Sunday, June 10, 2012

Clutter Bug

by Leann

As I have been talking about for a long time, we are moving--headed to South Carolina to build a house on a beautiful lake. But there remains the challenge of clearing out more than twenty years worth of  well ... junk. The main culprit is my husband, who, without a doubt, would be a hoarder if not married to me.

We met with a Realtor this week and she pointed out that we have a lot of clutter. (NO KIDDING!) Clutter, she said, often translates to a "dirty house" in a buyer's mind. I believe her--even though we do not have a dirty house. But clutter. Oh, we have it. Lots of it. Mostly because parting with even one screw or nail is painful to Mr. S.

I learned this early on in our relationship, and when my requests for him to throw useless things away fell on deaf ears, I developed a method we could both live with. Every few months, I got a box and swept the papers, tools, junk mail, receipts, pens, notebooks ... okay ALL OF IT,  into that box. I then carried it to his side of the closet and left it there. I wasn't about to debate the foolishness of it all with someone who would argue with a brick wall. Needless to say, the boxes piled up over the years.

After the Realtor pointed out the clutter, the light bulb finally went off. I honestly believe, the man didn't really see it. It was part of the wall or the floor to him. This weekend, box after box of collected EVERYTHING came out of the closet. I can say without exaggeration that it filled our living room. Do we really need a Cabela's catalog from 1995? I think not. Although the prices do look awfully good, they aren't selling anything for $3.99 anymore.

I have been a very good girl, never saying I told you so, never pointed out that this time sink he has now found himself in could have been avoided. My guess is, after spending all this time in the equally junked-up garage in 90 degree heat and now this, the clutter bug might change his ways in the next house. I will so happy.

How about you? Any clutter bugs in your family circle?

16 comments:

Book Dragon said...

I have a cousin who's house caught fire. The structure didn't burn because the fire was working on the stuff inside.

as for me? I watch hoarders and see the future, sort of. I sometimes think I should move in order to force me to clear out.

Aurian said...

Lol, I guess I am a clutterbug myself. I move stuff from downstairs to upstairs, then to the attic. And if I haven't used it / needed it for over a year, than it gets thrown out. Except for books, I cannot make myself get rid of books, for sale or give away.

Books by Heather said...

We recently redecorated son #2's bedroom. For 18 years he's been a bit of a clutterbug but now...he doesn't want that stuff back in his nice clean room. UGH! So now the rest of this house is cluttered with his clutter while I figure out what to do with it.

I'm with you--get rid of stuff. However, Mr. W is a lot like Mr. S, though he is getting better...

Anonymous said...

I know how you feel! I wish I had huge storage buildings to put it all in so I could take piece by piece and either sell, donate, amazon or ebay it until the house was an amazing, spectacular showplace and my storage was empty. Oh wait, I do have storage and the garage is full to the ceiling. Yet, when I look through, I see dollars that I need as a single mom, no matter how long it takes to eke that dollar out of the item......

Dru said...

I'm a declutter...if I don't need it, I get rid of it. My sister, on the other hand, is definitely a hoarder.

Tonya Thomas said...

I'm a yard-sale-aholic, but earlier this year I wrote a story called "The Hoarders Daughter" about ... a hoarder, and how collecting gets out of control. (But first, I watched a lot of tv shows on the subject as research.) Since then, I've bought very little at yard sales. I've found myself tossing out the plastic soup containers I had "just in case," and lots of magazines, too. Once the newspaper is read, out in the recycle box it goes. I've even gone so far as to FILE PAPERS. Odd how much influence one story can make on your life.

Good luck getting your guy to part with this stuff. And I hope you have a smooth move. Keep us posted.

Leann Sweeney said...

I am not innocent in all of this. I believe there were times when I could tossed things and he wouldn't have even known. But I saw too many things that I had thrown out be retrieved from the garbage and stored that I gave up. Does that make me an enabler? No. And there is enough fabric that I have saved, enough quilting projects to last two life times. But receipts from the hardware store from 10 years ago? Um, no. Now that's a different kind of hoarding. :-)

Gayle Carline said...

