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Hoarding Help Message Boards : The Daily Chat : What are you doing today
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What are you doing today

dave - a reminder from Tillie
Posted: 08 November 2014 - 02:10 PM
I wanted to make a repost of an old post of Tillie's I saw today.

Posted: 11 June 2013 - 03:20 PM
"Stepping out of squalor" "take one step at a time" is for hoarders and messies ONLY.
People who are not a hoarder or messy should not post there. But reading there is very motivational and encouraging.
I am tolerated there because I seldon post and NEVER give out any advice.

Cory's message board here, "HOARDING CLEANUP" is the only online site that is for everybody.
Hoarders, messies, people who know a hoarder, children of hoarders, people who want to work with hoarders and neat & tidy people who live in a squalorous hoard with a hoarder.

Cory's message board here is so very important to me.
It gives me encouragement when I want to give up.
Seeing you all work so hard to declutter gives me hope that some day maybe my hoarder will get on board too.
Posted: 08 November 2014 - 01:57 PM
I know. When I first came here there were few enough posts that I easily read every one to get an idea of how things worked and where I fit into it. Now with tens of thousands (hundreds?) to go thru it's daunting.

Your organization for those *posters in need* is definitely going to help others. They can refer to it quickly and read how the original posters dealt with the problem.
Posted: 08 November 2014 - 01:22 PM

Thank you. At the grocery store I see something called free range chicken. We seem to have a "Free Range Hoarder" site here, honoring the Diversity, Creativity and Independence of Hoarders and Those Who Support them. As a result information gets scattered about.

When I saw the diversity of information in some of those threads, I wondered if I could facilitate "poster helping" speaking to "poster in need" with some of those old posts.

I hope it's helpful to someone.
Posted: 08 November 2014 - 12:15 PM
VERY helpful post on Cleaning Help section Dave!

That was a lot of work you did, thanks!
Posted: 08 November 2014 - 10:30 AM
This will take you to the home page of a site called Stepping Out of Squalor.
Posted: 08 November 2014 - 10:01 AM
Bitsy, I can't do links. But if you google stepping out of squalor it should come up. Hope you're feeling well.
Posted: 07 November 2014 - 02:01 PM
thank you all for your posts. for your honesty. for your understanding. for your compassion.
Dianne can you give the URL of the other hoarding site?
Posted: 07 November 2014 - 09:13 AM
Mrs. Dave is a fortunate lady indeed!! :)

What a nice surprise for her to see the clean kitchen areas first thing in the morning. How clever of you to be listening for just the right timing with that dryer door. ;)
Posted: 06 November 2014 - 10:37 PM
It's done except for a few plastic bottles to clean and a little bit of fruit to discard. I can do those things tomorrow. The working spaces that are supposed to be clean are clean and I even helped Mrs Dave hang up a few clothes from the dryer! (After I heard the dryer door close several times, I went and asked if she was done and she said she wasn't. I guess you can decide whether I waited too long or not long enough. :) )
Posted: 06 November 2014 - 10:03 PM
I am taking a break. (If I was being my independent self, I would be stopping. Since I'm looking for the support, I'm taking a break.)

This is going to be very nice. I have 3 counter corners and 3 stove burners that are ideally cleaned off once a day. Sometimes goes to every 2 days or in a really bad situation, 3 days. The time they are clean is usually in the middle of the day so Mrs Dave never gets to see the clean spots (unless she does the cleaning). Tomorrow morning when she comes to the kitchen she will see the little flow through working areas clean.

I have two of the counter areas and the all the stove areas cleaned. All the remaining dishes are piled where I can see them on the last counter area.

Ok, I am not stopping. I am going back to the sink.!!!!!!!!!!
Posted: 06 November 2014 - 09:01 PM
Making post so maybe I will actually get it done-forcing myself to wash dishes before I go to bed so kitchen will be more orderly in the am.

I see you've made some more nice posts. I am unravelling some myself (like fear of death-I've been upright in bed in the middle of the night a couple of times the last week trying to cope with that issue) right now in addition to being tired and I am not going to try to make any additional response at the moment.

Back to fresh dish water. :)
Posted: 06 November 2014 - 07:40 PM
Dave, your example of helping a veteran is excellent. That kind of understanding of the subset tasks provides good suggestions.

So maybe if there was a new thread outlining the 6 constraints then newcomers could check that out and zero in on their most pressing constraint? Then suggestions offered could be more tailored to their specific needs?

Posted: 06 November 2014 - 07:24 PM
Dave, I 100% agree with you about the generic response to the *drive-by posts*. (Great catch phrase btw.)

I've always been painfully aware that basically we can't help anyone really. We can give the suggestions, the encouragements, the online family connections. But the reality is everything you said ~ desire, people in real life, time, vehicles, money, etc. ~ that's major action and if someone was really ready and prepared to do that I don't think they'd be coming here. They would just kick ass and get the job done.

And all 6 of your constraints are dead on. The people who have the 6 necessities for getting out of hoarding are indeed blessed. For those who don't or are unwilling to use a professional company maybe the best we can hope for is to stumble along doing things ourselves (baby steps).

