Stuck in the Muck: Are you a hoarder? I... - Anxiety and Depre...

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Stuck in the Muck


Are you a hoarder? I am. Or at least partially, if that makes any sense. My house looks nothing like you see on the shows, but oh don't look under the bed, the basement, the storage bathroom, the shed. I am SLOWLY trying to pull myself out of it, but it is a GRUELING job. Especially when you do not have enough space anyway. There are tons of papers involved. 😩😣😖. Those are the hardest to decide where to put and what to keep. This is SLOWWWWWW going. :-( I also suffer from depression and anxiety, so I have other problems going on also. Please-I would LOVE to hear some inspirational.stories about how any of you have pulled out of this mess. Just to let you know-please don't say to bring anyone else in here to help. I have to do it all on my own,. That's the only way it works for me. This is HOPELESS. 😢

52 Replies

I am the opposite a minimalist. I live in a trailer and have no space at all so I throw out anything that does not bringme joy. Sometimes I think I could live with just a box full of clothes instead of the whole closet and drawers. Let it go if it you do not need it or love it.

Downandout123 in reply to Hidden

Yikes!!! I am the COMPLETE opposite of that!!

Pearl67 in reply to Hidden

I am heading that direction! ❤️

I have to do it on my own too - there is no one to help. Wish there was. Did manage to get rid of some rubbish a while back, but lots more to go.

Can't think of what to suggest. Do you need to keep all of the papers? I'm guessing that you have got a box / area for placing things in for charity shops & one for paper rubbish, one for other recyclables etc. Or - the black bin bag method.

Is there anything you don't use / need anymore that might earn you a bit of cash at an auction room ?

Someone once said - if you haven't worn it or used it for over a year then get rid. Don't know if that helps.

The physical doing though - take a small area at a time & don't wear yourself out. Washing & drying clothes for the charity shop can be time consuming but does have a feel-good factor. There is also something therapeutic about going to the civic amenities tip site and throwing stuff into the huge bins.

Good for you for getting rid of lots of rubbish!! The only thing I give for donation is clothes, and shoes that are in good condition. The rest of it goes out. I have everything I need, including dozens and dozens of plastic bins in all sizes. The problem is-letting go. So what happens is that stuff just gets churned-into bins. If I don't let go of this mindset once and for all, then I feel sorry for my daughter because SHE will have to be the one to come in here and clear out the muck after I'm gone. No one lives like this. I'm so sick of myself. Nothing goes as planned. NOTHING. I start on a project, get overwhelmed, and then leave it for another day, week, year.

You're not the only one. Yes, other people do live like this and probably a lot worse. Have you seen a TV series 'Hoarders'. Some people have it really bad. Some can't get to their bed & can no longer make a pathway through to the kitchen sink. It's left to get really unhealthy till the local authority is called in to take action.

You are acknowledging the need to deal with this and thinking about it, so this is all good. The first few steps are always the hardest, we have to be brave, make a decision and keep to it. No looking back. I can't really advise you as I'm not able to get to that point myself. I do have physical problems though and can't afford to tire myself out. No one to care for me & am a carer. Let's hope we can both face our clearing out dilemmas soon.

I wish I had a daughter.

I know you say no one can help but would you consider asking your daughter to come over and help?

That's the thing-she always offers to come over and help, but I don't want help. I need to do it all on my own. I have to look at every piece of paper before I recycle or throw away. That goes for EVERY item.

Yes, I feel that if I had anyone to ask that they would just throw it or say to throw it away. But I have important stuff in amongst the rubbish and have to read everything and check everything.

Also, I get distracted by sentimental things from the past and come across old wrong- doings and injustices suffered and wonder why I didn't fight that / complain / seek compensation etc. Because I was too ill / exhausted / traumatised of course . With , as usual, no one to help.

Some memories are so painful that I just have to stop and shove everything back in the cupboards.

