Week 17 – More boxes of crap?? What a surprise!!

This week I got to my parent’s house and was surprised to see my mother wasn’t home.  My father said she was up at my brother’s house feeding the cats.  I am happy to hear this because I can take some time to get some cleaning done downstairs.  I quickly walk around and take a handful of newspapers from each pile.  I was easily able to fill two paper bags and I don’t feel like you could notice that I took anything from the piles (obviously this is bad because I didn’t even make a dent, but good because my mom won’t notice).  I wasn’t sure when my mother would be home and if she would look into my car, so I hid the bags in the recycling bin outside.  I then looked around and realized that my mother hadn’t even taken the presents that we had gotten them for mothers and fathers day out of the bag.  I put the “too big” compost bin on the counter and threw away the milk cartons she had been using for that purpose.  I then took out the new phone we bought them and set that up.  It all took about 10 minutes and made a bit of space in the front hallway.  My father was very eager to help me which was nice.  Unfortunately my mom was upset I hadn’t gone through the messages on the old answering machine.  I told her the old phone was upstairs if she would like to grab the old messages.  I don’t think she’s even thought twice about it since.

I finished downstairs and proceeded to go back to the attic where I have been slaving away for a few weeks now.  I came upon a box of old children’s clothes and decided to start by finding all the pants where the elastic had gone bad.  This normally eliminates half the box.  We have found a few recycling centers for clothes nearby so we won’t have to throw these away.  This makes me feel a bit better because we have a LOT of old clothes that don’t seem to be suitable for donation because they are ripped, soiled or the elastic has gone bad.  I find some boxes from my father again.  I still can’t believe how much my father loves to jumble lots of random things into boxes.  These seemed to be from 1981 and contained items from his old job as a computer programmer and random items that have been sitting there since 1980.  Overall, there are a lot of magazines that will ultimately go to recycling.

I finally condense 4 boxes down to 2 and I’m happy with this.  I have finally cleared my way to another closet that is off the far side of the room.  This leads into another area under the easement of the roof towards the front of the house.  I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was greeted by more boxes as I opened the door.  These were filled with kitchen supplies and personal things from my grandmother’s house.  I let out a big sigh.  I try to do my best getting some stuff out of this back room, but I still have piles of crap at my own house so most of these things will stay for now.  I have been adamant about not bringing anything else into my home unless I can either post it on ebay immediately or I actually want it.  I take a few things out of the boxes for myself and try to get as much garbage out as I can.  Overall, it was a successful night, but extremely frustrating.  Every time I feel like I am making a tiny bit of progress, I am faced with another wall of boxes.

My mother still managed to make me angry because she didn’t have any newspapers for me.  Her excuse for this is because I came on a Monday instead of Tuesday and she “wasn’t expecting me.”  She left me alone for most of the night, but zeroed in on a bag of my father’s old papers that I had bagged up.  I looked out into the hallway and there were literally papers everywhere as she was taking everything out of the bag.  I got quite upset that she was going through every single paper after I had already done this.  I made the point that she didn’t have any newspapers for me this week.  She could be helping me by packing newspapers but instead she is wasting her time on double checking something I have already done.  I’m not sure if it got through to her, but I have been thinking of putting up a white board up so she has tasks to complete every week.  I really feel like I am dealing with a child, but I don’t know what else to do or how to motivate her.  I made the point that if she actually bagged a bunch of newspapers up every week, I wouldn’t have room in my car to take anything else.  Therefore she wouldn’t have to worry about me going through her stuff.  Wishful thinking!

This week:

Computer Speakers

Bag of metal hangers

Bag of plastic hangers

2 bags of newspapers (me)

2 bags of paper

1 bag cardboard

1 bag garbage

1 box of mugs for goodwill

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Week 16 – Clothing, boxes, and coupons.. Oh my!!

Books for donation

Last week was quite fun nearly killing myself in the garage.  So now I’m going back to cleaner pastures back upstairs.  I have decided to start wearing a dust mask since I have gone home feeling absolutely horrible every week after I’m in the house.  My nose starts running immediately when I walk in and I can’t imagine the air I’m breathing is healthy.  I also had a weird musty/woody smell affixed to me that would NOT go away after working in the garage, so I’m avoiding that area for now.  I’m guessing I will also have to wear gloves in the future when working with the dirtier items.

While I was at my parent’s house over the weekend for the hazardous waste drive, I decided to spend a little extra time digging further into the attic room.  As I was rumbling through the room I was shocked when my mom asked if I wanted a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.  Um, what?  I thought this could be a ploy to distract me, but in the end it was a nice and welcome surprise.  I guess she doesn’t hate me as much as I thought.  Either way, spending the extra hour or so helped because I was able to organize a bunch of items for later in the week.  I figure it will cut down the amount of time I spend going through things and I can basically go in, load my car up, and leave.  I was surprised to find more bags of coupons and cardboard boxes for almost anything we ever bought as children.  I basically spent most of my time breaking down boxes!

I went back later in the week and as always, as soon as I walked in the attic room, my mother comes upstairs.  She asks “so what are you doing today?”  I respond “same thing as always, mom.”  Surprisingly, she actually helped me carry everything downstairs today.  I think this is more so she can see what I’m taking out than actually wanting to help though.  I have learned to hide certain bags from her and take them out to my car quickly so she can’t go through them.  I got caught this time as she asks “what did you take to the car that you didn’t want me to see?”  I had to laugh a little at the fact that I was caught.  I explained that it was all paper and I didn’t want her to see it because she would have gone through everything and it’s frustrating after I spend so much time going through it to begin with. 

Clothes for Goodwill! I don’t think any of these clothes were actually ours.. Hmm..