When people show up here and they are in dire straits I think they want to be consoled and reassured they are understood. They may think (wishful thinking) that they will get advice that will fix their problems quickly. Not too many of them are emotionally or mentally strong enough to accept what a difficult road lies ahead. It's kind of like feeding a baby. They need mushy foods before they can chew meat. (Some bible quote to that effect also about stages of growth.) Example ~ when I was first separated if someone had told me what was going to be required to get thru a divorce I would not have been able to process the difficulties. It was fetal position, forget any rational dealing.

Although you're totally right and I agree with you I don't know how to effect real change online.

Posted: 06 November 2014 - 06:33 PM
Dave, I agree you don't need to be analyzed or understand your childhood to start. I've been in therapy on and off for almost 45 years and, for me, it hasn't had the results I was hoping for. I still make the same mistakes, I seem to go in cycles, I'll die with some serious regrets. I feel like I've been searching for *how to live* since I was a child and my vast collection of self-help books of all kinds attests to that.

Maybe the one thing I have learned to be most helpful is to take some kind of action no matter how small. I can read and talk and ruminate and use avoidance behaviors and all the while things around me get worse. It ain't goin anywhere and sooner or later I have to deal. I've had suicidal ideations since I was a child and maybe knowing I have that *out* helps me eventually continue trying because I don't really want to off myself.

There have been times I literally could not take action and laid in bed for days. When zombie like behavior continued for months I'd probably get myself into emergency care. After years of denial now I accept that I will need medication the rest of my life.

It's hard for me to look at the big picture or years out view. That can be a serious downer. My methods of coping with life are very flexible. Lately it's been a combination of Hazelden addiction treatment methods and Joel Osteen reads.

I think, for me, it's been extremely important to control where my thoughts go. Most people have no understanding of lifelong chronic depression and mood swings. I don't think I've ever feared death really. It will come as a relief.

How all that relates to recovering in hoarding for me is that I could never just jump in, pick up a random piece and ask questions that are recommended. I'd be so far down a maze of rabbit holes I'd never come out. What works for me is the planning. Once I have a routine set up (when I follow it) things go pretty well. I work in *layers* usually meaning I don't have to go all out hard core purging. When there was some purging I couldn't be there. I had to trust others and their decisions.

I have difficulties every single day. I avoid hard choices still. That's where the head work comes in. I play games with myself, move to an area where I will be more productive and successful. Not just physically cleaning but life stuff ~ like I might look for areas where I can cut back expenses or I'll spend a little time with my neighbor's son. He has some issues that isolate him and I like to interact with him. It just makes me feel good and then I have a fresher outlook.

Yesterday thru another hoarding website I was introduced to a very cool page. I went there to light candles to honor some of the members who have passed away. I decided to do a page just for me. It's free. So now I can go there whenever I need a little peace and go thru the steps to meditate a bit, light my candle and set my intentions.

Each person's journey here is so individual. That's probably the other thing I've learned in my searching. No book or method or lifestyle change or spiritual path is going to *fix* us. It's pretty much one day at a time using the resources we have at that particular time. And not wasting our precious energy with negativity. Letting go of grudges, bitterness and judgments lightens the spirit. Holding close to compassion strengthens it. When we work on improving one area of our lives it has a ripple effect. Being grateful changes our perspective. And when we get those heart, mind, body and soul things aligned our physical environment improves too.

Posted: 06 November 2014 - 05:59 PM
The so could I coordinate volunteers to..........

post was an example of one thought process I came up with as to how someone might approach things.

Say the person was a veteran. Say their neighborhood in their community has a neighborhood cleanup each spring. And the veteran has a seriously hoarded living place. And the veteran wishes to change. So maybe he/she could talk to a commander of a local legion post and see if it could be arranged for some help to get stuff out of the house in the appropriate time frame. and then maybe this post commander could also help in talking with the trash pickup organization for the cleanup to see if arrangements can be made for an extra large pickup at this one location.

Just saying that understanding the subsets of the task may suggest ways to ask for help that the umbrella task doesn't.
Posted: 06 November 2014 - 05:45 PM
Too abbreviated.

Think about all of the "drive by" posts on the site. And our responses.

Generically - the posts are I am in desperate straits or a member of my family is in desperate straits with their home filled with junk and trash and possessions and no resources or will to make change.

The generic response - post in daily chat and try this and this to see if you can get a little encouragement.

Clearing clutter is the change sought but that is a costly proposition.

It takes a DESIRE to change. It takes people to move stuff. It takes people and vehicles to remove stuff. It takes people to support a desire to change. It takes people and stuff to restore a cleaned living place. In America today, all that takes money. Somebody without money trying to accomplish the broad objective of "hoarding/clutter cleanup" is going to have to look at those broad areas and find ways to get help with each of them.

I have substituted books for the paid psychologist. I have substituted 1 person's effort and time for a cleaning crew. I have substituted the cost of a monthly trash cart and time for the effect of a dump truck. (And since I no longer have a job-even those things are becoming much more expensive relatively speaking.) The income from Mrs Dave's and my jobs and help from someone else have paid for "restoration (ie repairs of broken house parts) to date.

I think many of those "Help!" posters don't even have those "luxuries". No income beyond food and housing. Physical constraints. Mental contraints. Unable to drive or unable to afford a vehicle if they can. No money for trash so they save it in the house. Unuseful habitual mental thought patterns. To get out of their circumstances, they will have to find some way to address at least those 6 areas I mentioned.
Posted: 06 November 2014 - 05:07 PM
Dave, I'm not sure I understand. Are you not able to live in your house anymore? How about Mrs. Dave?
Posted: 06 November 2014 - 05:05 PM
Palmer, Clutter Busting (orange book)

Page 1 second paragraph.
Page 5, first paragraph under heading.

