I didn’t think hoarding vegetables was possible..

So apologies for the delay in posting but I have literally been over my head in cucumbers.  To my surprise, I found that my mother likes to hoard vegetables as well..  The bigger ones are probably the size of my forearm!!

Holy Cucumbers!! 33 to be exact..

These are from her garden, but she obviously let some sit for a bit longer than necessary!!  I’m guessing she doesn’t like getting rid of vegetables either??  I have repeatedly asked her to pick them sooner because the smaller ones are easier to pickle, but she waits for me to take them out (as with everything else in her house.)  So far I have made cucumber salsa, cucumber salad, cucumber relish, bread and butter pickles, spicy garlic dill refrigerator pickles, and dill refrigerator pickles.  I attempted to can some of them so we can have pickles all year long.  I hope it worked!  I picked 33 cucumbers last week and went back yesterday and picked 19 more (much smaller ones though.)  So unfortunately I have been a bit preoccupied!!  I am a pickle fanatic, but this might be too many for even me.  Hopefully I will be back to normal by the end of the week and be able to get back to my normal posts 🙂

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Week 11 – We’re heading outdoors!!

The back patio AFTER I cleaned it up a bit this week..

Before I headed back to work in the house, I had to get some dirt off the compost pile so I could plant some flowers on my balcony this weekend.  I was more than ready to go back to work in the garage, but the back patio caught my eye.  As soon as I walked by the porch I ran over, grabbing a bunch of planing trays for recycling.  My mother started to freak out and took the trays out of my hands.  She claimed that they weren’t clean yet, so I couldn’t take them for recycling.  I argued back and forth with her for a while and tried to start cleaning them myself.  In the end, it wasn’t worth the fight.  I didn’t want to have the wet plant trays in my car and there was so much junk everywhere I looked.  Even without the plant trays, I had enough items to fill my car tenfold.  As I started to uncover more and more layers, I couldn’t believe what was back there.  Multiple filing cabinets, old soccer balls, empty mulch bags, propane tanks, paper, the list goes on and on.  Every time I picked up something there was more of a mess underneath it.  I guess there was no more room inside the house??

A filing cabinet and other items that have been left outside for years

Even though I removed a car full of stuff, there is still a lot back there including a lawnmower, another filing cabinet, wires, and kids toys that my parents either found on the side of the road or at the recycling center.  I’m guessing the toys were supposed to go to the grandchildren, but haven’t made it there yet!  I tried to take the kids toys for Goodwill, but those weren’t clean yet either.  Right.  Enough of that!  Going back inside the house, my mother only had one bag of newspapers filled.  Actually, I’m being nice when I say it was actually filled.  I walked over to a pile of coupons that were obviously expired and again my mother freaked out because she wanted to look at the ads for items you can order by mail.  Mind you, my mother has NEVER ordered anything from any one of these ads EVER.  She quickly produced two more piles of papers to add to the bag of newspapers.  So amazing that she can jump out with more papers out of thin air, but she couldn’t fill the bag for me ten minutes earlier.  I grabbed some cardboard food boxes(cereal/microwave food/snack boxes) from around the room to fill another grocery bag up.  I also added some magazines from the floor when she wasn’t looking.  Overall, she was NOT happy!  In the end I was able to push her out of her comfort zone and help her get rid of some things she didn’t want to part with in the first place.  Success!!

Old balls anyone?

This week:

1 bag of newspapers

1 bag of other cardboard

5 assorted soccer balls

15 empty mulch bags

1 filing cabinet

1 planting trough

plastic planting trays

1 bag garbage

Assorted plastic

2 small propane tanks

Week 10 – What am I going to do with all of this sh!t?!?!

My challenge for this week: The garage. This picture was taken after I have removed 16 bags of newspapers in the past few weeks!!

I woke up this week and took a good look around my own house.  I became angry with myself as I realized that I have brought home more of the hoard than I’m comfortable with.  I have sorted through everything that has come into my house, but I really need to start getting rid of things.  I don’t want to bring anything back to my parents house whatsoever, even though I’m going to have to at some point.  We have inherited some items that we would like to keep, but my little house doesn’t have the storage space for any of it.  In the mean time, I would like to get rid of some of the items my mom has agreed to part with.  Therefore, I have joined the world of selling on Ebay!!  I figured I would begin with an easy item so I sold a video I received for free when I went to see a talk show being taped.  I didn’t pay for it, so I wouldn’t mind if it didn’t make too much money.  I don’t know if you have ever tried to sell anything on Ebay, but these stupid auctions take forever.  A week seriously feels like a year!!  I “patiently” eyed my Ebay listing about 5 times a day (at least) hoping someone would bid on it.  It sold the first time around and I actually earned a good amount of money after all the fees.  This might be a good thing after all because I can also get rid of junk around my own home!!

Upon entering my parents house, I decided to head to the garage.  It looks like they threw a lot of garbage in here, so I should be able to get rid of everything immediately.  Nothing to go into my own house!  Upon entering the garage, I immediately noticed a bag or two that were covered in urine.  I also saw some nuts and animal droppings near a box of cracker jacks that was opened and eaten.  I alerted my mother to this and she didn’t seem bothered by it at all.  I on the other hand am grossed out and really bothered by this.  I keep picturing a rabid animal jumping out at me every time I move a bag.   I am also convinced I will find a dead animal sooner or later.  I cleared out some garbage and a bunch of newspapers and it actually looks like I’m finally making a dent!

