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Moms Talk: The Issue of Purging and Hoarding

Where did all this stuff come from?

I saw a recent episode of Hoarding: Buried Alive and I thought that I have a couple of rooms that could be candidates for the next show.

Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration, but truly the stuff just seems to appear. I find things, and parts of things, that I’ve never seen before and that my kids claim they didn’t bring into the house. That leaves our dog as the only suspect.

My younger son is a bit of a hoarder and I find mystery items on his desk, under the bed, on the floor of his closet, in the car, in his backpack.

There’s a bike in my yard that my kids say don't belong to their friends, sports stuff in the garage for sports my kids don’t play, coats & sweatshirts we’ve never seen before. And you know you have too much stuff when you come across unopened toys or games and clothes that still have tags on them that you got as birthday or Christmas gifts. 

So it’s time for spring cleaning. At least it’s easier these days to get rid of things than years ago. My mom always kept a running box for Good Will in the basement.

“Why throw something out if someone can use it?” was a motto I was raised with and now I’m thrilled if I post something on Craigslist and someone who really needs it responds. Instead of just dumping a box of miscellaneous stuff in the church clothing dumpster, if you post a specific item, especially with a photo, you can often find someone right in a nearby town that wants it.

This is especially helpful with bigger items.

I had an unused foosball table in the basement. I offered it to a few friends but no one wanted it. Within 15 minutes of posting it on Craigslist for $25 I had five responses and someone picked it up that afternoon! I also had a couch that didn’t sell, but as soon as I posted it under “free” I had numerous emails in response.

I had a couple of wooden shelves in good shape, a small table, and two lamps I wanted to move and found that the on Franklin Avenue takes donations with all proceeds going to local charities.  It was a great feeling to drop these things off there for worthwhile causes.

Carisa Giardino (Editor) March 30, 2011 at 04:30 PM
I couldn't agree with you more Patty! I got married five years ago. A husband, dog and two-and-a-half year old later, I'm astonished by the amount of stuff we've accumulated! I donate gently used clothes, shoes, etc. whenever I can to local organizations. This past Saturday, I donated bridesmaid dresses to the 17th annual prom boutique, a joint venture between Nassau Community College students and the Long Island Volunteer Center which gives the dresses to local girls in need. It feels good to purge my closets and give back at the same time!
Cindy Springsteen March 30, 2011 at 04:34 PM
Time is a major factor for me the Queen of hoarding. There never seem to be enough hours in the day to get rid of all that I need to. What winds up happening is it things wind up in a box or bag and mysteriously wind up in my garage or our ready to fall down attic. After a full week of working, taking care of kids, animals, running to sports games for kids, food shopping and keeping up with the house the last thing I feel like doing on the weekend is clean out the garage or the attic from beyond..... I do always come up with a plan such as when the kids are off school we can attempt, yet the vacation will pass and we are still staring at the same piles. There is always hope, we just may attack it during the Spring Break, lol.
Cynthia Litman March 30, 2011 at 04:43 PM
Patty, so funny you are talking about this as lately I feel like the garbage collector! Every time I go out for a walk, I'm picking up other people's trash - my latest acquisition are 2 kids outdoor chairs!! I could definitely use some purging!!
Alexandra Zendrian March 30, 2011 at 05:45 PM
I have definitely become a hoarder myself. Between acquiring a lot of stuff for college that then came back home and never got sorted, the stuff definitely adds up. I was wondering if you all have solutions for getting rid of things. I find myself having a hard time parting with items or feeling guilty about throwing something out. I donate clothing, but are there any space saving solutions or ways to get rid of things?
Alexandra Zendrian March 30, 2011 at 05:45 PM
How do you best attack the piles of stuff, Cindy? Is it taking a day and just throwing everything unnecessary out? What's your trick?
Alexandra Zendrian March 30, 2011 at 05:46 PM
That's great that you donated your bridesmaids dresses. Good work Carisa.
Cindy Springsteen March 30, 2011 at 05:49 PM
Depending what it is like the kids old video games, vhs tapes, cd's, dvd's etc. I sell on Amazon Marketplace which is a great way to get rid of and make a couple dollars. It also helps motivate the kids to get rid of stuff, because I give them a commission for getting rid of all their piles. When it comes to other stuff, I try to find a way to donate to church if possible. It is hard to get rid of things as like you said you feel guilty, but when you get in a getting rid of mode it seems easier.
Cynthia Litman March 30, 2011 at 06:16 PM
Right, I forgot about the college stuff!! come to think of it, I've got excess high school, college, law school and baby stuff!! I feel the same way, as "you never know!" when you might want something or because of a sentimental value. The UJA is doing a Dressy Dress drive where they are collecting "dresses" to disseminate to high school students for the prom who couldn't otherwise afford to buy dresses. This changed by view and prompted me to do some spring cleaning.
Patty Knap March 30, 2011 at 06:24 PM
So at least I'm not the only one! We joke at my house that someone must come in during the night and drop some stuff off and take some other stuff...that would account for the things that disappear and we're perpetually looking for!
Alexandra Zendrian March 30, 2011 at 07:02 PM
The commission idea is really smart.

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