These are examples of the words that make me like Brooks Palmer. How do I start? Where do I start? What do I do?

I don't have to get analyzed to start. I don't have to understand my childhood to start. I don't have to have a "system" to start. All I have to do is pick up a piece of stuff and ask questions.

Do I like you? Do you make feel good? Are you useful to me now? You can make cycles through things this way.

I was just looking through chapter headings in the book. There are concepts that help you deepen that approach.

We assume false identities in clutter.
Clutter keeps us living in the past.
Clutter represents fear of change.
clutter as punishment.

If all that is so helpful, why do I still have difficulties? Probably still unwilling to make hard choices. May need help I am unwilling to admit to. Don't have all the answers. This has just been more helpfulto me than a lot of other things.
Posted: 06 November 2014 - 03:23 PM

The help me, i can't live in my house anymore and i don't have any money posts. and the look for resources responses.

when I try to remember from a few of the A&E episodes I saw, what I am thinking about is labor, logistics and change. In a transition from commercial (cleaning service) or entertainment (tv program) to charity how do those things and their costs get covered?

There need to be people to do the work of moving things out of the home. They need supplies like masks, gloves, water, food, toilet facilities and ....??? .

Then the things have to be moved entirely off the site. That takes vehicles, more people, hauling supplies, dump and disposal fees and ........?? .

(So could I find a way to co-ordinate volunteers from some community service organization putting stuff from my house on the curb to be picked up by trash service during a neighborhood cleanup week/weekend?)

AND the hoarder has to change and be willing to let go of stuff. I think in program after program cory and matt's abilities to help were thwarted by the hoarder's unwillingness to make any change.

You pointed out the need for support for the hoarder, both in letting go of stuff and in broader life issues.

And there is then resoration of the homestead to some level of utility.

I guess I am not sure, but maybe you have been through this yourself recently.

Also not sure how to get that put down in a way that is useful, or if it is. I really can't relate well to the circumstances of some of the posters here.
Posted: 06 November 2014 - 02:34 PM
Dave, thank you so much for the compliment. It really means a lot, especially today when I was getting down.

I look forward to seeing your list of subsets of tasks. It will be a big help to people to get a clear picture of what's involved. Referring posters to books is fine but if they can see it here with no effort on their part it's a service to them. That's a time-consuming job for you and it will be appreciated.

When I read Don Aslett's books in the 1980's I set up a basic system of levels or degrees of dejunking. I used index cards and colors, charts and rewards but didn't consistently keep up with my plan. I'm using it again as I try to not get complacent. I still have too much stuff.

I know you like Brooks Palmer and I got a couple of his books. Like many of my good intentions I didn't follow thru in reading them.

Your breakdown sounds like it will be a good reality check.
Posted: 06 November 2014 - 12:23 PM
Closet. :)

Dianne, I appreciated seeing one of your posts today. 2 reasons.
One: Once again it reminds me of the compassion that you are able to extend to posters on the site. I see hearing and feeling expressed in your posts which I hope others can see and appreciate.

Two: I have been trying to think of the major subsets of tasks under the major task of hoarding cleanup in order to make a post showing people what they are asking for and by extension, why it is so difficult to find that help at no charge. You just expanded my list from 3 to 5. (and as I reread this, maybe I just saw number 6.)
Posted: 05 November 2014 - 11:21 AM
Dave, I think what you said ~ if we can choose to live in our lives something we saw in theirs that was important to us ~ is exactly how we get a measure of our parents' and grandparents' goodness. Whether it's a conscious choice or not we may find ourselves adopting some of their behaviors that make a positive difference in the world. It could be as simple as planting flowers that will make a passerby smile at the beauty in the world or being one of many working without recognition towards a project that will benefit future generations. If we had a introverted older influence maybe we remember their nightly prayers for others and do that. With many experiences as I age I feel more connected to people, more understanding, more tolerant, more forgiving. I watched that happen with my father.

Hopefully we pass along goodness to our children and grandchildren. And I'm thinking kindness and generosity isn't just in the genes. As we cultivate them in our lives we might spark something in the most casual connections with others.

Actually I was puzzled by your post last night. I was way too tired and when I tried to focus I thought, man this is just too heavy right now, I need sleep. It must have been stirring around in my subconscious because it was in my thoughts as I woke up. Now I need to go see what I don't want to eat in my closet. :)
Posted: 04 November 2014 - 12:10 PM
re food
That's where you use memories of refrigerator cleanings to inform your decisions. I have a drawer full of salad topping kits that were discussed with Karl Tillie and diane last spring. they are still there. I pulled a grey shirt out of the closet and thought it looked like dressing in one of the salad kits-something I've promised to eat for several months but never have. I decided it could probably be on the to go pile.

