Stuff and Junk

When we moved into this house almost nine years ago it was virtually empty – now it’s bursting at the seams! How and why do we acquire so many things?

Some part of the problem is an inability to get rid of things no longer needed…when you don’t have much money, this can be a very frugal way to avoid having to re-purchase things needed at a later date, but there is a point at which that inability becomes unhealthy, and I believe we have reached it.

It took some major fighting, screaming and tears…but I finally got my husband (who I think has hoarding issues) to start letting me get rid of stuff we haven’t used in a long time. I’ve spent the last three months re-arranging the house, throwing things away, selling stuff on eBay, and donating stuff to the needy who can actually get some use out of it. And, when I came home from the hospital, I was shocked/amazed/thrilled to see that hubby had been listing some of his “collectibles” (toys) on eBay as well! He even took a trip to the scrap metal recycling center yesterday and got rid of some golf clubs he’s had for nearly ten years but never used.

We’ve still got some major work to do (like getting rid of a piano I got free that needs too much work – what I was thinking I’ll never know!), but at least we’ve made a start. It will also help that we aren’t going to be having any more kids, so once Kyle outgrows things I can ditch them as long as they don’t have sentimental value.

By the way…does anyone need a birdcage?

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Stuff Everywhere

As I began cleaning out what was originally an office, became a dumping ground, and will soon be our new baby’s room, I made a fairly startling discovery.

Apparently, my husband has been stashing all the old, worn-out toys that I’ve asked him to throw away in the past four years in the closet in our office.

I know he has a thing against giving away stuff that works, and that he likes to collect things, but this is a true symptom of OCHD (Obsessive Compulsive Hoarding Disorder). After doing some research, I found that there are several different stages of OCHD, and I think there may still be hope for my husband – if we’re lucky.

Now, don’t get me wrong, our entire house isn’t a wreck, but we’re well on our way to getting there – broken electronics are all over my dining room, toys purchased with the hope that they may be worth money get priority over tools we use to take care of the house, I can’t store some of my grandmother’s antique furniture because all of our crawl space and cellar are taken up by bins with toys in them – that will most likely never be worth anything. It’s getting to the point where I need it to change – now…because I can’t stand being ashamed of having people come over the house anymore, because Connor is getting old enough to where he’ll start to be resentful of the “stuff” his father insists on keeping and bringing home, and where the fact that things take precedent over his family’s feelings is causing major resentments.

My biggest fear is that as Connor grows older, he’ll either resent his father for the junk or me for letting it go unchecked, or that he’ll develop the same problems. Now, with a new baby on the way – it’s got to be taken care of now – before it’s too late.

Now, the hoarding itself is a problem, but fixing it is an even bigger one. My husband is so entrenched in his hoarding that the mere discussion of getting rid of stuff gives him a headache, and makes him angry. We have a pool table that’s in pieces because we don’t have room for it, vinyl flooring printed to look like wood, Budweiser wall paper and lamps and a clock from the 70s that are all broken…and just the mere mentioning of getting rid of it puts him into a rage.

Guess I’m just going to have to have a long talk with him in the near future and see what happens…

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