My husband and your husband must share the same DNA - mine cannot throw out so much as a piece of junk mail, although he doesn't mind if I do. Our house is more cluttered than I'd like it, but I do my best to keep it under semi-control. As I grow older, I keep wanting to de-clutter. Our only child, a son, is not very sentimental, so he won't want all the tchotchkes I've collected over the years. I'm thinking of selling them on eBay.

Leann Sweeney said...

Yes, "semi-under control" is about all I've managed over the years. But lots of stuff has now found the trash yesterday and today. Finally!

Debra said...

Well, we have two bikes in our basement which have not been ridden ... for 16 years. My spouse can't bear to part with them. There were three bikes but I gave the good one to the little boy next door, who was thrilled to get it. Thanks for reminding me, one is going out for the trash on Wednesday.
I'm a knitter so I don't hoard yarn, I acquire stash :-)))

Leann Sweeney said...

Debra, last week my husband finally parted with his childhood bike. It was in very bad shape. Had another bike he hadn't ridden in 15 years. Both went out to the curb and within 5 minutes someone drove up and claimed them before the trash collector came. One person's junk is another's teasure!

Laura Hinds said...

OH thank goodness I am not alone! My husband not only won't throw things out, he brings things home that he took from other people's curbsides. He has three rooms, in what is a converted garage, full of stuff. When our brother-in-law, who was a bona fide hoarder, died 3 years ago we took his "stuff" to sell at yard sales for our niece. We had huge sales and sold most of it. Yet we still have "stuff" including huge stereo speakers that we will never use, and stink of cigarette smoke. I've done the throw things out ritual to have him bring them back in. T-shirts from high school 35 years ago...random objects we can't identify. UGH. But I think the tide is turning. He actually put some things out with a "free" sign last weekend. I'm hoping for a repeat performance this weekend! I feel so much better reading your posts, because I am not alone in this battle!

Leann Sweeney said...

Laura, I hope things change. But even thought we MUST get rid of stuff, I threw out a box of broken Christmas tree ornaments that have been in the attic for decades only to find my husband had retrieved them from the trash this week. GRRR!!!!! What in the heck are we going to do with them? If you can't even display something, or touch it what do you need it for? Some days I get very frustrated!

Singing Gee-Gee said...

I too am preparing our home in the east to go on the market so that we can move to our retirement home in AZ. My husband and I both struggle with letting go of "stuff", different stuff, but each just as obtrusive. I have spent an entire year with a personal organizer going through each room to de-clutter. She has come once a week and we have sorted: throw away, donate, try to sell.
I spend time in AZ every 3 months, so we haven't worked every week, but when I return to PA in Aug, we will do one more, hopefully much quicker, sweep of the house.
Then I am hiring a professional cleaner to come in and make it sparkle.
Good luck with your selling and your move!

Singing Gee-Gee said...

I too am preparing our home in the east to go on the market so that we can move to our retirement home in AZ. My husband and I both struggle with letting go of "stuff", different stuff, but each just as obtrusive. I have spent an entire year with a personal organizer going through each room to de-clutter. She has come once a week and we have sorted: throw away, donate, try to sell.
I spend time in AZ every 3 months, so we haven't worked every week, but when I return to PA in Aug, we will do one more, hopefully much quicker, sweep of the house.
Then I am hiring a professional cleaner to come in and make it sparkle.
Good luck with your selling and your move!

Leann Sweeney said...

Good luck Gee-gee! Sounds like you have been very organized about this process. I am sitting in a room filled with boxes that need filling right now. The house is supposed to go on the market Monday. If it sells right away, we're off on a new adventure. I sure don't want to maintain what I consider an "unhealthy level of tidiness" for too long!! :-) I have a book to write!