:) :)
Posted: 04 November 2014 - 12:04 PM
re measure of goodness.
I'm not sure if we get stuff like that. I think that the only way those around us might get to know our grandparents is if we can choose to live in our lives something we saw in theirs that was important to us. How to do that is something else-it's just a thought I puzzle over now and again.
Posted: 04 November 2014 - 07:14 AM
Tat good for you using your time well, tidying up kitchen rather than too much computer time! Bunnykins! Sweet dishes for precious kitties! :)

Mel, I chuckled about your food comment. That is exactly the way I would look at it. I hope you were able to get some much needed sleep last night. Insomnia is a terrible problem. You're a strong woman to not only make it in to work but to work late dealing with the effects of poor sleep, feeling sick and in pain. No wonder you were exhausted and crabby when you got home. It was a good decision to let the donation stuff wait. I call that *hitting the wall*. I know when it's coming on and give my daughter a heads up. I might squeeze out one or two more essential small things then straight to bed. Hitting the wall in exhaustion and pain for me means a loss of temper. Not terrible but enough to warrant apologies.

And congrats on getting that faucet for the kitchen!
Posted: 04 November 2014 - 06:38 AM
Hi Dave, there are so many things in life I am experiencing that give me understanding of elders before me. As a youngster I used to think one of my grandmothers' hands looked witch-like; crooked, creepy talons that she would use to pinch up bits of food. As my finger joints twist and swell I apologize to her in my heart because I now have an understanding of what she went thru. I hope I get a measure of her goodness as well as her arthritis.

You are so right when you said, I can also understand that the pain I have now is not anything like what I could be experiencing. Years ago a dear friend was having bad problems and cried, it can't get any worse then this. Over the next few months her youngest son was severely brain damaged in a traumatic car crash, her husband died from a fast growing cancer, she lost her job and her oldest son moved his family cross country leaving her without much needed emotional support and physical support with their small farm. No matter how bad our situations are it could always be worse. Just remembering that is cause for gratitude.

My back is feeling much better today, thank you. It appreciates my respect. :)
Posted: 03 November 2014 - 11:59 PM
Dave, it's so funny that you suggested thinking about stuff as if I was moving in with my boyfriend - I've actually been using that question for stuff I'm on the fence about. Of course, he also has about half the amount of space that I have. But yes, I've definitely been thinking about it that way.

I'm trying to imagine thinking about clothing with the question if this was food, would you eat it? I've purged a lot of clothing. I'm not sure that question would help me decide on keeping something or not. I guess I have the same problem with food - sometimes I go grocery shopping and I get something because I think I'll eat it - but then I don't and it goes bad. If I ask if I would eat it, I'd probably say "well, I'm not hungry for this right now, but I might be tomorrow..." :)

Dianne, I'm glad you enjoy my long rambly posts. Often when I actually hit the post button and see how long it is I feel like I've gone on way too much, and if there was an edit button I would have been clicking on it. I'm glad you understand what I mean about how I could live in my hoard happily if no one else ever had to see it. But, you're right, decay sets in, repair people have to come in, and I like the idea that I could maybe have someone over. Or maybe next Halloween I won't be so embarrassed if my niece lets herself and her parents in.

Tatoulia, good for you for taking a few minutes to tidy your kitchen so it was nice to wake up to! I'm working hard on the kitchen, and I'm trying to clear as much cabinet room as possible. My boyfriend loves to cook so I'm trying to give him as much space as possible to arrange things to his liking.

My mom has amvets or someone coming over on Wednesday so I was hoping to get some stuff packed up today for them. I wonder if I could give them some of my old electronics, at least the ones that still work. I have a friend who is technically minded and I offered to give him an old computer that he can either use or upgrade or tinker with or whatever he wants as long as he doesn't bring it back and doesn't send it away without making sure that none of my important information is retrievable.

Today was a difficult day for me, insomnia, woke up early feeling sick and in a lot of pain, had to go to work because I'm covering for someone else, had a rough day at work, then after I had been looking forward to seeing my boyfriend all day, his mechanic told him that his car is STILL not ready. I stayed late at work to try to get caught up, and though I planned on trying to put together some stuff for donation tonight, I was just too exhausted and crabby when I got home to work on it.

I picked and ordered a replacement faucet for the kitchen and it arrived, I just need to schedule the plumber to come back and install it.

I hope everyone else's Monday was better than mine and that we all have a great Tuesday!
Posted: 03 November 2014 - 02:42 PM
Hello everyone. Good to catch up on your posts. Read quite a few before going to bed last night but then stopped myself. Instead, I took the five minutes to unload my dishwasher, put the sink dishes into the dishwasher, hand washed the cat dishes (vintage Bunnykins), put away everything on the counters. Nice kitchen to wake up to today! Having cleared out the kitchen this summer, I have room in my cabinets for everything. Mel, getting rid of the stuff in my kitchen hurt my feelings in many, many ways but I don't miss a single item. I enjoy having space--nice comments re space, Dave.

Bitsy, Dianne and everyone else--Glad to read all of your posts and thank you for all motivating me to have an acceptable kitchen. Take good care, everyone. Missing Tillie and Diane and LR and Roxie.
Posted: 03 November 2014 - 01:52 PM
Hi Dianne
As I read over your posts today it seemed like there was a dichotomy in them. It was interesting to me because I was thinking along the same lines a day or two ago.

My hands and wrists hurt. Pain and loss of function are not pleasing to me. At the same time I got to thinking I could be grateful to have a small understanding of the pain my grandmother experienced from her arthritis. and I can also understand that the pain I have now is not anything like what I could be experiencing.