Well, it's not anything even NEAR to what the hoarder shows are like. These is no garbage around, or food containers, or anything like that. It's just wherever there is a place for storage, it is STUFFED to the rafters with junk. Plus I run a day care upstairs. ( LOTS of toys and books, but not hoarded). So in my basement and in my shed is all the things I buy in bulk. -Toilet paper, paper towels, gloves, tissues, dish washing liquid, on and on and on. Plus I do a lot of crafting. Bins and bins and bins. NO PLACE TO PUT ANYTHING!!! I'm not used to living like this. I've always been somewhat of a hoarder, but it was MUCH MORE organized before I had the day care, or moved to such a small living space. I am healthy, so there is NO excuse for me to not be able to just DO THIS once and for all, although, to be fair, there is ALWAYS stuff coming in here on a daily basis.

asmall and no real friends ,I foolishly announced over the yrs how Id feel better if it was cleared and now to this day they only remark about the bad side ,meaning the less than clean standard than is usual;futhermore used it against me in conversations,needless to say any kind of understanding of mental health ect,slowly deteriorated over the yrs which does sadden me...…...but I mtrying to get myself back on track and need to maintain my dignity,if you know what I mean,life is too short for mean-minded people which they are ,im 1 of 8 and getting on in yrs as they are too..Hope you catch my drift.And hopefully you are well.

Hi Lori,

You say you are 1 in 8 siblings. Was there no one in your family you could have asked over the years, ( I understand they are getting up in age now), but while they were young, to help you?

hi ,my flat is what I term cluttered ,slowly its beginning to take shape after several yrs of untidiness,though im inclined to get disheartened ,im hoping to improve the basic appearance having lost my cat in March.Family have always been more of a hindrance and I cant tolerate them any longer...….they live not so faraway ,40miles but they are only interested in my 2 brothers who drive/im not going to be patronised by them 2 sisters in particular who have a down on things they don't understand{mental health,being one of them)!thanks for your interest..

Thank you. I understand. And I am very sorry to hear about your cat. I've always had dogs, ( have 3 now), so totally understand the pain of losing a best friend. ☹

Hi downandout,thanks for your reply,yes animals keep us going,;and im dreading the winter as the idea of not having my wee cat is quite have plenty to keep going so im pleased .im still suffering from stress and family are out of the picture!!

Might you adopt another cat?

I'm like this too. Ty for your honesty.

Ddorne in reply to Downandout123

I understand having to go through the stuff on your own. Although my sister will come over to get me started and that has been a tremendous help. She didn’t push me to get rid of things. We just go through one type of thing at a time. One time it was papers and books. And one time it was clothes. That’d a good way to start . One category at a time. Slowly. God bless you.Its worth doing. I also am a semi girder!LD

Downandout123 in reply to Ddorne

Thank you so much for your response and your kind words! 😊

So - draw a line in the sand - new rules for new stuff. Like junk mail. Don't set it down to read later. Straight in the recycle bin it goes. Make a file for important letters so you can find them. I need to take my own advice.

Thanks, but it's just not that simple for me. :-(

Your daughter WILL look at everything you have sooner or later. When you are gone.... what will she read and see at your home to give her a sadness that she did not know about you? Let her help and clear the guilt of someone getting into your stuff and think different of you.

Paper and things have no “heart”and your daughter needs to free from having to deal with this task ,when you are so sick or gone. Think of this... now is the time to clear your load and be free to move on. And too much stuff to look at feeds on depression and helplessness!

You're right! I have a whole basement filled with stuff. I keep saying I'm going to tackle it a little at a time, but I never do. I STILL will not have her help me though.

Mornin’ Downandout

Me again.

This is a safe space isn’t it?

To step away from your dilemma and see a way forward. You want to change your mindset? Picture what your life would look like if all the possessions that you treasure the most, the ones closest to your heart had space around them to be seen and enjoyed by you.

I wonder at what point the ton of stuff that we enjoyed acquiring just adds more weight to depression and feeds our anxieties until we’re stuffed to a standstill?

