Goal Progress – Living With a Hoarder

People collect things. All kinds of people collect all kinds of things. I have had various collections in my life. But, what do you do when you live with someone who won’t let anything go, papers, boxes, containers, scraps of cloth, anything. That’s what it’s like living with my husband. Honestly, the sad but true joke around our house is any time you empty anything, you look at the container and say “I could use that for something”. Coffee containers, boxes, bags, shoes, shoe laces, bricks, stones, wood. Now, he is an artist. He has been an artist his whole life. He has a life time of artwork built up. And it’s not just drawings. He writes plays, short stories, he has a novel he has worked years and years on. And it has built up. And up. And up. He has an old, old, old, really old word processor. It’s broken. But it has several of his plays on it. But it doesn’t work. And it’s huge and heavy. It’s in my closet because he is convinced he is going to find some computer guru who can magically fix it so he can print off those plays. Sigh. He also has clothes that he has had for years and years. For years before he knew me. Which, fine, if they are not in bad shape, keep them. But, he keeps getting new clothes too. So, yeah, piles of clothes. Whew, I would post pictures, but no, not going to. In the beginning, when we moved into our first apartment down south, I said – we are not doing this. We are not going to allow ourselves to be buried alive under our stuff. If it doesn’t have a place, it goes. Which started out mildly successful. In fact, as an anniversary gift, my parents bought my husband a desk. It was suppose to be a gift for both of us. It’s a big desk, with bookshelves everything. Because, yeah, we have a lot of books. It was suppose to be a place for him to work, so he wouldn’t take up the entire dining room table to work. But, you guessed it, it is now buried under a ton of stuff, and he takes up the dining room table. And when that is too full, he has a little portable table that he sets up in front of the couch, which then gets full and doesn’t get taken down. Sigh.

Now, I am not a neat freak. I am not even a happy cleaner. But, I like things organized. I like things to have a home. And I like to keep things in their home. I have made several attempts to organize and get rid of things. But, I have met strong resistance. So I did what anyone would do, I gave up. Well, okay, maybe not everyone would give up. But, I did. I gave in to the clutter, the mess, the chaos. I hated it, but I gave into it. I thought, this is it, this is the way it will always be. But, what have I been saying – 2012, A New Year, A New Me. I don’t generally allow people to come over to the apartment. I am embarrassed at how it looks. But my best friend has been giving me suggestions and my daughter finally came over and saw the apartment. Their attitude – we can do this. Put your foot down. Start somewhere and start getting rid of things. So, where do I start. Clothes. We need to get rid of clothes. They are everywhere. So, yesterday, after I got off of work, and got our son off to school, I grabbed some trash bags. I started in one spot. I started gathering clothes and going through them. My pile, my son’s pile, my husband’s pile. I went through my son’s clothes, got rid of many of them. I went through my pile. Okay, still need to weed more out. Then, I called my husband in and began battle. You don’t wear this. But it’s warm. But you don’t wear it. But I like it. BUT YOU DON’T WEAR IT!! Into the bag it goes. You would have thought I was asking him to slice is own fingers and toes off to get rid of old t-shirts. Sigh, after about three hours, I have 7 bags of clothing to go out to the thrift store. And more to come.

Another goal – to reclaim my dining room table. When my husband comes home from work, he starts shedding. Now, you have to realize, most people think my husband is homeless. Especially in winter. He wears about 5 layers of clothing. Then he carries a military style backpack crammed full of stuff. Then he carries a couple of shopping bags full of stuff. That is everywhere he goes. To work, to the store, he is like a turtle carrying his stuff with him. So, when he comes home from work, the bags get tossed down, the backpack gets put somewhere, the layers of clothes come off in the middle of the floor, he shoes end up somewhere strange, like the kitchen. But the pockets. The endless, bottomless pockets. He always wears khaki pants, with pockets everywhere. So, once he gets down to the bottom layer he starts emptying his pockets onto the dining room table. Let’s see, there his cell phone, his wallet, whole bags of mints, his Chinese exercise balls, loose change, Jimmy Hoffa, stones, random bits of paper, wrappers, a stray cat, some cool thing he found in the parking lot, a couple of knives, his journals, his pens, his ex-girlfriend’s best friends right shoe. All onto my table. So, what to do with this mess. Well, I got a box. A decent sized box. And I put everything into it. But, now the box is full. The next day, there’s more stuff. But no box. The box is full. So, I said, empty this box or I’m throwing it all away. Didn’t even flinch. Still sitting there full. So, what do I do now? Put my foot down. A New Year, A New Me. It is now going to be labeled the 24 hour box. I will put your stuff in it. It will wait 24 hours, if it is not emptied, it will be dumped into the dumpster. You think I’m joking… try me. I AM DONE! I want a clean, uncluttered area that I am proud to call my home. Not a war zone where I am fighting our belongings for space. Onward and Upwards. Tally HO!!!!

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