Hope your back gets to feeling better today.
Posted: 03 November 2014 - 12:21 PM
Mel, I loved reading your long post. It¡¦s like sitting for a restful break with a friend right here. :) ?º

I did the social stuff when I had to thinking I needed to fit in. I wish children could be taught from a young age to appreciate their inner nature and not have to feel they must try and fit a mold. Trying to be what I wasn¡¦t messed me up and brought lots of problems. I¡¦m pretty sure the hoard was my final push to protect myself ~ no people, no expectations. I¡¦m fine with 1 or 2 people; anymore and I definitely feel that need to *recharge*. That could be why I don¡¦t chat. Too many people at once.

I loved your honesty in saying if not for certain things you could easily and happily live in your hoard. I feel the exact same way. There was a part of me that was very content in my hoard. As long as no one came in and I didn¡¦t have to find dress-up clothes to go out I was pretty good. Jeans, t-shits, flip flops, ponytail, no effort, no pressure. If time could stand still it was probably ok.

But decay creeps in. Repairmen need to come in, appliances need to be replaced, my live-in daughter wanted to do more normal things in the house not just out of it. And, in getting older, we have to think about who has to clean up after we¡¦re gone. My father gave us a great gift ~ there was clean-up but not digging out and all of his paperwork was in order. His military funeral blew me away. My goal became *to die well*. I don¡¦t want my kids to be overwhelmed with junk as well as death.

It was a sad realization for me that my married daughter wasn¡¦t going to treasure the family things that I wanted to pass down to her. She has a different style. So some things have gone to other family members, some have been donated and some sold.

As comfortable as I could be if left alone with my stuff time changes things. Oh and I am SO resistant to change!!

I am so impressed with all you have accomplished Mel!! Reading of other¡¦s progress gives me the push I need to do more. ?º:)
Posted: 03 November 2014 - 10:55 AM
The stuff besides the monitor are things types of things I see in Goodwill and DAV. If they still work, i think you could take them to thrift store as opposed to recycle center. The monitor I'm not sure about. (And a recycle center may charge you to take it.)
Posted: 03 November 2014 - 09:08 AM
Sorry about the multiple posts-two other things I forgot-and these are ideas I need to remember the concepts of and use for myself.

In one of his blog posts Brooks Palmer posed a question-
If this was food would you eat it?
So one can hold up the shirt on the hanger in the closet. Does it still fit? Yes. If it was food would I eat it? No. Donation pile! (assuming it doesn't have holes, broken zippers etc.)

If I was moving to my boyfriend's house would I keep this? Is this worth a serious discussion with him about why I want it, how to have the space for it and what other thing I would give up to help make that space available?
Posted: 03 November 2014 - 08:55 AM

Couple of fun ideas to discuss with your counselor. (Concepts from Brooks Palmers orange book.)

Space is a thing too. Which is more important? The empty box or the space. The can of food or the space. the stereo set or the space. We probably need to hunt for a balance.

As I write i am also reminded about containers. A pickle jar holds pickles. A house is a container just like a jar. Rooms are a subset of containers within the house. And so on down the line. What is the purpose of each container? And how much repurposing creates a useful and enjoyable life style for us?

Talking to the stuff. Sit down sometime and talk to a bed or table or chair and see what it thinks about holding all the stuff that is on it.
Posted: 02 November 2014 - 11:14 PM
Getting greenery under control is so hard! I'm lucky that I don't have too much but there is a lot of ivy all around my house. I decided to dress up as Poison Ivy for Halloween this year and I pulled some vines from around my house for my costume!

I do have Creeping Charlie in the yard. I don't know if that's the technical term or not, that's what my mom calls it :) but it's true that the yard is maybe 50% grass. I have Rose of Sharon bushes that would take over the whole yard if given the chance. I've had a lawn service mowing my lawn this year. It's expensive, but it's such a relief to come home from work and see it's been mowed and trimmed and I don't need to worry about it. On the negative side, when I used to mow it myself I would mow over any areas that were getting overgrown (which the service doesn't do).

bitsy, is there any update on the electric on the front porch? When is your relative coming to stay? I hope you're feeling better!

dave, thanks for the info on the inheritance clutter! I also talked to my counselor about it and she suggested that donating stuff without bringing it to my mom's first would be an act of kindness to her - she would just pack it up and put it into the basement (where it would become my problem eventually when my parents are both gone). I also have had the thoughts about what happens when I'm gone and someone has to sort through all of MY stuff. I work in a medically-related field and I see every single day that none of us are promised tomorrow, no matter how young or seemingly-healthy we are. A few years ago I remember thinking that I hoped I didn't die while my house looked like it did because I felt so horrible about someone having to come through and try to sort through all my stuff.

Dianne, I totally understand not wanting to mingle with the adults. Sometimes it can be so much more fun playing with kids. I don't drink and I'm a quiet person who keeps to myself for the most part, so I often have a hard time mingling with other adults. Also, I don't have or want to have kids of my own, so I often have a hard time making conversation with most people my age because almost all of the ones I meet have kids. Plus I'm an introvert and once I'm around people for a certain amount of time, I need to go somewhere else to "recharge". I bet the kids loved playing with you!

