'll stop making it. (after all, they stopped making the white plastic magnetic dishtowel bar I have on the fridge, and I don't like the new styles availabale; I'm terrified it will break someday.) But I stopped myself. It just seemed silly.

I think this thread was a part of that entire thought process.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2007 at 10:10AM
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Thank you for your response, Talley Sue. I've known for a long time that I need to take action, and in a way, this is sort of a first step for me. I've been following along in this organizing forum for quite some time, and have been inspired by everyone's successes. I guess I'm inching my toe into the water, knowing that I'm working my way into jumping in. Going slowly allows me to be comfortable with the process, which encompasses long-entrenched (disfunctional)behavioral patterns. Also, health constraints limit my ability to get things done, and right now I have outdoor projects that are in desperate need of completion. Shortly, when it gets colder,I will turn my focus indoors, and use the winter to pick away at this problem, of which what I indicated is the tip of the iceberg!! I am going to make a little (temporary) poster for inspiration from your question of why keep stuff in my house that only serves to reproach me...WOW!! you have a way of getting to the crux of the matter; you could not know how exactly true those words ring for me!
In the months ahead I hope to post my progress. And thank you Frankie and others here, too!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 7:49PM
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I think we all inch along--I hope the biggest thing you can get, in the short term, is to give yourself permission to give up on that paper.

I have decided that whenever something makes me feel chagrined, that's a signal I need to get it OUT of my house. I'm not 100% at following that rule, but I get better all the time.

Does it make me feel guilty?
(it's a gift I don't like, a purchase I shouldn't have made, clothes I "ought to" wear, a project I should have finished.....)

That means I need to get it out of my house ASAP.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 9:20PM
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Great thread!!!! I just recently have stopped this same behavior. I am a collector of so many things and as soon as I like something, I want one of everything! I recognize that my mom was the "if one is good two is better" mentality b/c she would always be so upset about not being able to get another one of ______ b/c it was discontinued, etc.

I used to wash all jeans that I really liked inside out, hant them to dry (actually almost ALL of my clothes!) for fear that I would never find another pair like them. Nuts.

Recently I have been pitching stuff, throwing clothes in the dryer and LIVING!

It's awesome! :)

Thanks for this thread. It is reminding me to renew my dedication to getting the clutter out and not being focused on STUFF.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 11:48PM
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I have recently identified the act of acquiring as a significant part of my hoarding behavior. I can get an idea in my head that I need something, and nothing can stop my pursuit of it. Once I get it, it may never get used - but my need was met in my acquisition. Strange - strange - strange.
Very validating to read this thread and to know I am not alone.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 11:24PM
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wanna, I have not got all this worked out even for myself, but it is clear that in my case, too much past shopping/acquiring was tied up in avoidance of some kind, maybe things that seemed hard to do at home, needing to make a decision about something, maybe procrastination, and the acquisition was a huge barrier to better organization--takes up too much time and makes more stuff to organize.

Once I started analyzing , on a daily or weekly basis, how much time I actually spent organizing and/or cleaning versus the opposite-- "making a mess" --(this could either be by cooking, by pulling out stuff for a project, or buying things that then needed a home, or assembly, or installation--whatever), then I began to see that I was avoiding the picking up, or cleaning, or de-cluttering, in favor of making more mess. Doesn't take too high level math skills to see that over time this was not working!

Two things--I think (my family, at least) totally underestimates the time needed to pick up, clean up etc and certainly doesn't like to do it! Or, we are not prepared to very intentionally choose things that require less cleanup time. Or both. So there's always this creep, creep of not-fully cleaned up or put away of one thing--a snack, a project--before on to the next. Also, my DH and DD have a high (too high) tolerance for drop-itis and I feel like I am always the one to say (after about a month), do we still need this box? Are we done with these parts? Are you going to make more bread this week or shall we put the machine up for now?

One of our phones was not functioning well, so my husband bought a new one and set it up to charge. 3 weeks later, we still have not removed & discarded the old phone and moved the new into its right place. Last week, installed a new modem. Boxes still in middle of LR floor. What is WITH us with that?

Whenever I can just take care of it myself. I've been trying to do that more (independence = less stress), but some projects require being sure you do not throw something away that is still important, or being considerate of others' feelings.

So the point, if there is a point here, is that I've had to be more conscious of, well, if we bring home a new phone, then I need to allow time to clear the messages off the old phone, take opportunity to clean the counter for the new phone, recycle the cardboard boxes, toss or take to Goodwill the old phone. Now, I don't mean I have to be all poor-me to do this. Instead, I just need to be mindful of the TOTAL time and action involved in this project, which is not just buying it and plopping it down somewhere. So maybe I need to curtail a half hour of pleasure reading, or run around and do stuff on TV commercials of a favorite show, or something--but just make a plan so as to not start off another week with the dregs of this project added to all the others.

