Help Wife Hoards Junk!

Reply Tue 16 Jul, 2013 09:43 am
My girlfriend is like this too, albeit not as bad with the pure rubbish. She moved in 3 years ago and all her stuff got stacked nicely in my garage, filling it. I expected she would go through box by box sorting what she wanted to keep and toss. What happened was all the boxes got opened simultaneously and you had to swim through random crap just to move. (swim is not an understatement - in places it was neck high).

I have urged her nicely for three years to trash as much of it as she can. The garage is exterior and it has minor leaks so most everything is destroyed. Shes periodically gotten rid of some of it but 2/3 of it is still there. She doesnt work so i cant fathom how she doesnt have the time.

Ive had enough. The three year anniversary of her moving in comes up in a few weeks and this junk has just been moving around from place to place in my house. 1/3 of my basement is filled with junk too because she cant bring herself to toss her kids old toys. I feel bad for the poor kid too - the kid has literally thousands of small bits of old toys in her room and when she has to clean her room its a nightmare!

Does the kid really need that bit of plastic thats the size of your thumb from a now broken and neglected doll she doesnt play with anymore and hasnt since a month after she got it two christmases ago?

I have offered to just do it myself but she insists that she has to go through both the kids room and the garage herself because only she knows what to keep and what to get rid of and it never happens. I am infuriated in that if she spent 5 minutes a week even taking two weeks off per year she would have by now dedicated 13 hours which should have been more than enough to get the whole job done.

Last night i told her im calling a garbage truck to be here in a little over 2 weeks, and told her to get the job done or ill just throw it all out and do the kids room myself. She peaked, said im not a dictator in this house, said she would call the police if i started throwing away her things, it was insane and infuriating. She isnt working so 18 days should be enough notice to get the job done... I could get it done in a day.

What makes matters worse is i used to have roomers living here who netted me $12k a year. She couldnt get along with any of them very well and so i agreed to try to carry the house on my own so we could have the extra space and quiet and save on the bills. The final catalyst was when we were going to be on vacation i offered my cousin to stay in our place so she could save money on hotels when she came into town, and my girlfriend didnt like the idea at all. I was more concerned about security and having someone around as ive been broken into before - with the roomers there was always a few people coming and going.

Plus im choked that now im paying full freight on this place that used to turn me a tidy profit and the basement and garage are unusable as they are half filled with junk from three years ago. Shes moved her hobby stuff into one of the roomers old rooms from the basement and left that which she doesnt want in the basement. Between our bedroom, the kid, and her hobby room, plus the garage shes taking up 3.5 rooms of a 4 bedroom house (leaving one spare room, the messy basement and the kitchen and living room).

I dont know what to do. I think ive been more than reasonable, with 3 years of patience, giving her 18 days notice of the truck, and offering to just do the job myself and chuck it all if she cant bring herself to do it. Plus the poor kid, she is messy like all kids are but it oft takes her 5 hours to clean her room because theres toys she hasnt touched in years with all the little bits. Ive talked to the kid and shes eager to get rid of things in there, the attachment to this junk isnt hers, shes been caught trying to throw her own toys in the garbage when cleaning up. Were even storing 6 full garbage bags of clothes that dont fit her anymore and thats after her brother took what he wanted for his kids.

I dont want to be a dictator but ive got to put my foot down at some point because before she moved in you could eat off my floor and the house was spotless. When i bring this up she says, "well with four guys living in the house its easy to keep the place clean because theres no kid". Im like, "huh?", because youd think you could keep a house clean for the sake of the kid and if shes not working it shouldnt be that hard.

Reply Tue 16 Jul, 2013 10:03 am
It would probably take a therapist to find out the reason for the hoarding, if that's what it really is.

Although I do find it amusing - when men keep things, it's called 'collectibles' but when women do it , it's called "hoarding.

Every time I watch "Hoarding" on TV, I clean out a closet. Watch a few episodes with her, and see her reaction.

Many times, hoarding can be traced back to unexpressed grief.
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Reply Tue 16 Jul, 2013 04:58 pm
I would say, computerology, that you must be one of the most patient, tolerant, understanding and forbearing men I have ever come across.

If you could get over to the lady just how lucky she is to have found you I think you might get a little relief. Most men would kicked her out long ago. I don't think there are all that many who would have given her protection under their roof in the first place.

If there's a "Boyfriend of the Year" award you should put yourself up for it.
Reply Tue 16 Jul, 2013 09:30 pm
Thanks, I needed to hear that. I went out with a work buddy and he said the same thing. I've talked with her about this so many times I know that the more patient method won't work.

The clutter isn't relegated to my garage. I've seen some improvement in some areas like the 10 loads of unfolded laundry left downstairs (mostly hers) are now starting to not build up and be put away and she's starting to pick up around the house and not leave four dishwasher loads of dishes in the sink. The random items in the drawers around the house is still happening but at least that's out of view.

But she still has this attachment to junk and old toys... it's the throwing out of stuff that she can't get over. yesterday the kid asked if she could get rid of most of the 50 stuffed animals she has and she was told to leave them on her shelf the way her mother organized them and it was heartbreaking. She just wants to free up more space to make cleaning her room easier. When I went down to check that she was cleaning her room as she was supposed to I saw the hundreds of junk bits of old toys all over the floor. This is not the first time I've strongly suggested to her that it is unfair to expect the kid to keep a clean room with all the junk bits and old toys down there.