Tatoulia, I love the idea of bringing those "free with purchase" items to work to share! My counselor also told me that there's a resale shop in our area that supports a shelter and they take donations of soaps, lotions, etc that they put to use at the shelter, so I'm thinking about putting together some stuff for them. One of my friends told me that at her workplace, they set aside a table at work in a corner of their lunchroom where people could bring stuff for others to take. It started out as a book exchange but then someone had a couple other things they asked if they could bring in and it turned into a nice place to exchange various stuff.

Diane, I hope your friend's husband is able to get stabilized and they are able to get back home and back to their regular lives soon!

So it's now officially November. My boyfriend is packing up his stuff to move in. His car ended up stuck in the shop until tomorrow so I picked him up and brought him here for most of yesterday and today. He told me tonight that he plans to be here every night this week. The downside is that I still have a lot more cleaning to do and I was thinking that he would continue to just be staying here a couple of nights a week so I could try to finish up the cleaning by the end of this month.

I talked to my counselor about my cleaner space. Again, it's not *clean* but it's *significantly* cleaner than it has been in, oh, about a decade. She asked if it makes me feel better that it's clean. the truth is... if I knew that no one but me would ever be in my house again ever, I could happily and easily live in my hoard. I only felt overwhelmed when I tried to clean it, and I only felt embarrassed if I knew/thought someone else was going to see it. I'm happy when I get stuff done now because it's one more thing marked off the list and one less thing that I have to worry about, but if I'd never met my boyfriend, the truth is I would probably still be living in/with my hoard and maybe getting rid of a few things, but not really making any serious progress.

I planned on making a trip to the electronics recycling that my village held on the 1st saturday of every month but they JUST canceled it. I was looking for the information on Friday to see where I needed to bring my stuff and I couldn't find it on the village website. Finally in my searching I found a blog post from Wednesday announcing that effective immediately, the electronics recycling program had been discontinued! Apparently there's one the next village over that has a program and their next dropoff date is on the 15th, so I'm going to do my best to have stuff ready to go to that one. I have a really old computer (running Windows 95 if that tells you anything!) I'd really like to get rid of but I'm far too worried about my data being stolen/found/retrievable by someone. Not sure what to do about that. But even without those things, I have an old stereo system, an old digital converter box, an old VCR, and an old huge monitor that need to go.

Next weekend I'm seeing a few friends and I'm bringing some stuff (more things out of my house!) - some exercise equipment, some dressy pants for a group my friend volunteers for, etc. Can't believe it's Sunday night again. Back to work tomorrow. On the plus side, the gal I've been covering for will be back in the office later this week so just a few more days of doing two jobs! Hooray!

Have a wonderful Monday everyone!
Posted: 02 November 2014 - 08:26 AM
Hi Mel, I'm glad to hear that after your feelings of discomfort and embarrassment you're not beating yourself up. Giving yourself credit for what you have done and letting the other feelings simply be a reminder of what still needs to be done is a perfect way of dealing with them. That's a good reminder for me how to maintain that positive, productive focus. Congrats on all the shoe work, packing up Halloween costumes the day after the holiday and on getting the plastic to cover windows!

Bitsy, in this area I'm only familiar with kudzu, honeysuckle and ivy. Love looking at them all but I don't have to deal with them. We used to have lots of wild honeysuckle on the fences but had to tear it out years ago. I miss the fragrance.

Dave, that sounds like a lot of work getting all the greenery under control. I'm not familiar with trumpet vines (they sound pretty), coffee trees and quince. I'll google them. You sound like my Dad. He was very much into gardening and building pretty, winding brick paths and little secluded nature areas to sit. He loved it so much he would do neighbors' yards too. I wish I had taken the time to learn more from him. Your home must be beautiful!

If you have Daylight Savings Time changes I hope everyone adjusts easily too them. Have a good Sunday!
Posted: 01 November 2014 - 09:38 PM
No experience with the first 3.

I have thought for several years that a stand of bamboo would be fun. One never knows when the odd panda will drop by. ( :) ) I read something in the last few days about bamboo-that in harvesting you are supposed to start in the center of the clump. That seems to pose a potential problem with encroachment. I may need to be rethinking the idea of bamboo.

I was just working amongst what I think is a large batch of ivy ground cover. It is definitely prolific - guess it depends some on whether that cover is useful. Then controlling the edges could become an ongoing issue. It is very pretty on the walls, but I have some in a different spot at this house which I am going to have to remove from the exterior building walls.

We have/had (I'm not sure which) a little clump of honeysuckle. It would show up in the spring and then die back in the summer. Not in an area I get water to easily. I think this past summer the heat and the quince did it in. Pretty flowers but the odor was a hay fever problem so it's not a big concern to us that it is gone.

Once started, the quince bushes seem to do well. I have let those go. I now want them not to extend more than around 4 feet from the fence, so I have pruned them short enough I can see the clumps in the ground. I am removing the clumps that are "too far out", and attempting to get good chunks of root too. I think I will have some control over them.

The trumpet vines are another story. (And coffee trees which I also have at my house.) I think I created an insoluable maintenance problem next to our house with the trumpet vine I planted there. we took out the main vine today, but I don't think I can get all the roots that are in the ground. Same with coffee trees. I don't think I will ever be able to get all the roots that have come into a corner of our yard from next door.