That may seem like a weak example, but muliply it by all the things that go on--making meals and snacks, making supper to take to a sick friend,receiving a letter with a stack of photos from relatives, replacing something that breaks down at home--each one of these activities has a "completion" aspect that, at our house anyway, just tends to pile up.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2007 at 12:05PM
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So there's always this creep, creep of not-fully cleaned up or put away of one thing--a snack, a project--before on to the next. Also, my DH and DD have a high (too high) tolerance for drop-itis and I feel like I am always the one to say (after about a month), do we still need this box? Are we done with these parts? Are you going to make more bread this week or shall we put the machine up for now?

that's me! and my house (though my own tolerance for mess, and my own avoidance of the work, is part of it).

I also find that sometimes I avoid picking stuff up bcs I don't have a good place to put it.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2007 at 12:54PM
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Ditto, you guys!! It is so easy to "drop it" after a long day at work.

I have gotten better at several small areas and it helping the rest of the house. One -- I clean the bath every day or every other day. This is so much easier than a massive clean, scrub once a week -- I can't believe it. And most of the time -- I'm waiting for the bathwater to run or while doing laundry, I scrub the toliet.

2. Laundry always gets put away -- I have always been good at it. I'm just getting better at linens and towels and household laundry.

3. I always make my bed. Boy -- does that help the attitude! Bedroom looks good -- so at least, I'm not heading into clutter there.

now -- if you could only help me with my kitchen!! I haven't seen my kitchen table for weeks!!


    Bookmark   September 27, 2007 at 1:31PM
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Cathy, I am going to try that with the bathroom. There is something about waiting too long to clean, so that the counter won't come clean with just a swipe, but there's too much dust and grime, or whatever, so it really does take more time, plus, with the BR, like a kitchen counter, you really want it pretty clean ALL the time, and not clean for a few days and then grimy until the next cleaning. This was also the problem with the cleaning service, though I think we had them too infrequently anyway, is that certain areas just have to be cleaned by us pretty often no matter what.

I'm trying the same thing with Swiffering in our hardwood floor areas. I have a long-haired cat and wow, I think I've just cleaned but there are poufy hair bunnies. So for a long time I think I made it out to seem like more work than I should be doing,poor me, but then I noticed, hmmm, it takes like 5 min to Swiffer once around. How hard is that? What I need to do is do that about every couple of days, not once a week or 2 weeks. The cat-hair-dust-bunny concept is that these little wisps float around, so you might just have Swiffered and one might float back by. But, over time, if you do it pretty often, you maintain pretty good control and do better than a more intense job less often.

Of course, brushing the kitty every day is good for that and for him.

Also I find that mentally I always feel like I JUST DID THAT, when in fact, it might have been days and days ago (time flies when you're having fun) . So, I need to keep a calendar or cardfile and readjust my "thinking" on how often and how much I'm really doing, 'cause I'm not really doing it that often.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2007 at 5:49PM
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Another area that hits close to home, but at least with this I've come a long way in the process of improvement! Years ago, I was always doing outdoor projects, and leaving behind a trail of un-picked up stuff...like maybe shovels left out, compost bags not thrown out, a pile of rocks or flowerpots just left around for later- I was terrible, and in the house, too; washed and folded laundry stacked on a chair -you get the idea. Stuck in incompletion mode. Finally one day I thought about this behavior, and I realized that I never took clean-up into account when figuring how much energy or maybe time too, that I had for a project. I am these days so much better as I pace myself and anticipate how much I can accomplish that includes the clean-up. This is probably second nature to most people, but I still have to make a conscious effort (no, I'm only going to do the third laundry load I want to do, as I am only ready to handle completing everything for two loads; I better stop now with these cobble stones as I need to get everything put away.....
And Clink, only a few months ago I also started quickly cleaning bathroom surfaces throughout the week, and am amazed at the difference in how much easier and cleaner my bathroom always now seems to be, especially now that I also take a dampened bit of toilet tissue every day and make a few quick swipes on the floor. I probably spend less than 3 minutes a day, and now never need to think about if my bathroom is presentable.
Except for the one week recently I didn't feel good, and didn't keep up with anything - shocking how quickly the whole house degenerated into a pit...reminded me of what I struggled with for years. But now I live alone and can't blame anyone else!!!! I've learned that I need to be mindful and consistant, and do needed things even when I don't really want to. I'm still a work in progress!!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2007 at 11:02PM
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"...do we still need this box? Are we done with these parts?..."

Oh, Frankie! You've described my home/family exactly.

My dh's radio alarm clock (of 30 years) was not working properly. The clock is still functioning, but not the alarm. He purchased a new one, set it up, and the old one and new box still sits on his night stand. He said, "Do we have a room that needs a clock?" NO!

And we all repeat this pattern over and over and over.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2007 at 12:20PM
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okay so some of what you all are saying is hitting home. I am trying to de-clutter but, I find it sometimes difficult for me to do. Which I realized is defiantly a little hoarding part in me. But, do you all have any suggestions to get out of I can't find that again. So you buy 3 of the same items or more. Or you have to get that item because it is pretty or cool. Garage sales are sometimes the most difficult especially breakables, dolls, figurines. How can I stop it until its to late. What I say to myself is I don't need this which has been helping but, still difficult. I have many interests which is great but, not great for my home. How do I know when I need to stop trying that interest and get rid of the stuff. I been going through old paperwork I have found if I put it in a box look at again then shred it I can not dig it out of the trash can later thinking I might need this or it could be important later on.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 2:13AM
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I don't think there is ever a simple answer, formula, or quick fix, and you will have to come to peace with your own sense of what is "enough", the difference between a want and a need (not that we can't have both), or come to the realization of cause and effect - pleasure and pain.

