Week 1 – Starting the clean up!!

For as long as I can remember, it has been a constant battle to get anything out of my parents’ house.   Getting my mom to clean up the clutter wasn’t an option.  When I used to live at home, even a quick suggestion about cleaning the house would cause her to shut down completely and walk away, ignoring me.  Of course this infuriated me, I would start screaming and crying, getting us nowhere.  Normally I would resort to cleaning up the house behind her back, which would lead to an argument when she figured out something was missing.  My father was actually an accomplice at one point, taking garbage to a dumpster for me.  That is, until she caught him.  I was almost relieved that we had been caught; we had been sneaking out garbage behind her back for a few months by that point.  I almost wanted to tell her, expecting her to be happy with the fact that I was trying to help.  Instead she got angry for a few days and then seemed to forget about it and wanted nothing more but to ignore the situation.

So now once again, I have decided to help my parents, coming in with a bold approach.  I walked into the house with two paper bags from the grocery store, handed them to my mom and told her she would have to fill them before I left in about an hour.  She complained, but I mentioned a recent house fire where the family was not able to get out in time.  Unfortunately, my father isn’t of the best of health, and I mentioned that if anything happened in their house, they probably would not have time to get out before the thousands of newspapers quickly went up in flames.  Meanwhile, I went upstairs to my brothers’ old room to assess the clutter that has accumulated since I moved out.  There were lots of bags and boxes filled with items from my great aunt, grandmother, and mother.  Yeah, it’s going to be a lot of work.  After puttering around for a bit, I went back downstairs and my mom had barely filled the two bags.  Ultimately, I was impressed that she actually made an effort to fill them, so I couldn’t complain.  I warned her that I would be leaving two bags for the next week, so it would be best if she started putting newspapers aside throughout the week.

I have to say, I left with a slight sense of joy in my accomplishment of actually getting her to comply with two bags.  It was the smallest step ever, but it worked.  I patted myself on the back and had a huge grin on my face the whole way home.

This week – 2 bags of newspapers

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2 thoughts on “Week 1 – Starting the clean up!!

  1. I would not consider myself to be a hoarder. I am not extreme, but I do have lots of “stuff”. I found that by watching that show “Hoarders” that I am more inclined to make an effort. I don’t want to end up like those people. In regards to your mum, perhaps the episode where the husband has a heart attack and the ambulance can’t get into the house to get him out might be an eye opener for your mum?

  2. I agree with you! I have contemplated having my mother sit and watch shows about hoarding, but I am afraid of her reaction. It is one of those situations that could cause her to shut down. That episode does sound like one that could actually make her think a little bit. My fathers’ health has been declining in recent years, so I think a more comfortable and safe household is important. Thanks for your support!

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