So in the "my life" subset of the universe, it's trumpet vine, coffee tree and quince. Some additional problems from ivy. (And then there is some kind of grass that grows everywhere and into everything-I have to pull that out of siding around the foundation.)
Posted: 01 November 2014 - 01:55 PM
Trumpet vine "evil sentient life form bent on world domination!"

In scariest order.
Chinese wisteria
.and some people say lily of the valley but I can't agree with that.
Posted: 01 November 2014 - 01:38 PM
little work on trumpet vines in my yard-then coffee tree etc shoots in family members yard
Posted: 01 November 2014 - 01:15 PM
Hi all,

Just a quick pop in here before I head over to Home Depot. I'm getting ready to put the plastic up on the windows for winter (probably should have done that last week but I didn't make it to the home depot.

Last night my 2 year old niece came trick or treating with her parents. When I turned around to get my camera to take her picture, she let herself in (she's been to my house before) and her parents followed along behind her. My sister in law has never been in my house and my brother hasn't been in it in years. I looked around after they left and realized that though it is relatively clean, it's not really clean, and I felt really uncomfortable and embarrassed.

So rather than beating myself up about it, I'm trying to take it as a reminder that even though I've made a lot of progress, I still have more to do. Today I sorted through my huge pile of shoes and got rid of a bunch of them that I had been hanging on to even though they had soles coming off, big holes, etc. I kept only the shoes I wear semi-regularly. I also packed up my Halloween costumes into a box to go into storage.

My boyfriend's car is in the shop so he's coming over later on when it's finally fixed, so I'm trying to use that time to pack some things up/sort through them/etc. Now going to get the plastic for the windows and a couple other things. Hope everyone had a nice Halloween!
Posted: 01 November 2014 - 12:30 PM
Dave, I think the spare bulbs kept ready are a good idea. Another admission of guilt here ~ I bought 8 of those teeny, tiny bulbs on Amazon ~ everything the guy had in stock. I'm not sold on LED yet, especially Christmas bulbs. They just don't seem to give off enough brightness. I am so resistant to change.

When I was looking for the bulbs in Lowe's I ended up buying 2 head flashlights. Seemed pretty cool. I think I'm backsliding a bit.
Posted: 01 November 2014 - 12:15 PM
nobody wants to be squished.

I save the clear plastic peanut butter jars and take the labels off. (This is extreme, but sometimes will use goo-gone to clean off the glue area and sometimes not.) I have one of those filled with an assortment of spare bulbs for flashlights. that has been very helpful-but I think now some of those may be excess. If I spend the money for the led bulbs, I think that reduces the frequency of replacement compared to the filament bulbs and I don't quite know how to judge what I need for spares now.

I just got a little head flashlight from harbor freight. It has a very small pin type bulb. Not sure if I can come up with an led upgrade for that.
Posted: 01 November 2014 - 11:45 AM
Diane, it's so good to see you back!! I've missed reading about your progress and projects! My great-grandmother had a little cottage with an outhouse and water pump. When we stayed with her in the summer she would set out a pot by the back door so we didn't have to make our way to the outhouse in the dark. I remember her telling someone once, "We'll always have a pot to piss in." :) Lots of great times at her place!

Max must be very appreciative of more breathing room in his camo jacket and his new toy. He must love staying with you! Bless little Molly. A rescue group could find you a very healthy dog. If he/she develops a problem later sometimes it helps to remember the way people kept dogs 50 years ago. They didn't spend crazy money on vet care, there were no specialists. Food was basic, no superstore selections and many times it was just table scraps.

More and more as my animals age I have to make the choice of letting a problem take its course. I do what I can, within reason, and remind myself that hospice caring can be very loving. There's no getting around the pain of losing a beloved companion. But the sweet memories and years of loving times are a worthwhile trade-off. Exactly what you said about friendships with humans.{{{hugs}}}

I'm so sorry about your friend and her husband. But very glad that they have become good friends to you. That friendship with you will be a real source of comfort for her!

Your normal friend's comment sounds right. You've made great strides in reaching out and building connections. And releasing guilt and understanding yourself is the deeper work. For people like us better late than never! :)
Posted: 01 November 2014 - 10:56 AM
Thanks DaveI do have those lantern flashlights and it's time for those bulbs to be changed out too. I'll see if Walmart has what I need. The kind I was looking for and finally found online are for AAA mini Maglite flashlights. I still hoard flashlights. One in each vehicle, one by each bed, doorway, where Laura and I sit to watch tv, one in my purse. And several more in a hall closet that (now) can be easily reached by feeling. We lose electricity a lot.

Speaking of still hoarding, I am compelled to gather all the tiny hemlock pinecones that are now falling in the driveway. :( They are so perfect, I hate to drive over them and squash them. It's like a bounty crop that shouldn't be wasted. I can always tell myself I can give them to a crafter but I really just need to leave them on the ground. (Even writing that ~ can't do it.) It's terrible for my back and Laura has refused to do it anymore. I don't pick up the ones right under the trees in the dirt. Just the poor babies in the driveway. I'm still projecting my feelings onto other things. I move worms too. Nobody wants to be squished right?
Posted: 31 October 2014 - 02:03 PM
Hoarding Bathrooms? (!! :) )

