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Hoarding, disorganized, OCD--HELP! (10)

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Initial post: Dec 30, 2012 12:40:48 PM PST
Do you hoard stuff? Are you messy and disorganized? Are you obsessive/compulsive? Well, I am and my name is legion.

I contributed to the GBF site, below: "what do you have too many of, but you still buy more?" and realized a huge source of depression and sadness in my life is having too much stuff and living in a chaotic mess rather than a clean, tidy haven. I hoard crafting supplies, books, newspapers, my son's paraphernalia, papers of all sorts, Christmas and other decorations...and much more. I am disorganized to the point of distraction. My DH, son and I are so unhappy as a direct result.

Please share your stories of problems with and solutions to this chronic epidemic we have in America with acquisition of more stuff than we know what to do with.



Posted on Dec 30, 2012 12:41:22 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 26, 2013 12:02:27 AM PDT
Our slogan is:


"Pen" wrote on March 16:
"Congratulations on your accomplishments! You give hope to many people, and you'll never know just how much impact your words have made to struggling folks who are in those very same shoes that you had the courage to part with.
:) "

It's very humbling to me to know that this thread helps untold people just in reading, let alone getting their house under control.

If you're seeing this thread for the first time, let me explain. The above message was posted on March 8, 2009 as a cry for help because my home was overrun with clutter. I wondered if other people on Amazon threads could give me ideas what to do. Well, 90,000 posts later from hundreds of people, I am now living the dream. See the end of this post.

This thread is a magnet for people from all walks of life, many with health problems and most who suffer daily with clutter. This quickly became more than just an information site but also a support group. Even if you can't do a darn thing in your house, come and talk about it. Depression, exhaustion and ill health are pretty common blocks. If you're extremely organized, we'd love to hear how you pull that off. If or any organization systems or books have helped you, let us know how.

Don't feel required to post or to stay long. Look at the stats: we average over 100 posts per day and it's really hard to read everything. Many, many people read daily but will never post. God bless 'em. In the last 3 years, I've met almost all my goals:


Before I started this thread, my house was filled with stuff in boxes, bags and piles. On every bed, table, chair, on all floors and piled up on the walls. All the closets, the basement and several rooms were a jam-packed jumble of junk. I had to move piles from the chairs onto the piles on the floor to sit down. We couldn't eat at the table because it was piled high. I have a huge stash of needlework stuff but my craft room was a joke: couldn't even walk in the door for the piles. I wouldn't answer the door to knocks and would not allow friends or family in. I was in the cycle of mess and depression: the worse I felt, the more stuff I brought in. The more stuff I brought in, the worse I felt. Just the flood of paperwork, including junk mail, was overwhelming. My husband was always angry at me and I couldn't bear the hurt in my little boy's eyes. I went to bed in sorrow every night and often slept all day because I just couldn't handle it all. I was a mess. I didn't know where to begin. I was overwhelmed and paralyzed.

I started by myself by clearing out my clothes closet and giving away stuff I never wear. If it had tags on...well...that'll teach me not to buy "iffy" or ill-fitting stuff. After 2 years' efforts, I emptied 120 hangers, got my laundry baskets down to 2 and do the laundry when they're full. The floor is clear. My shoes all fit against the wall and we keep our nested suitcases and wrapping paper under my husband's half of the closet. I can see every stitch of clothing.

I stopped being a shopaholic.

People can drop by unexpectedly. The living room and dining room are (almost) always clear. The DR table has a clean cloth, placemats and napkins; we don't pile anything on it. I can throw a quick dinner party with 15 minutes' notice. Or, we can entertain 10 guests with just an afternoon's "deep" cleaning--dusting, vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms.

My sister-in-law always said: "if you want your house clean, invite people over." I threw my husband a surprise birthday party in March 2012 and cleared out the entire downstairs and upstairs.

In June 2012, I invited 3 friends I met on this thread to stay overnight. The following night, my brother and his new bride stayed over so I could drive them to the airport for their honeymoon.

In January 2013, I had 6 friends come over for an afternoon stitch-in. I had moved all the furniture around to accommodate a 90yo w/ a walker and show off my pared down china cabinets. It was great fun.

I wash the dishes by hand every morning and make my bed. We go through the mail daily by recycling the junk mail and weekly sorting through the bills and stuff. I've emptied approximately 60 large plastic storage bins and banker's boxes full of papers and stuff. We routinely donate and recycle and try to produce as little waste as possible.

Instead of searching for a reason to keep everything, I only keep what I love. My goal is to pare down every category of stuff in my home to between 10-50%. I found if I give away even stuff I love, I love what's left even more.

