Buried Alive…Sorta…

Disclaimer: This is totally a rant! Bear with me…

I have never been the type of person to hold on to things.  In fact, I have always been the complete opposite.  If I haven’t used something in a few months, it more often than not has made it’s way to some landfill out in Staten Island or Brooklyn or into someone’s home via one of those donation boxes at our local gas station.  I will admit to keeping 4 separate shoe boxes full of things from the 4 significant relationships that I have been in, and 1 other shoebox that has some of the first pictures I took, letters from friends in high school (you know, original text messages that you passed or threw across the classroom as the teacher wrote something on the chalkboard), and programs from graduations and school musicals I’ve been in.  I can’t let go of these boxes (even though I know I probably should) for reasons that I can’t understand, but that’s besides the point.

I grew up in a house where my mother had very obvious, and very intense undiagnosed OCD.  It’s possible that my OCD is a learned behavior. I can acknowledge that.  Our house was so clean and organized that you would never think that 5 kids and 2 adults lived there.  We had glass tables (never a fingerprint), white walls (not a scuff mark was ever to be seen) and light gray couches (they were and STILL are immaculate even after a grandchild too).  There were never dishes in the sink, never a hair on our bathroom floor, and everyone did their share.  If something was out, that meant someone was using it, otherwise, it also made its way to said landfill.  My mother did NOT play that!  I like things organized and in their place.  I don’t see the need to have a ton of unnecessary things to clutter my space.

Living with someone that has the COMPLETE opposite idea of this is very difficult, but it’s even more trying when one is moving.  Callie is what I often call a Baby Hoarder.  She has the potential to fill a home to the brim with “garbage”.  A collector of things, a “One mans trash/another mans treasure” kinda person.  “We are gonna need this someday” kinda lady, and that makes me absolutely out of my mind!  This past week has been taxing both physically and emotionally for us.  With respite care for a friends 7 month old foster son, the Gender Reveal Party (haven’t forgotten to post about that, just haven’t gotten my computer set up yet), planning/packing for our Anniversary/Babymoon vacation this coming Saturday, a 9 month old with a stomach bug throwing up all over the place, a 6 year old with a buttload of homework, and no time or ability to just sit and relax and have an un-rushed kiss, this move has not been easy.  It took us a total of 5 days to move out of the old apartment.  We are completely and finally out after 5 long, drawn out, exhausting days. The lack of sleep, love, food and belly rubs for my twins (several times I even FORGOT that she was pregnant-seriously!) has made me less tolerant of Callie’s “collecting“.

I did the unthinkable (in her eyes, not mine)!  As I was organizing and putting things away, I threw out a ton of stuff.  Most of it was hers, like the 29 lotions that she’s had since before we were even together (the same lotions have traveled to 3 different apartments in 4 years and have never been used…ever! I mean, who in the hell has Celine Dion lotion anyways? I’m not even gonna wait for an answer to that one), the 7 curling irons, the dozens and dozens of freebies from hotels/motels that she has traveled to, the 14 containers of floss, and that’s just a quarter of the stuff that was in our 2x2x2ish bathroom cabinet!  I don’t even want to get into the medicine cabinet, which my best friend Nikki had dubbed “The Booby Trap” because there is so much stuff in there that you can’t open it without a minimum of 10 things falling out.  In our old apartment, there was stuff in every corner in one box or another. I mean, it was organized but it was starting to become to much. So I have been patient, kind, and gentle in my approach every year for the past 4 years.  I have asked nicely and I have done my best to be compassionate and considerate, but I’ve had it! We have 2 kids at home and 2 on the way.  We have enough shit for 20 people to last 20 years, and I don’t know how else to emphasize the importance and the need for space.  So I took it upon myself to start to “make room”.  Call it Non-Belly Mama Nesting or whatever! Believe me when I tell you, it was not received well.  I get it! I was an asshole and inconsiderate, and violated trust because “it wasn’t my stuff to get rid of” but it took me 4 YEARS to get there, and I’m over it!   Currently, she isn’t speaking to me.  I insist she’ll get over it, she reiterates that she will not. She can’t even name the things I threw out!  If someone had thrown out my things I would be able to name every item, where it came from , how long I’ve had it, how I acquired it, and a ton of other facts about it.  It’s a violation of trust (I suppose), but is my need to keep things organized and clutter free any less valid? Are we not in this together and supposed to come to some type of compromise?  I don’t have a problem keeping lotion, like 2 or 3 or 5, but not 29! This is going to be a crazy uphill battle of getting rid of things in an apartment that has 2 less closets (that were used for storage by the way, and that’s not even including the 6×10 storage unit that we ALREADY have [where I have 1 box and 2 camping bins and a tent]) and a nursery that needs to be started in a month and has boxes covering even the windows! I hope we can come to an agreement about getting rid of some things or I can foresee me sleeping on the couch for a couple of nights!