I've been hoarding trumpet vines. Have discovered that is probably a mistake. Found a forum post about them describing as evil sentient life form bent on world domination! I have (attempted) trumpet vine control in my future.
Posted: 31 October 2014 - 01:04 PM
Hello all, great seeing your posts Dave Dianne, bitsy, love to hear what you are up to and all the good you are blessed with.
Dianne like your grandma story. Reminded me of the out house we had when I was a kid, and when we moved in town when I was in second grade, and had first indoor toilet. 5 kids, 2 parents, 1 bathroom. Now I live alone and have 2 bathrooms, talk about grateful!!!
Max is here for the weekend, my flu shot boss's dog I dog sit for, so happy to have him here. It has been a year since my dog died, and I am finally ready to start looking for my next best friend. Dog sitting has helped fill the gap, and helped me financially. Still fearful of having a dog with a medical problem, so resistant to getting a dog for that reason. Molly had Kidney disease.
Today is a rainy cold day, so happy I have started a fire in wood stove and it is warming up and that Max is here.
Dishes are making my kitchen look like a hoarder, plan to tackle them soon since max is napping. Wanted to connect with you, without group I go back to old clutter behaviors. I cleaned all floors before I picked up max yesterday after my last clinic. One more clinic in November, but feel relief not working next 2 weeks, plan to get lots caught up here with support from group.
This morning let out seams on Max's camo jacket that was too tight, made him a new toy, looked at what I am grateful for.
My favorite nurse to work with is in Seattle with her husband in the hospital. They went to seattle for funeral, he fell, to ER, then to surgery for his neck, then back to surgery for excess bleeding, one arm still paralyzed, I have lost sleep over this, worried sick. They have been happily married 48 years, golden life, then this. Can not manage his pain, neither is sleeping, makes my "problems" seem so insignificant. Grateful I dropped a few walls and became their friend past several years, and much more since being on this site. Reminds me that the joy of friendship is greater than the pain of sorrow being in friendships.
A normal friend called yesterday and said she heard hoarders find it safer to be surrounded by stuff than people, mostly because no warm human connections as a child. Was true in my case growing up in country with no neighbors and a crazy mom. So greatful I have the friends I do have and letting go of guilt of not connecting more, understanding I have come a long way from no connections at all, to friends I love and trust. Thanks for all you post on your thoughts about your situations and progress, helps me learn more about life
Posted: 31 October 2014 - 11:48 AM
Walmart has regular type flashlight bulbs in several varieties.

2aa, c cell, d cell and lantern. Some of them are also available in led.

If you use any of the hand lanterns that take the 6v square battery around the "homestead", the led bulb for it is very nice. (you have to look at package labels a little bit, I think that one is labelled for 4 d cells.)

I've not gotten into mini bulbs so I don't know about them.
Posted: 31 October 2014 - 05:48 AM
Bitsy, I watched part of this and will finish it today. It really hits home. Thanks for posting it. I hope you're feeling better.
Posted: 30 October 2014 - 03:01 PM
if you have time try to watch some of this you tube video

We're Not Getting Any Younger: Clutter and Aging

Gayle Goddard

Published on Jun 27, 2014
As we age, our clutter problems get more complicated by the needs of elderly parents or loved ones, our desire to share mementos and family history, and our own physical limitations. At our June meetup, we'll explore clutter-related issues that arise with aging. We'll suggest strategies that you and your family can adopt to ease the burden of future clutter. Gayle Goddard, professional organizer and owner of The Clutter Fairy in Houston, Texas, facilitates the Houston Clutter Coaching Meetup Group.
Posted: 30 October 2014 - 09:19 AM
Bitsy, I'm so sorry you've been sick. Dave has good advice about the electricity. I hope that works for you. I didn't realize you spent last winter in a car. Again Dave is right; a small area where you could stretch out with some warming materials under and on top of you would help.

Visiting relatives are definitely stressful. WTG for your efforts in getting things done ~ finding warm clothes and doc's phone #, check bank balance, sending birthday card! In spite of illness and stress you are still moving forward! :)

Dave, I love that you are posting again, you always have great advice, good humor and your caring focus on others is so uplifting!

Tat, what a good idea to take the *gift with purchase* immediately in for co-workers. I bet they really enjoy those treats! You're so right, sweet is the exact word that comes to mind when I see the innocence and simplicity of my very special daughter and her fur babies. :)

I too miss Diane, Tillie, Roxie, LR, Barb, Karl and other friends. I hope we'll hear from them soon.
Posted: 29 October 2014 - 07:48 PM
Everyone, I am so touched by the loving posts here. What a nice group of people. Bitsy, I am sorry you are not feeling well and the anxiety with the impending visit from your relative must be making things very difficult. I encourage you and support you and hope that there is a way to get you inside, even if it's just a little space.

Dave, you are just do thoughtful and gentle. How nice to read your posts. Dianne, I love the stories about reading to the animals. That must be a very sweet part of your life, watching your daughter take such care to keep the pets occupied!

Mel, you are amazing! I too through out old bras, face creams, make up removers, etc. and now, when I buy new bras, it's out with the old! If there's anything in the "gift with purchase" that I won't use, I immediately take the makeup samples to work and let my co-workers see which makeup sample they'd like. I learned a lot while cleaning my place, including that free stuff takes up as much room as stuff I paid for, so I do my best not to let it in the house in the first place!

Everyone, I so enjoyed catching up on your posts. I hope Diane and Tillie and Roxie and LR and everyone else know how much I miss them.
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