I ultimately realized how much my happiness was tied up in the state of my house. Clutter makes me miserable. Clearing out stuff is anxiety-provoking, scary and just darn hard work. The more overwhelming it is, the more essential it is. Instead of letting it paralyze me, I finally threw caution to the wind.

Now, I'm living the dream. I can walk from one end of the house to the other in pitch darkness without falling and killing myself. In all the main rooms and areas, I can stand in the middle of the room, close my eyes, raise my arms and spin. I just smile and smile. My husband and son are happy.

I started this thread and the rest is history.

If I can do this, you can too.

Posted on Dec 30, 2012 12:41:59 PM PST
Millions of people suffer from clutter and feel ashamed, isolated and depressed. If you are paralyzed with depression, you must see a doctor. I began to see a psychiatrist and counselor over 10 years ago and they greatly helped me with my anxiety, depression and insomnia. I started to deal with my issues head-on and learned where my procrastination and being overwhelmed came from. Between medication and therapy, I got much better and was able to start digging my way out. Instead of shutting off the world, I embraced help so I could learn how to organize which, like you maybe, doesn't come naturally.

Please get help. There is nothing to be ashamed of. You deserve to live in a nice home. You deserve to be happy.

If you feel paralyzed or close to the brink, consider:

1. Just picking up some of the clothes on the floor and flinging them into the wash, a hamper or piled on the side of the bedroom empties some space.
2. Just emptying one full or overflowing waste basket lightens that up.
3. Just putting some dishes away or washing some glasses clears the kitchen a little.
4. Just moving some piles off the chair--even piling the piles on the nearby floor--and giving one room to sit is pleasant.
5. Just throwing out 3 things from the over-flowing fridge makes it a little more pleasant to open.
6. Just throwing away 1 thing that stinks and getting it out of the house is an improvement: kitty litter, bad food, whatever.
7. Just throwing away 3 unmatched or never-worn or hole-y socks makes a tiny space and is empowering.
8. Just removing 3 sweaters or 5 t-shirts or 1 item with tags on or 4 items way too small or large or ANYTHING that hasn't been worn in years loosens up a tiny space in the closet.
9. Just clearing off the bed or clearing the floor near the bed feels good.
10. Just recycling a small pile of junk mail received in the last couple days reduces some pile somewhere.

11. Just getting out of bed is all we can manage sometimes. This can be the biggest step.

Posted on Dec 30, 2012 12:42:11 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Apr 15, 2013 8:54:07 AM PDT
keepthebestsendofftherest . . . MOTTO WALL OF FAME Edited on APRIL 15, 2013 . . . keepthebestsendofftherest

MB has a great point: "Paring down and tossing out and donating has been a wonderful blessing as I cling to the idea that one day soon I'll be able to honor the keepers, the best of the best, and release and sent off to others the rest."

Janjan says: "My new motto - spend the few minutes to put away something that you've just taken out, and save many minutes looking for it when you want it next!"

Copper offers the classic: "don't put anything on the floor that doesn't have legs...except for waste baskets."

ezduzit suggested the following:
"Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog ... enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink, for thirst is a dangerous thing."
- Jerome Klapka Jerome

Building up to Easter and Passover: clearspace found the following:
<<< "Practice self-love. For the next month, commit to putting yourself first. Be kind, understanding, and forgiving. If you are tired, rest. If you're sad, ask someone who loves you for support. If you make a mistake, comfort yourself and let it go. When your inner critic tells you that you've got it all wrong, thank it for sharing and move on. Behave in ways that demonstrate your self-love. The grace of feminine power ascends through a love-filled heart. You deserve this." >>>

Lower your standards...give yourself a break...start out slow...cut yourself some what you can when you can...don't be so down on have a lot going for deserve to live in a nice deserve to be happy

Saturnberry says: "when I need to clean the house, the questions: "where does this go?" and "does it have a place?" are the key things that help me organize. My Ma also gave me a trick once, she said: 'Just clean for 15 minutes. Doesn't matter what you do, just time it for 15 minutes, then stop.' - This *one*, small piece of advice has enabled me to clean entire rooms I thought were disastrous."

Sarah asks: "Do you ever feel like you've developed Clutter Vision? Sometimes I feel like I don't see the messy stuff like other people do."

sah2 says: "Sometimes it is just easier to pay someone to toss stuff out. The other person will question the value of stuff and the dust on it. That person didn't question sentimentality, just my sanity."

Michael says:
As Joyce Meyers says, "put it away, give it away, or throw it away."