On a bright note, the following rooms are completely set up and clutter free:
-Both bathrooms
-The master bedroom
-Mary’s bedroom
-The Living Room
-The game closet

Still left to do:
-The Kitchen (sorting through 5 different plate/mug sets–who needs 17 plates for 3 people? Sheesh! OK, I’m doing it again!)
-The Nursery (and it’s millions and billions of boxes!)

This vacation is soooooo needed!

29 thoughts on “Buried Alive…Sorta…

  1. I feel for you, I really do. I’m like Callie- holding on to tons of unnecessary stuff (omg the lotions- that’s totally me!), and DW is very much like you (minimalist, clutter-free, tidy). We struggle with finding balance within this, but have some “rules” in place which totally help. First off, if I buy something that I already have one of, I have to throw an equivalent item out. Example: buy a new lotion? Bye bye Celine Dion. It’s my pick, but I have to do it before the new item can enter the house. Also, with consumables like lotions, shampoos, DW lays them out so that I am aware that their sheer number is bugging her, and together we try to preferentially use them up so that they are out of the house. My big problem is clothes. I have taken over 3 bedrooms with them. She has me try on my clothes seasonally, and usually I end up donating a ton because they don’t fit well or are looking grubby or I’m simply over it. Anyways, moving is always a clusterfuck. It is super stressful, and makes us all sensitive to “stuff” that we own. Hopefully being done (almost) will provide you both with some satisfaction. Enjoy the baby moon! Can’t wait to hear about it!

    • It’s tough because we HAVE talked about boundries and “rules” in regards to keeping stuff, but it seems to work for a short period of time before it all goes out the window…I guess like everything else, it’s a work in progress! I admit it was kinda foul to throw some of the stuff out, but we’ve been talking about getting rid of these lotions and “sorting through some stuff” for like 4 years now! I couldn’t take it anymore! I was wrong, whatever! LOL! But my back from sleeping on the couch is telling me I should probably not do that again…

  2. I’m like you: I throw things away/donate if I haven’t used it in 6 months or more. I can’t even IMAGINE that many lotion bottles – would drive me insane! I hope she gets over the loss of her Celine Dion & hotel lotions (amongst other things) soon. Perhaps she will realize she’d never miss them in the first place.

  3. Haha – I’m a Callie, Toku is more like you but not so ‘bad’ fortunately! She is a neat freak – and I’m messy as – well it’s hard not to be with solo much stuff. So our ‘discussions’ are more over housework than possessions. I am quite OCD (and I’m not using that in a flippant way) with some things – e.g. need all cupboards, drawers etc closed at all times…however I can sit at the kitchen table reading a book or working on my laptop and not even notice the dirty dishes from last nights dinner. Whereas the wife cannot relax in a room (or do anything else at all) until it is spotless. So ummm yeah – I drive her to distraction as I’ll jump up to close a drawer and need to move a stack of dishes to get to it – but are not remotely fazed by the dishes lol.