There was a time when you felt organised. Everything you bought or collected you did for very good reasons. Your daycare, your craft work...but now you say a lot of those things have become junk. You’re good at recycling clothes, come on get the wheelie bin indoors 😳. I am, however, envious of the contents of your shed and basement. I bet you invite your daughter to help herself when her supplies are low. A homeless charity would make very good use of anything you can spare. You know how good generosity can make one feel right?

You asked for inspirational stories. Here’s something I used to do to get me started clearing cupboards and other corners, you might like idea.

Sit down, set a timer for 3 minutes and list the things you would grab if you only had those minutes to escape from all that you own. Three dogs would be high on the list I’m sure. Breathe. It’s only an exercise. 😬

Ok now I’m venturing into a no-go area. I really do understand that you want and need to sort your things by yourself, I’m the same. I also understand how you feel sorry for your daughter who might one day have to take over managing your things. She offers to help you now. How would you both feel if you bequeathed the lock up to her now and gave her permission to clear it? You need never see its contents one definitely won’t.

Anyway, the money you save (if you pay rent) could go towards a holiday 🤗 you didn’t see that one coming 😉

I would so love to help and inspire you, but it starts somewhere in you.

Be brave, be fearless, be free.

Well that's just it. If you came into my home, you would not know that I am a hoarder. It's clean, it's well decorated, I have 4 beautiful curio cabinets with my "treasures" inside them, etc. You'd ask me what I'm talking about. But don't look behind the bed, in the basement, in the shed, or GOD FORBID open the closets, because something for sure will.fall on your head! 😱 I call myself a "closet" hoarder. The basement-oh my goodness. You can't even walk down there. I have had to have men come in through the years to work on my boiler, my plumbing, and my electric box down there and wanted to DIE of embarrassment!!😳😳😳 And yes about my daughter! I tell her to always ask me first whenever she needs something, no matter what it is,before she goes out and buys it, because I'm sure I have it! Lol. And of course, I HAVE given her stuff over the years. The contents of the storage space I rent is packed from ceiling to floor. It DOES have lots of furniture in it that I plan on using one day when I sell this house and buy another. Something WAY BIGGER than this. That's my dream. I hope I live to see it. 😑 I am stuck here for now because my livelihood ( the day care) is upstairs.

I am not a hoarder....or maybe partially. I love this subject! I have a ton of thoughts and ideas about it...thank goodness I didn’t write them down.

As long as I have my birth certificate and passport and a few other important papers in a drawer or two, the rest can go. A long time ago I learnt that going through boxes of papers exhausted me. The thought of writing the book that I know is in me....somewhere....exhausted me. I decided that if I hadn’t looked in the box for a year or two it was ok to dump or burn without looking too closely. Same with boxes of papers from inherited stuff. I made the mistake of looking through the letters my Mum wrote when she divorced my Dad. The heartache was hard to bear at the time. I made it 100 times worse for myself reliving her heartache while reading and looking through her ‘important papers’ after she died.

Inherited stuff? I keep some things to to cherish the memory of the person. I cannot be the custodian of all the things they enjoyed collecting, because, like you Downandout, I don’t have much space. This was a tough one for me. So many precious things. I raised money for our county’s air ambulance selling them at our local flower festival and fete. It was fun.

When we sold our family home and left the sorting and packing until fairly late. I couldn’t take everything with me. The quickest way for me to decide what to keep and what to give away or dump was to look at my possessions: if they made me feel heavy I got rid. If, on the other hand, I felt light and inspired I kept.

Feeling nostalgic isn’t good for me, loving things that make me feel sad isn’t good for me, keeping things for projects that I thought I would do one day just makes me feel inadequate. These are the things that I will myself to part with. It’s freeing. It makes my head feel clearer.

I get what you say about doing it all on your own. It‘s the only way for me too.

Doh! I should have read your responses to other replies.

Ok here’s a radical idea....

Take a holiday.

Do you like camping?

Tent up, sleeping bags unfurled, bbq on, beer while the food cooks. Nice view. A simple life for a few days to get things into perspective again.