Imacaregal had a conversation with her daughter about her grandchildren:
"How could you throw away your precious kids' school projects?"
Answer: "Well, you can't keep everything."
It really is that simple.

"Goals are dreams with deadlines."

This is a special note:
Please see the top post on page 119 of this thread, dated January 25. OYESICN2 has made a marvelous announcement: she's going to have her whole home clear and clutter-free by the end of May.


and she's putting herself on the fast-track. In her long, delightful and delicious post, she says:

"Before I found this COMFORTABLE, NON-JUDGMENTAL, MAGIC, MARVELOUS, WELCOMING THREAD....I was overwhelmed, depressed, helpless, hopeless, wondering who/how/when I would be able to even start peeling myself off the couch & out of bed to begin the MONUMENTAL task. It felt bigger than the Rocky Mountains & more scary than jumping out of a plane!!!

But something shifted inside of me....a transition happened. I regained my spirit; my motivation; my drive; my spark which I hadn't felt for quite awhile. The ME woke UP. I didn't feel so alone in my quest knowing that there was a cheering section to pull me up & LIGHT MY FIRE!!! It is lit & I will feed the fire til I'm DONE....& help to light & keep burning others' fires."

The rest of the post is just as inspiring with specifics on what's she's doing over the next 22 weeks. She started with her bedroom which she has turned from miserable to a place of peace and serenity she's happy to wake up in each morning. Maybe if you read about her journey, it will inspire you as well.

Lisa says simply: "when in doubt, throw it out."

Once you start on a job, you're halfway done. (For procrastinators and perfectionists.)

The more I get rid of, the more I enjoy what's left.

It's not a matter of keeping everything you get and organizing it the best; rather, it's keeping in your home only what you use and actually enjoy. Less is more. Less stuff means less to move around, to clean, to keep track of. You can enjoy open space much more than you can tolerate cluttered chaos.

"You can't organize clutter." From Goge

Don't hang on to anything for the sole reason it might come in handy one day. Even if they did, you can't find them. And keeping 10,000 potentially handy things is...well...clutter.

If there's going to be a landfill, let it not be in my home.

Posted on Dec 30, 2012 12:42:38 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Apr 12, 2013 1:08:16 PM PDT
ALERT: For you newbies: some people who see this conversation don't know how to post or how to find it again. Here's how to find it again:

You are on Amazon's Gold Box Forum (GBF). The main Forums are: the GBF, Community Forums, Product Forums, Kindle, Gift Ideas, etc. See the bottom of this page. Most product pages have discussion titles listed at the bottom of the page. On every Forum, there are many, many discussions. The GBF is termed the "water cooler" forum that is for talking about "everything under the sun." This discussion is one of the longest running ones on the GBF, started on March 8, 2009.

Here's how to post:

1) On any individual post, click on the blue underlined words on the bottom left "Reply to this post." A text box will pop up and you just type in it and click on "post reply." OR
2) Scroll down to the bottom of this page and see the text box: "Add your own message to the discussion." Type in it, click on "post."

Here's how to find your post again and to see responses:

1) Go to the upper right blue bar on this page and where it says on the right "Sort: Oldest first | Newest first" click on "Newest first."
2) To receive emails of posts, you can "track this discussion" by clicking on the orange button toward the top right of this page. But people can get inundated in their email.
3) Instead of tracking this discussion, you should see in the large box to the right on this page under the stats in "This discussion" a box showing "Your Recently Viewed Discussions." Under Gold Box Forum, it will show you how many posts there have been since you posted and if you click on this title, you'll come right here. OR
4) Under the "Recently Viewed Discussions" see the box that says "Search Customer Discussions." Type in "Hoarding, disorganized (10)" and you will come to this thread. (I started this thread in March of 2009. When there are 10,000 posts on a thread, Amazon "retires" it and there's no further posting. This is the 10th generation. See below for links to all the previous threads.)

Please don't feel the need to read any of this thread before you post. Just jump in.

These are common acronyms you'll find on the threads:

in our title: OCD = Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
BPD...Bipolar Disorder or, more often, Borderline Personality Disorder

OP: either Original Post on a thread or the Original Poster, sometimes used interchangeably
GBF: (don't look're on it)...Gold Box Forum

ADHD...Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
ADD (usually termed "adult")...Attention Deficit Disorder

DH...dear husband
DW...dear wife
DS...dear son
DD...dear daughter
DM...dear mother
DF...dear father
DGD...dear granddaughter
DGS...dear grandson
SIL tricky...can be son-in-law or sister-in-law friends forever
SO...significant other

OTOH...on the other hand
OMG...oh my God my opinion my humble opinion
JMO...just my opinion
LOL...laugh out loud (lolol would be laugh out loud out loud but some people like it for emphasis)
YMMV...your mileage may vary
jk...just kidding

Here's how to give a virtual hug:
{{{{{ ____ }}}}}
(insert name)

BOTU...Box Of The Unknown (who doesn't have a bunch?)