It's hard hearing that your girlfriend would call the police on you because you want to clean out the garage. She then asked if it was just an excuse I was trying to get her and the kid to leave. I don't want them gone, I want the junk gone so I can get full enjoyment of the house after 3 years now that I'm paying full freight for it. I don't even want to throw it all out just the old toys, old kid **** from when the 8 year old was a toddler and all the random crap that's either been destroyed from sitting in the garage all these years or that has no place in the house. I'm fine with keepsakes but those don't fill a garage and a third of the basement.

I don't want to back down on this this time. I've tried all the waiting and talking about this. I just want to get rid of this crap for all of our sakes.
Reply Tue 16 Jul, 2013 11:25 pm
Sorry to reply to self here...

But she went and coached the kid that I was being unfair in bringing the garbage truck and taking away all of her old baby toys and that she wants to keep them because she wants to still be able to play with them. She hasn't touched them in years and she's 8. Talk about the opposite of leadership. Grrr.

I have had to have a conversation with the kid that I don't want to take away anything special just the junk and old toys that aren't played with anymore.

I'm fuming angrily, way to teach the kid that it's normal to keep everything forever . Most mom's discreetly toss things and store those little special things in a box not keep everything forever.
Reply Wed 17 Jul, 2013 09:25 am
Sometimes just asking a person to choose 3 favorites of the 50 to keep is a start. (Of course, the person has to be willing to do this)

You have to put your foot down on this.

Get some professional help, if needed. It would be worth the money.
Reply Wed 17 Jul, 2013 11:11 am
Memories of the past are comforting to lots of people.

Take the Constitution for example.
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Reply Wed 17 Jul, 2013 01:46 pm
I had a serious talk with her about the kid thing and the lunacy of even contemplating calling the cops on me for cleaning out my garage. She showed me how she had organized a few more small boxes last week and was begging for me to give her until the end of the summer to get it done.

I let her know that it's been long enough and that I feel somewhat insulted that this project has been such a low priority for so long. Only flex I gave her was that I would look at how it has progressed two days before the truck is scheduled to arrive and if it looks like serious headway has been made I would consider giving her more time.

She has a way of taking things that people say and interpreting it in a very exaggerated way and was trying to tell me that I was saying I was going to throw everything away. Frustrating as he'll because all along I've been waiting for her to sort through the stuff so I can do the dump run for the basement, the kids room and the garage and the holdup has always been the sorting never getting done and as I have noted taking years for progress at a snails pace. I don't want to throw away anything she finds special or valuable I just want the junk out.

I told her that I hate to have to light a fire under her backside this way but that I feel I have no choice because I've talked to her about this stuff practically biweekly for three years now. She brought up millions of little circumstantial rationalizations like her health and the hot weather and doctors appointments but I just told her that this project is going from back burner to top priority starting now. I hate to have to be this way I am normally a very easy going guy.

I'm seriously considering ending the relationship over all of this mess, junk and clutter. She doesn't work and has plenty of time for video games hobbies, browsing the Internet, reading books, baking cookies and other things. Why no time to clean up after herself, do and put away her laundry and dishes and sort through her junk?

I don't want.to especially with the kid involved but she wants to get married and have kids (the kid isn't mine but calls me dad) and the kid has learned this clutter behavior and I don't want to lock in to a lifestyle like this. When she's brought it up I've been honest and told her that I can't commit to such a serious thing until I see us having a reasonable lifestyle. She wants to be a stay at home mom and I'm not against that at all but being a stay at home mom is a job in and unto itself and she's not making the grade at all. If I'm going to work and shelling out $18000 a year to keep her and her daughter the house needs to be looked after so when I get home I'm not looking at a mess so bad I have to dig out a space just to put the lawnmower away in the garage if it starts to rain.

I'm exasperated. At least I'm going away to my boat this weekend with a buddy, hopefully the time away will inspire her.
Reply Wed 17 Jul, 2013 01:58 pm
I came across the title of a book called The Art of Ingeniously Tormenting. It is by one Jane Collier and published in 1753. Her father was a well known worldly gentleman.

I once asked a lady why she did "these things" and with an unblinking stare she blurted out "I like tormenting ya!!!!!" The "what ya gonna do about it?" was implied.

I should have said what Philip Larkin would have said but I was young and stupid at the time.
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Reply Wed 17 Jul, 2013 03:34 pm
Did you know, compy, that Andy Warhol saved everything that passed across his desk. He had a large cardboard box by his side and everything that was finished with went into it. When a box was full it was sealed and dated and stored and an empty one brought in to start again. I forget how many boxes there were when he died but it was a lot and they brought a great deal of money at the auction.

She might have it in her head that somewhere in the pile of detritus ( a word you might do well to teach her) there is a valuable item. Maybe more than one. They have seen programmes showing tin cans from some past age bringing $000s. A doll, say, which didn't sell very well at the time and which is therefore now a rarity and a must-have item for any self respecting museum of dollery to complete its collection with. When phrases which mean large amounts of money and unlikely and painless methods of it being got are paraded endlessly on TV it is no wonder there are cases like yours. Some I have seen are a lot worse.

She has, you have too, a work of art. Persuade her of that and then persuade a university research department that it might be worth studying from a psychological point of view and you might get it all shifted over to the campus. With a tidy sum to start with and 10% of all income derived from the study, including books and film rights and her name up in lights. Jenny's Junk: A Profile of an Era. Every item speaks some truth.

When the archeologists find an ancient junk dump they go wild.

If you fancy anything along those lines it might be worth your while to consult me. I've tried a couple of stunts of a similar nature myself. They both failed because I either had to move too fast in one and I chose to in the other.

I don't recommend you splitting. Not yet at least.

And I'll shut up if you ask me to.

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Region Philbis
Reply Wed 28 Aug, 2013 03:52 pm

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