It's also a part of aging. It seems like you spend all your early years accumulating things because most of us started with very little, then somewhere between the age of 50 and 60 you wonder why you have all this "stuff" and what are you going to do with it? You offer things to family and friends, but they already have their own "stuff" and they don't need yours!

I struggle getting rid of things that might be useful (that comes from being poor growing up and the early years of being married). I congratulate myself because I'm not my mother storing hundreds of empty plastic margarine and Cool-Whip tubs, but I'm hopeless when it comes to a jar with a lid, so I have a small plastic storage container in the basement where I store good reusable jars/lids. When it is full, that is all I can have and I will put jars in the recycling bin that don't fit in my container. I've rarely needed more jars, so I'm satisfied with what I have. And remember, recycling is good too.

I can only have files in one filing cabinet - and when you teach as many classes as I do and love doing research, I could fill a room of filing cabinets if I didn't restrict myself to the one cabinet. I do use scrap paper and junk mail to make homemade paper I use for making my own cards, gift tags, wrapping paper, gift items, and various things. It is a simple and useful hobby - but I also add paper to the recycling bin.

So, I have to provide self-imposed limits and congratulate myself on doing such a good job to keep within those boundaries.

I like to challenge myself. During July I added something daily to the give-away boxes destined for the thrift stores. This month I'm going to go through all the pens/pencils/markers and toss what doesn't work. All the extras I really don't have a use for I'm giving to a friend who is a teacher. She never has enough!!!! September I'm going through all the Christmas decorations and will disperse them accordingly - offer them to family, take to the thrift store, or put them in the trash. There are 2 boxes we typically use from, and a bunch more we're not really sure what is in them anymore. The Christmas china and serving dishes, and the 12-days of Christmas glasses are also going. The days of having 3 or 4 generations of people over for Christmas are long gone and all these items are going to make someone else happy instead of being negative thoughts for me.

I grew up with very little, so buying things - even for a person who is careful and follows a budget, I got to a point where I had an AH HA moment. I realized I was no longer poor, my needs were easily met, and I began to strike a balance mentally between wants and needs. Did "things" really add value to my life, or was I only purchasing them because they were a bargain? We all know there are bargains each and every day, and when you really do have an actual need, there will be a bargain for it. I rarely pay full price for anything.

I've been doing something that may seem a bit drastic for 2 years that has curbed spending, saved gas and wear and tear on my car, broke a few old habits, and really worked well for me. I only shop every other month (other than groceries which I shop for weekly on a $125/month food budget for 2 adults).

This broke my habit for tracking every sale in every store, making the rounds to every thrift store several times a month, and going to garage sales every week. It has worked so well I now only "shop" the first week, and sometimes the last week of a shopping month. And when I do go shopping it is with a list, a purpose, and I actually enjoy planning and executing the outing. I may even pack myself a nice lunch and eat it at a park close to where I need to shop.

Sometimes you need to look at things with a new perspective, and even little changes in several areas can make a big difference. I once collected tea pots and had a great place to display them. What started with a couple I already had, a few that were inherited from my mother, quickly ended up being easy gifts for friends and family to purchase for me and far more than was necessary. They were fun to display, but two moves later I don't have the space for them. All people saw was a LOT of tea pots displayed, now they see a handful of the special ones I have left from the collection. I have asked my family not to purchase me more tea pots and tea gadgets, I ask them to buy me a nice box of tea instead - I've got the pots and gadgets covered.

After I got a computer I didn't renew magazines as they came due because they were a major cause of clutter and waste. I can read at least portions of the magazines on-line or at the library.

I canceled the local newspaper because I can read the obituaries and local news on-line, or hear it on the local radio stations. I get coupons on Wednesday in the free weekly paper, instead of paying to get them in the Sunday edition.

I did a reality check of clothing and shoes when we put in a new closet system, and now I have a real wardrobe that works together with around 25 items, instead a bunch of clothes packed into the closet. If I add something, I also get rid of something.

A few choice items for decorations and some original art by the family, rather than collections and stuff to dust and care for, helps keep things simple. Simple living gives me peace of mind, which is worth a whole lot more than "stuff".


    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 12:09PM
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I have obsessive compulsive disorder - I get an item on my brain - like I just HAVE to have it. I will search all sources for whatever I am currently obsessed with, then I will find it, buy it, stick it on a shelf and never use it. I do this OFTEN, then purge my belongings and never miss the item.

I just moved from Florida to Missouri and GAVE away SIX truck loads of 'must haves'! It's a real sickness that is very expensive. It is so freeing to get rid of these things I obsess over!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2014 at 8:35PM
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