  4. Ugh. I could have written this post before our last move. I found horse racing programs from the early 1980s. Not important mementos, just in case my partner needed to “look something up someday”. Welcome to the online world, buddy. Out they (and scads of clothes, pens, dishes, small appliances, and God knows what else) went. It took me 5 years to get there, too. Hoping you two smooth it over soon or at least on the babymoon. That said I find it fascinating how as humans we select partners who will challenge us so deeply in areas that cut to the core if who we believe ourselves to be. There goes the former Sociologist in me talking I guess!

    • She’s kill me if she knew I threw out the potato slicer and the electric can opener…In 4 years I have yet to see her use either of them. She won’t ask for them for another 3 years so i’ll have plenty of time to make something up. And you’re right! This is one of those things that could totally make or break a relationship, because in a sense we’re both right and we are both wrong. Hopefully, it’ll all smooth itself out soon, because she’s pretty freaking pissed at me…This babymoon is totally needed and I hope that it doesn’t get ruined of some damn lotion!

  5. I very much like to keep things, but I also very much need to be organized. There is an ongoing conversation of me “we need to put this stuff somewhere” her “no, we just need less stuff” but the stuff never goes away or never finds home

  6. First, we are the same person.

    Second, this is my life. The Queen is a sentimental person. I’ve found, over a decade together, that it’s really the memories behind the things and much less the actual things. One of the best ways for me to “ease her” into getting rid of things has been to ask why it’s important. Sometimes, she has a long, complicated story about it’s importance and, okay, we’ll save that one for another day or another move but sometimes – SOMETIMES – she comes back and says, “it’s not important at all” or “I don’t even remember where I got this” and we agree it’s probably silly to keep it then.

    We only have so much space. So when The Queen wants new things, the deal is, old stuff has to go. When the kids need new things, the old stuff needs to go. Sometimes, I bribe her. “Would you like a new hair dryer for your birthday? Get rid of the other two.” It can be effective- The Queen likes new stuff.

    This stuff is hard. Kids come with a lot of stuff, even if you’re super minimalistic about it like we are, it just accumulates over time and you start to wonder where it even all came from because surely you didn’t buy it! (And, mostly, we didn’t. People spoil children. It’s a weird, weird thing.)

    Keep talking it out. Keep looking for a compromise. (Can we get rid of things that have expired? Can we replace some bigger items with a photograph of it? Can we donate or sell some stuff to buy new things for our growing family?)

    Hope it all clears for you guys. You’re doing a whole, whole lot and that’s a lot of stress and change. It’ll get better. Be gentle.

    • LOL at bribing her! When I tell you that I have tried damn near everything, I’m not kidding! The “nothing comes in until the old stuff goes out”, turns into boxes and bags of donations that, I kid you not, are still sitting in the trunk of her car 6 months later. Some stuff has been there probably since we got together! And the thing is, she fill us about twice a week, so it’s not like she can’t find a drop bin because it’s at our local gas station. Or the “I can probably use this in the infant/toddler/preschool/pre-k room at my cneter”. Her staff has BEGGED me to not allow her to bring things to the school. They actually THROW IT OUT when she’s not at work. It’s that bad! And i have seen some of the homes of some family members, and I’m telling you, if I don’t stop this now, I will be sleeping on a slanted mattress (because it’s on top of decades of junk!) with 4 kids, a cat, and a small blanket. I’ve been trying but i’m at my wits end with the “collecting”. I promise though, that I will do my best to try to put a plan in place to curb her collecting. Thanks for the advice

  7. I’m mildly hoarder- adjacent. However, I believe in keeping things clean and put away constantly. My wife is someone who never puts things away but she will get rid of stuff that’s not used. So basically we both think each of us is the cleanest one for different reasons.

    • LOL! If that were the case here, then I would be ok with that, ’cause we would balance each other out that way, but when I’m throwing out old food from one apartment, and I open the new pantry and I find the Chocolate Rice Cakes that expired in Feb 2012, I’m like, “Is she freaking serious!?!?! Is she going through the GARBAGE and taking it out!!!! I just freaking can’t!”, that’s when I lose it!