IEP...Individual Educational Plan (some of our kids have them for school)

Posted on Dec 30, 2012 4:21:59 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 30, 2012 4:23:28 PM PST
Christine says:
THE LINK to thread #1: Hoarding, disorganized, OCD--HELP!

THE LINK to Thread #2: Hoarding, disorganized, OCD--HELP! (2)

THE LINK to Thread #3: Hoarding, disorganized, OCD--HELP! (3)

THE LINK to Thread #4: Hoarding, disorganized, OCD--HELP! (4)

THE LINK to Thread #5: Hoarding, disorganized, OCD--HELP! (5)

THE LINK to Thread #6: Hoarding, disorganized, OCD--HELP! (6)

THE LINK to Thread #7: Hoarding, disorganized, OCD--HELP! (7)

THE LINK to Thread #8:

THE LINK to Thread #9:

THE LINK to Thread #10:

Posted on Dec 30, 2012 5:34:07 PM PST
Hello and Happy Uncluttering New Year to our Posters, New and Not So New... Juli

Posted on Dec 30, 2012 6:05:19 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 10, 2013 11:50:45 AM PST
Montana says:
Happy New Year from me, too. I'll put in my one contribution, the master todo list.

Everyone has their own ideas of what helps them, but I will share the todo list style that I couldn't do without.

The basic idea is to make different sections: CALLS, COMPUTER, HOUSEHOLD, ERRANDS, PROJECTS, AWAIT

Under CALLS, put the name of each person that you need to call, as well as their phone no. and, if you will forget, the reason. Also put any information that you will need for the phone call, e.g. if you are calling your health insurance co, include your id #.

Under COMPUTER, put any project that you need to do on the computer. It could be anything from writing an email to a friend, to getting permission to return something, to ordering something, goggling something.

Under HOUSEHOLD, I put things like doing the laundry or any household task.

Under ERRANDS, include not only what you need to do, but whatever you need to take with you in the car to get said errand done. I make separate ERRAND lists for different cities. (And, by the way, I often put items in the car that I am later going to need to do a particular errand. This prevents my forgetting and leaving without them, or not being able to find them when it is time to do the errands.)

Under AWAIT, I put anything where I have done my part, and am now awaiting for the other person to do their part. For example, if I left a message asking for an appt, and I am awaiting a call telling me when it is. This prevents something from dropping off my radar screen if someone else drops the ball.

The PROJECTS section is to keep one focused on a major project that will take a long time and will include many smaller details. I put things on here so that I don't forget major goals of mine in the minutiae of daily living.

Posted on Dec 30, 2012 6:09:45 PM PST
OnTheRoad says:
The two prime directives:

1. Stop the inflow! Don't buy (or pick out of the neighbor's garbage - you know you've done it) anything that you don't absolutely need to survive!

2. Set the timer for 5 minutes and discard; everyone, even from a bed or wheelchair can find 5 minutes of things to get rid of or put away.

Posted on Dec 30, 2012 6:10:09 PM PST
OnTheRoad says:
Here are some other useful links: (to be added)

Books that you might want to Read:

Triggered: A Memoir of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (avail as Kindle) This is more of a memoir than a self-help book, but that might be good!

Posted on Dec 30, 2012 7:52:05 PM PST
susan says:
So I found this discussion on Christmas night, been reading lots and really enjoy the posts. Other people's helpful hints are awesome. And yes Jane, all that you described is pretty much me. I really feel like I'm ready to change, myself and this house.

Posted on Dec 30, 2012 7:56:55 PM PST
Annie M. says:
Congratulations on the 10th edition of your thread, Jane ! What a way to start the New Year!

Posted on Dec 30, 2012 8:24:58 PM PST
janjan says:
Hi Jane,
J just added a rather lenghtly post - and I think it went into never-never land. It's not in thread 9 or the new thread 10. Jane, any ideas on where it could be or how I could retrieve it?