As I go through these extra rooms, I am still surprised when I find bags and bags of clothes.  I have come to the realization that we have so many clothes in the house.  Since we were younger, there have always been 3 big boxes of clothes stacked at the top of the steps.  They make it so hard to get stuff out of the attic room, so I decided to take one into the other room and go through it.  Most of the clothes with elastic in them are so old that they are no good.  This is almost a relief as I don’t have to fight about getting rid of them with my mother.  She helped go through the box with me and was happy to separate the  clothes for recycling.  Unfortunately, I don’t think any will be good candidates to sell since they have been sitting in boxes for almost 25 years and smell like cardboard.  I ask her to help me get bags of clothes out for goodwill and she helps me sort two bags, so I’m happy with this.

The boxes of clothes at the top of the stairs. They are frayed at the edges from our cats used to scratch them. And yes, those are bags and bags of napkins sitting on top. Why? I don’t know

A few weeks ago I exclaimed that there is one thing my mother loves more than newspapers.  That is money.  I had made her pinky swear that she would owe me $100 if she didn’t have 4 bags for me the following week.  I was really happy when she kept up with her side of the deal and delivered 4 bags the following week.  Unfortunately, I have had problems getting newspapers consistently from her since then.  I figured I would try the bet once again.  This time she would owe me 6 bags or $100.  I had high hopes since she was able to follow through with this a few weeks ago.  I was quite disappointed when I asked and she only had one bag for me.  She stated that she felt overwhelmed by the thought of 6 bags and said it wasn’t a good way to motivate her.  I guess its back to the drawing board!  Overall, I was happy because I was able to take a box of old books, a bag of misc. papers, a new kids on the block poster, some small rugs, tin cans, a bag of plastic, and a bag of styrofoam out.

This week

Cardboard boxes – (27)

1 bag newspapers (mom)

1 large bag papers

3 bags coupons

1 nkotb poster

1 bag garbage

2 small rugs

1 bag tin cans

1 bag plastic

1 bag styrofoam

For Donation:

1 box books for the library

2 bags clothes for goodwill

Week 14 – On a roll…

Another Week, More piles!!

This week I went to my mother’s house and she didn’t have any newspapers for me.  I am not happy about this and now she will owe me 5 bags next week.  (2 for this week, 2 for next week and 1 extra bag since she didn’t have any for me.)  I also told her she would owe me $100 if she didn’t have them since this seemed to work last week.  It’s frustrating because my mom is doing the bare minimum to help clean up her own house.  I thought that since she had done so well some other weeks, she would try to achieve for more.  But instead she is practically giving up and it seems like she is almost trying to defy me.  It is frustrating because I show up and work my butt off every week.  I have a full time job and a busy social schedule outside of all of this, but I still find time to clean up their house, list items on ebay, and keep up with my blog.  Meanwhile, she spends two days a week at my brother’s house and takes my dad to the doctor once or twice a week.  Even though she has a significant amount of time on her hands compared to me, she can’t seem to find ten minutes to pack two bags of newspapers.  I have always known that my mother is horrible at time management, but maybe having too much time on her hands isn’t the best thing after all??

Plastic…

I let it go and head upstairs to the attic to continue digging away.  I was really excited leaving last week.  I felt like I actually accomplished something for once as I could actually see my progress.  Today my goal is to dig a path leading to a door that opens into a room under the eaves of the roof.  I had organized this area years ago so I am excited to have a nice organized space to work with.  I dig my way through and open door.  I am shocked to find the room to be filled to the brim and completely blocked!  I look in the boxes that are blocking the entrance of the doorway and they are filled with items from my grandmother’s house.  I start to dig around the boxes and find lots and lots of presents from when my mother was a teacher.  Now you might think your favorite teacher really wants that pretty wood apple pencil holder or an apple picture frame, but please don’t do it!

A slight roadblock..

I must have uncovered about 4 shopping bags full of gifts, all still in their boxes.  I put these aside for now and asked my mom to choose one item I could sell on ebay.  I started going through everything else in the back room of the attic.  I found a lot of plastic microwave containers that my mother was probably saving for school projects (this was always an excuse when I would try to get her to throw things away.)  Otherwise, I found lots of old clothes from the WHOLE family.  These are clothes from when my brother and I were smaller, clothes from my mom and dad, and my grandmothers and great aunt.  I was able to get a bag out this week for goodwill, so I’m happy with that.  It was a bit hard to get rid of some of my paternal grandmother’s clothes, she has been gone for 16 years and seeing some of the clothes brings back such nice memories of her.  I put them aside for now because I want to hold onto them for a little longer.  I know this isn’t helping the problem, but it’s only 1 or 2 items.

And more plastic!!

Going through the attic I also find an old computer and printer.  Mind you this is the same printer that I urged my mother to get rid of years ago when we bought them a new one.  My mother and I got into one of the biggest arguments about the printer because she seemed to think she would need it again in case the new one broke.  I also was able to throw away styrofoam from two old computer boxes that they hadn’t thrown away.  I have learned from prior weeks that I need to hide certain bags of paper and plastic from my mom so she won’t go through them before I remove them from the house.  I doubt there is anything in the bags that she would want.  It is so frustrating to watch her wasting time going through bags I spent so much time packing, it’s just easier if she doesn’t go through them.  She normally ends up taking out stupid things like coloring books or other papers that add to the mess downstairs.  In reality, she doesn’t need them and she will never use these papers she takes out.  If I take that step out of the process, it saves me time in the long run.  I let her go through the clothes for goodwill before I take them out and I leave.  I feel like I got pretty far, but I can’t believe how packed the back room is.  What a disappointment!!

This week:

No newspapers

1 bag paper

1 bag plastic

1 box Styrofoam

1 computer monitor

1 printer

1 large bag clothes

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