It’s not hopeless Downandout.

Thanks for your response. The truth is, I don't have the time or the money for a holiday, plus I have 3 dogs. Enough said. Lol I do have a huge storage unit too that I got when I moved in here. It houses lots of furniture and things that I have no room for here. PLUS, BOXES AND BOXES OF PAPERS AND EVERYTHING ELSE!! I have ZERO room left in there. It is packed from floor to ceiling. 😩😣😖😑

hi is there anything you could donate to charity and maybe they would de clutter.

In donate clothes and shoes to charity, as long as they are in good condition. A lot of the stuff is paper, and also just tons of stuff that I need to organize better. I brought over way too much stuff from my other house which there is no room for here. I HAVE TO make room in the shed for more boxes. Everything is just SO disorganized. But this all takes TIME. LOTS of time. It's a very slow process. Plus, boxes are heavy. And as I said, I don't want anyone to help me with this.

is it newspapers thought I would ask because our pet cat n dog home are always looking for newspapers.


No-the paper stuff does not have any newspapers. It's mostly business papers and bills. But there are tons of everything else non-paper taking up space.

Nothing is ever hopeless, your going to have to work harder to get things together. Google paper schredding events sometimes schools, churches etc have these fund raisers. You bring your Papers to the event and they schredd it there. It's a start. I have lots of mail that has accumulated, though I couldn't find any events, I found a company that will schredd for .50 a pound which is cheap

Hi Downandout123. Sounds like you aren't really a "hoarder" in the truest sense, you sound a lot like me. Sounds like you have run into a situation like I am currently in, I live in a decent sized house, but, there is really no storage space here, the only closet is a very small one in my bedroom, I won't store stuff in the basement because of possible dampness, mold or mildew issues, and, after a while, all the clutter becomes quite the mess, I am starting to throw away papers that I thought were important, but now that I look at them, I should have thrown them out long ago. I think the paper issue is the worst, because they can really collect dust when they are just stored in piles here and there. I also have books and magazines that I'm starting to donate to the local Goodwill store here where I live.

Downandout123 in reply to gbn_

I"m just curious-if there is only one closet in the house, where DO you put all your things?

I've been clearing out a load of things over the years. I've just purchased 'The life changing magic of tidying' by Marie Kondo. This was on the recommendation of a channel on youtube that I watch called Pick up Limes. The reason I decided to get the book was I felt that as I was getting rid of things, I was finding a lot of weight coming off my shoulders. I really wanted to focus my clear up around what was most important to me. The problem I have is that I am interested in so many things that I never know what to focus my attention on. I end up getting overwhelmed, and end up depressed as a result. I think we all want to be happy, the trouble is, we are encouraged to buy happiness. I've been clearing it slowly but I'm now at a point where it doesn't scare me to throw things away. I'm now taking the next step. I'd very much like to start with a clear state of mind and see what is really important to me.

Congratulations for figuring out a way to work through this!! Continued success to you!! I'm very happy for you!! 😀😊

I wouldn't say that I've figured this out. I don't think I ever will. But at some point, I need to stop hoping that it sorts itself out (because that hasn't worked so far!) and start to deal with it myself and see where it leads. So far it seems to be taking me in a good direction.

I'm finding that I cannot keep up the pace every day. Something comes up, or I get depressed, or WHATEVER. Life throws curveballs at you all the time. But you know what-that's my excuse. No matter what happens in my day, I SHOULD find time to clear something-even if it's just an hour, or even a half hour. I cannot even walk in my basement without stepping over things. I look at it and think--Oh no way-I can't deal with this today. Maybe another day. Right- and here we are literally years later......😣

Try not to look at it as - I'm going to spend an hour tidying! That's too broad. I started with - I'm going to straighten up this desk and throw away anything on it that I don't need. Or - I'm going to get all this washing ironed and packed away.

I don't make a plan to 'tidy' I just plan to get a task done. Occasionally it leads to another which is always fun, but it still gets one task done at a time which is very satisfying.