Posted on Dec 30, 2012 8:43:22 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 30, 2012 9:27:14 PM PST
To all new people reading this thread. The original goal was to help people that have clutter problems or hoarding or disorganization. What it has turned into has become a thread of many different friendships and people discussing personal situations and illnesses which all turn out to be related to the original topic. Don't let the "off-topic" discussions discourage you from joining in and throwing in your 2-cents. If you have a question that you need answered, toss it our way. If you want to participate in any discussion, join in, no one will chase you away. I will always try to bring things back to clutter and organization since that is mainly what attracted me here in the first place. But feel free to say what is on your mind. Welcome all old timers and join in all your lurkers and newbies.

And for those of you who find this site and then are afraid you're not gonna find it to come back to, just add it to your BOOKMARKS or FAVORITES and this way you can just click and find it 1-2-3.

And something new. What some of you might need is a good Shock Value Test. Watch any episode of A & E's HOARDERS or on Discover HOARDING: BURIED ALIVE. It might be the push you need to really get motivated. You will see you are not alone. On here, you are just getting words, watching it on TV is the visual some of you might need to choose your family over your stuff.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 30, 2012 9:04:04 PM PST
Annie M. says:
Happy New Year, Scott (aka Kenny)

It is always a pleasure to see your posts! Best wishes to you!

Posted on Dec 30, 2012 9:22:13 PM PST
Arizona says:
Clutter clutter everywhere. That was the best way to describe my home before I discovered this thread. I started reading this conversation February 2012 when (8) was just a page long and I was hooked. Of course I had to go back to the beginning and read from the beginning way back in March of 2009 and read every post on the previous seven (7) threads. If you are thinking of doing this please take my advise and only read the original thread (1) and thread (2). Most of the questions you have about how to start, stay motivated, what to do with your stuff and so much more are answered on these threads.

Join us today, tell us about yourself and why you clicked on this thread. Ask your questions and you will receive answers, usually from more than one person. We are very supportive and very understanding since we are all on this journey together.

Clutter clutter disappearing. This is how I describe my home today thanks to this thread and all the wonderful people who contribute to it. I'm hoping that by the end of 2013 I wil be able to say: Clutter? What clutter.

Posted on Dec 30, 2012 9:25:02 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 30, 2012 9:28:05 PM PST
Thanks Annie M and same back at ya.

Happy Birthday Carol.

Posted on Dec 30, 2012 9:25:19 PM PST
OnTheRoad says:
Welcome to all, and the best of years in 2013! Thank you, Jane for starting this Thread!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 30, 2012 9:55:16 PM PST
Happy Birthday Carol!

Scott; I hope your mom is well - I am missing mine something terrible.

New Years Eve Day - maybe a small, quiet celebration is in order, one never knows. At least the living room needs only to be vacuumed.. major progress there.. Juli

Posted on Dec 30, 2012 10:14:06 PM PST
OnTheRoad says:
Well, DH congratulated me on the full recycling can!

But, now I can't sleep. I couldn't last night, so I thought I was sure to be tired tonight. I am tired, but not sleepy. Boy cat is snoring softly beside me.

Posted on Dec 31, 2012 1:17:52 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 1, 2013 2:49:01 AM PST
Thanks, Guys!

How 'bout we have a group slogan:


Posters can give their goals for the New Year and can give updates and setbacks as the year rolls on.

For myself, this has been an amazing year when I finally met several posters in person and had them stay overnight at my house. A feat that was unthinkable just a few years ago. Had anyone suggested that when I started the first thread, I would've headed for the hills. The friendships and kinship on this thread are unbelievable considering this is an internet site designed for shopping. My thanks to Amazon for letting us converge here. My heartfelt gratitude and love to everyone who posts.


Posted on Dec 31, 2012 1:33:12 AM PST
Montana says:
Hi Jane,
I see you have insomnia again tonight. It's nice to hear from you. Your thread has been a fantastic success,

I am in my old house, having succumbed to homesickness. I am wearing a facemask designed to filter out mold, which allows me to do so. Still, I am supposed to be trying another night in the house in the nearby town. I can't believe it's 3:30 AM. I had better get going. I wonder how I am going to sleep on the floor without a sleeping pill and if i take one, I think I will sleep too late for my 11 am appt.

Posted on Dec 31, 2012 1:33:39 AM PST
Cody says:
Happy Birthday, Carol!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 31, 2012 2:46:05 AM PST
clearspace says:
Thank you Scott! Greetings and best wishes in the New Year!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 31, 2012 2:48:02 AM PST
clearspace says:
Thanks Lady of Lakes and Cody for the birthday greetings!
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Discussion in:  Gold Box forum
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Initial post:  Dec 30, 2012
Latest post:  Apr 16, 2013

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