  8. Even though I’m the one with OCD in my relationship (actually, probably BECAUSE I’m the one with OCD), I am also on the “hoarder-adjacent” end of things while my wife is a minimalist. Once she listed a few of my (very old) things (that I didn’t even remember I had) on eBay while I was away. Oh MAN was I upset – not because I wanted to keep my graphing calculator and old iPod speaker, but because I felt that loss-of-control feeling that you spend your life trying to avoid when you have OCD. In the end I was able to realize that my emotions weren’t really directed at my wife, but were a product of my OCD and we were able to move on. But not before having a long talk and laying down ground rules – I acknowledged that I have too much stuff and that I need to compromise on how much I keep in the name of maintaining sanity in our shared home, and she acknowledged that I need to feel an element of control over what stays and goes (so no more secretly listing my possessions on eBay).

    I hope you and Callie find similar peace together! “Stuff” can carry so much emotion behind it. But a cluttered home can too! Nothing like a nice vacation to take your brain and body somewhere else 🙂

    • If I even sold half her stuff on Ebay, i would probably be well on my way to being RICH! J/k! LOL! I think that’s more what it is though, the loss of control. I know how she gets about her things, and it was wrong of me to get rid of it, I know that. But even after I left things for her to go through and get rid of, like the 5 curling irons that I left her, you wouldn’t believe my shock and complete horror when I got home and found 5 curling irons in the bathroom cabinet! So I completely proved my point again that she can not be left to discard things as much as she claims she can! But I hope we can come to some type of conclusion or put some rules in place like some of the ladies have suggested. This vacation is needed! Desperately!

  9. I can totally relate and unfortunately in this situation I would be Callie. I grew up with very little because my parents were addicts. I also had a weight problem, which resulted in me having “temporary” clothes, whether I put weight on or lost it. My wife on the other hand, is you. She lives off her basics. Some of my hoarding ways have rubbed off on her but she put her foot down a long time ago with me and I am proud to say that I too now live with my necessities and very little extras. Not because I can’t have them but because i don’t need them. It took a while for me to get where I am but I can honestly say I don’t miss my messy cluttery ways. I agree, you shouldn’t have thrown out her shit without consult of with her. BUT… like you said if she can’t even name the items that are gone they must not have had any significant purpose. Give her some time to cool off. Maybe buy her a few new lotions, and whatever else you chucked to replace the things that she will so dearly miss. (Skip the Celine Dion though lol). When all is said and done, just set up an agreement. If something isn’t used in 3 months it goes. If you don’t think you’ll use it but you feel you need it then organize it. Trust me those lotions probably smell too hot after 4 yrs anyway lol oh and… get rid of your “baggage” too! (Meaning your boxes of exes) LoL

    • This gives me hope! Thank you! This tunnel is so damn dark that I’m finding it hard to see the light at the end of it!! I know that it’s more about control than anything, and with things having been so crazy the past few weeks, and the added stress of her job (she thinks that the company is out to get rid of her after being the director for over 13 years), she’s feeling it. So i’m gonna do my best to accommodate her “collecting”, and lead by example by ::gulp:: getting rid of some of the few things that I have been holding on to…

  10. Omg I can totally relate! My wife is the exact same way! She has clothes from middle school! Not in a box in the attic but in the closet taking up precious real estate! I hate to tell you -it only got worse with the boys. Now she hoards thier stuff too 😦

  11. I know this was a serious situation, and I’m sorry, but I laughed. My wife and I’s problem isn’t necessarily “hoarding” but it’s getting around to getting rid of stuff we don’t need anymore. We talk about getting rid of things/donating them. It’s just a matter of us needing to not be lazy. (I’m actually guilty of keeping lotion that’s almost empty or no longer needed, ha ha)

  12. Pingback: Asking For Help | thechroniclesofanonbellymama

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