Why isn't anything this "simple" to me? It can never be just what you said. Because then I go from clearing the table, to putting away paperwork, to washing dishes, then I see something else, and wander off. So it's like no one thing ever gets finished. I can't tell you how many things are out right now, unfinished. :-( I HAVE TO get my s### together!!!

There are no rules saying you have to finish what you started to do. Look around you right now. If you see an item, say a shirt that needs to be folded, or a piece of paper that needs filing or throwing away, go and do that now. Don't think about the fact that it needs to be done, just do it as soon as the thought of doing so pops into your head. That is a completed task. Now look around again. Repeat the instructions. If you spend all your time thinking about what needs to be done, you will always be thinking about what needs to be done. It will make you overwhelmed and anxious. Just do each thing as soon as you think of it. Break it down to one item if you need to. I know how difficult it seems and I I don't want to sound like I'm being condescending because that is definitely not my intention. Your struggling not because you can't do it, but because your brain is trying to do everything at once. It's just not possible but it's putting up a roadblock that is physically stopping you from achieving what you want to do.

You are not being condescending. I totally appreciate your honest answer, and know that you are right!! I have to say this, and I HOPE a lot of people read this. I live in the U.S. I know most of you ( not all), live in the U.K. Years before this, I had been on sites like this where people were from the U.S. A LOT of the time, people were fighting with each other on there. People were rude. People gave snarky answers. I got off. I couldn't take it. I found this site and have experienced a total differrnce from the U.S. based sites. I think I belong with you guys, rather than all these rude Americans!! Lol. And I've ALWAYS had a thing for the British accent anyway!! Lol. Just had to say that. Here's the problems-1)Everything doesn't have a home. Because of limited space, I get stuck just pulling something out, and not knowing where to put it. 2) It's work!! Lol. Something might need to go either upstairs, downstairs, or in the outside shed. It's time consuming as EVER. And I must say that I HATE going in the basement or the shed. I avoid it whenever possible. 😣😔

I'm thankful to read this thread. I know why I can't get rid of stuff and see that I somehow (even baby steps) need to push through. I always feel so alone in my struggles. Evidently - I'm not.

Downandout123 in reply to car103

Oh you are DEFINITELY not alone!! It's like we know what to do, we just can't do it. The indecisiveness on what to keep and what to let go is maddening. Of course, unfortunately to say, most things become a keeper, because we just can't make up our minds. :-( There's ALWAYS that " What if I need it one day " mentality.

Ultimately, “when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change,” you will change. Until then, things remain the same and no suggestion, help or direction given will be of much use.

This is an old concept, but very accurate.

Good luck to you as you ponder this!

Thank you so much!

Of course! Had to ponder this truth many times in many areas of my life!

To a certain extent yes. Papers, some craft stuff, pencils etc :) I have also collected clothes over the years, I kid myself they may help me feel better.

I've been at it again since early this afternoon. OMG-the things I am finding!! I'm like-"Ohhhhh-THAT'S where it was!!! 😣 Does anyone know how to put sliding closet doors back on their tracks at the bottom? One of my closets has had the doors off the track for a long time. It drives me CRAZY, and I just CANNOT get it back on right! ( There is nothing blocking the track now, which is why it got pushed out to begin with).🙄

Do you know why you tend to keep all this stuff? You say you are 1 of a largish family so did you ever get to keep anything when you were young. Maybe working out why you find it hard to throw things away will help you decide what you want to keep and why. After that it may be easier to get rid of some of it. Good Luck.

Downandout123 in reply to Hwhme

Thank you! No, I think you got me confused with someone else. I have 2 older brothers. I was the only girl. And I really have no idea why I do it, other than the excuse-"I might need it one day". Also, my parents weren't hoarders.

Sorry for the mistake. I hope you can find the motivation you need soon.

Downandout123 in reply to Hwhme

Thank you! Right now, I'm motivated. Tomorrow is another story. 🙄

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