Before leaving I grabbed a bunch of old shampoos, lotions, and fragrances from my bathroom.  It has been 5 years since I lived here, some of these items might still be good and it will save me a trip to the drugstore!  Yes, this does count as bringing things into my house but I’m going to use anything that is still good and recycle the rest.  I look at it as saving money, so it’s OK (and it was mine in the first place.)  My mother was definitely watching over me this week, but I don’t think she’s too worried about anything from the garage.  I asked if she wanted to donate any towels to the veterinary hospital as I eyed a pile of about 20 towels neatly stacked in my bathroom closet.  She said she had to see which ones my dad uses before I could take any.  There is always an excuse!!  Oh well, I tried!

Tally this week:

10 Bags of newspapers from garage

2 Bags of newspapers from mom

4 bags of garbage

So how does a hoarder’s brain work?

I’ve attached an article I thought all of you might find interesting.  It details a study about hoarders and their brain functions when asked to keep or throw away their junk mail vs. the junk mail of other people.  I don’t think this study is particularly shocking seeing my mother’s reaction when I sort through her junk mail.  By her reaction I mean acting completely ridiculous as if I wanted to throw away all of her plates and insist she eat on the floor from now on.  No, I’m not even exaggerating, she really freaks out over junk mail.  They have never had cable TV and don’t plan on getting it, but opening, reading, and filing the cable TV junk mail is completely necessary.  I do feel this study is promising because it may help therapists in treating hoarding patients more effectively in the future.  I really want to bring Dr. Tolin over by their house to try a trial study NOW!!

Week 9 – Feelin Fine

More Dishes!!!

Before heading to my parents house this week, I stopped at Walmart to grab some plastic bins to store anything I bring into my own house.  You see, I have two kitties at home and they are not happy about the cat smell on the boxes from my parents house.  Therefore they have been marking (aka peeing) all over my house.  Not cool!!  I also decided to pick up a travel coffee mug since my mom was saving at least 10 used paper coffee cups so my dad could have coffee on the go.  How often does he need coffee on the go?  I would love to know this as well!  There is always another excuse, but I’m trying to eliminate them one by one!

In with the new..

In with the new..

Out with the old!

My mother was right on my tail as I walked into the house.  This isn’t going to deter me because I have a plan!  Even though I moved out about 5 years ago, I still have some items left in my brother’s old room.  A few of the dresser drawers were still pretty full, so I emptied them and declared that we would use them for gift wrap storage.  There are still numerous bows, gift tags, and ribbons scattered all over the room, so I started to put these items away in the drawers.  Surprisingly, my mother was quite helpful in organizing all of the wrapping paper and ribbon.  Of course, this didn’t come without a few hang-ups like the fact that she would not let me get rid of any scraps of gift wrap or a particular Santa Claus balloon.  My mother’s ability to have such a strong attachment to the most mundane and ridiculous items never ceases to amaze me.  It’s as if she won’t be able to survive another day without this deflated balloon.  I tried relentlessly to get the balloon out of there, but realized it wasn’t worth my energy.

After we got over the Santa Claus balloon debacle, I was surprised when my mother allowed me to get rid of a bunch of empty boxes that were sitting around the room.  My attention moved to a few computer screens that were sitting on the edge of the bed as one nearly crashed to the floor.  It was barely saved by a few boxes that were sitting next to the bed.  I looked at my mother and said “do we REALLY need the computer screens.”  These dinosaurs don’t even work with my parent’s current computer!  She agreed to let me take one, then two, and also an old TV.  I am shocked!!  I took them out to my car immediately in case she decided to change her mind.

Clothes from my great Aunt’s house. Most were from my uncle who died about 24 years ago and the other clothes were from goodwill when my great Aunt had to go into a nursing home.  Half are going straight to recycling and half will go back to goodwill!

In the end, I got a lot of bulky items out of the house and my mother actually helped me!  We had to have an important conversation though.  After this room was “done”, we would have to move to another room.  I commented that maybe we could move on to my parents bedroom next.  Immediately, I could tell that my mother was 100% against me going anywhere near her bedroom.  I made the point that we had worked together so nicely this week and I hoped it could continue to be a positive experience for both of us.  On my way out of the room I grabbed a bag of my great Aunt’s old clothes even though my mother said she would “like to go through the bag first.”  I think this is her favorite expression ever.

Unfortunately, for every positive there is still a negative.  My mother didn’t have any bags of newspapers for me this week, so asked her to pack up some random cardboard boxes that were lying around the house and grabbed a few pre-packed bags from the garage.  In general, it was a very positive week and I’m happy my mother helped me out.  She even made comments about putting a working TV into my brother’s old room after we clean it up.  It’s nice to hear she has high aspirations for her house, but I have to face the fact that my mother doesn’t know how to curb her hoarding tendencies.  Therefore, I doubt any of these dreams will ever happen since she really is her own worst enemy.

This week:

6 Bags of newspapers (only 1 bag from mom)

8  Bags of other items (plastic, papers, boxes)

2 Computer Screens

1 13 inch TV

2 Bags of clothes from my great Aunt

1 Box misc. plates

1 Stuffed bear (taken from the dumpster by my father)

1 bag of my stuff