Living with messy person or hoarder? Sometimes I get so discouraged.

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  1. #1 Jan 11, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
    I don’t know if people who are messy are oblivious to the messes they create. I am trying to declutter my life. Hubby is a hoarder. He is a messy person. After all these years I really think there is no hope. I try so hard and sometimes literally feel like there is no progress. I am working in the kitchen today. I switched my canned goods pantry which was in a white IKEA bookshelf back to the pantry closet and put the pots and baking dishes in the IKEA bookshelf. It looks great and organized. Threw out all the expired food. Got rid of misc junk, things like extra plastic cups, misc. plastic containers and have a box of cooking items I will never use for the thrift shop. Will continue with all cabinets and shelves this week because I feel I can simplify my life more. They look pretty good but I have things I know serve no use to me.

    But as I organize I look at all this stuff. Like one needs 6 boxes of Cheerios in the cabinet. And of course the 16 large bags of Starbucks coffee with good and expired dates because one can never have too much coffee. I don’t drink coffee..... add things like 8 rolls of plastic food wrap when nobody uses it???? Add the three coffee makers on his coffee counter but he prefers the French press I just bought him which I keep by the sink and wash right after use. Not to mention the cases of soda because we have a holiday party and two people drink soda. I sometimes feel like all I do is rearrange things. It gets depressing.

    Perhaps I am in a sad mood today because I and the whole house have been sick since Christmas with horrible colds and feel like I can’t catch up with things. I love to organize and have everything in its spot. I have no problem getting rid of things. I can donate or throw out with no regrets. I spend two days literally cleaning my college age kids bathroom because I want to repaint it. I went through the closet, all drawers and under the two sink cabinets and got rid of so much junk. Towels are folded and organized to loook perfect. Supplies and skin hair stuff are organized and in plastic baskets. Then I did part of my daughters room (to surprise her). She is coming home this weekend so I mopped her floor, made her bed and dusted around her desk and TV. She takes care of her own room and I hardly ever do anything but bought all these nice cleaning products and wanted to have her wood floors and room smell nice.

    I think the main problem is hubby is a dropper and does not see the mess he makes no matter how many times I ask him not to do it. Does one not see 6 plus pairs of shoes by their chair? Why are you wearing all these different shoes in the same style when you work from home and don’t go out? Does anyone live with droppers? If on could hang their coat in the closet versus the coat rack which looks like a mountain. Does one need to hang 6 coats and sweatshirts on it and not notice the bulk of them sticking out. I don’t know if one should laugh or cry. We plan on moving so I say the whole house needs to be uncluttered and he says he is on board and sometimes seems motivated but he will als freak out sometimes when I throw something minor out. I have had to sneak things in the garbage so he doesn’t see me get rid of stuff.

    Ok my rant is over. Looking for some stories to know I am not alone.
    Lubina, keywi100 and jimmie staton like this.
  2. Seem to be underlying issues at play.
    Probably best to discuss directly with spouse or trusted therapist.
    More private & helpful, imo.
    Best luck.
    jellyv, Dooneysta and fabuleux like this.
  3. I agree, I think you need to discuss this with your husband. Other thoughts I had whilst reading:
    - it’s his home too, and tbh he doesn’t sound too bad to me
    - when you decide to reorganise things, move stuff and clear stuff out does anyone else in the house get to have a say?

    I don’t want to be unkind, but this reads as being all about what you want and how you’ve decided things should be organised without regard to your husbands feelings. You need to have a discussion and be ready to compromise IMO.
  4. I am the messmaker. :frown:
    F a e, Jenna989, Dooneysta and 2 others like this.
  5. husband almost never hangs anything in the closet. clothes go on floor or top of hamper or on coat tree or hooks on back of bathroom door. worst is when he hangs something on the bed post. shoes go where he takes them off - usually in dining area. same with socks.

    he doesn't care about mess but cares a lot about cleanliness. always pointing out thing to me that need to be cleaned. our poor kitty has a chronic ear problem. sometimes he scratches his ear and it bleeds, causing blood spots on floor, walls, etc. I call DH blood police.

    He also has a hoarding problem. Hard to get him to let go of old stuff. but since we moved, he has gotten a bit better about that. had to pick and choose what to move. now have lot of stuff to donate or sell.
  6. It is what it is and is not going to change unless your husband wants to change. You have zero control over another person. I suggest you get counseling to figure this out. Good luck.
    Lori1116 and Lake Effect like this.
  7. Reading this takes me back to my marriage vows “For better or worse”. Honestly, thank your lucky stars that is the worst habit. He loves you, supports you and your endeavors, is loyal, etc.....?
    When I get frustrated I think of these positive endorsements and my frustration quickly subside.
    I hope this helps❤️
    whateve and Shopgirl1996 like this.
  8. right
    I get a bit annoyed picking up after DH but he works hard around here and fixes everything for me
    Shopgirl1996 likes this.
  9. Go to some counseling, both of you.
    I must disagree with implications you ought to deal with it and are being unreasonable. Or as long as he’s not cheating on you or smacking you, hoarding isn’t that bad. Not being mistreated is kinda the baseline expectation. I mean, sure, it’s definitely great if he is practically perfect in every way other than this and there is a part of truth in what they’re saying about that. But you also may be underselling the level of ‘mess’ here for various reasons, and an unbiased visitor to your home, would say ‘whoa, this house is headed for a visit from the city’.
    If it’s causing you distress and he makes no effort to not cause distress even when easy to do so, meaning if he can’t even give you ONE thing, then it IS something that needs to get addressed.
    ‘Addressed’ doesn’t mean ‘he should be forced to do everything your way’. Not by a long shot, because it IS true, he also has to live there and think of it as a home.

    But you’re right that it’s not THAT hard to hang a coat in a closet instead of dumping it on the ground or piling it on top of nine other coats on a coat tree. It’s very possible that there’s some underlying neurosis that is manifesting itself as ‘dump my crap anywhere’ and ‘buy too much crap to physically use’ but that doesn’t actually have much in common on the surface with material things or tidiness. In that case, counseling is best. You’re never going to solve a problem that’s not really about shoes by getting frustrated over shoes after all.

    You will probably also receive some benefit, some ways to cope. Some of what you’re describing about yourself is also probably being underdescribed and YOU may also have issues that are manifesting themselves as ‘I love to organize and I need everything to have a spot’ but aren’t REALLY about that at the core. So you can address those, can learn ways to compromise and ways he can get behind to organize that he can benefit from but that you can also live with. From the right counselor. I want to say there ARE therapists who specialize in hoarding/gathering/messiness/whatever you want to call it.
    Good luck. It IS difficult to solve without help.
    Sparkletastic and anitsirk like this.
  10. maybe I should re-read OPs post to try to see if she seems that distressed but I'm wondering if maybe she's just venting and it's not a reason for therapy.
    zinacef, keywi100, eckw and 1 other person like this.
  11. I'm the mess maker in our house. DH isn't super neat but he doesn't like having a lot of possessions and he has no qualms about throwing anything away. I'm lucky that DH usually doesn't complain. I clean up when I feel like it rather than being bugged to do it.

    I stock up on things we use so I don't have to worry about running out. I'll buy DH 10 boxes of wheat chex when it is on sale. (He usually goes through a box a week) To me, that is smart because I save money over waiting until we run out and possibly having to pay more for it.

    I feel there are better things to do most of the time than organize and clean. I am currently organizing our closet, but that is because I felt like doing it. My daughter once dated a man who was a compulsive cleaner. When they cooked dinner, he made them wash the pots before they sat down to eat.

    I don't think you can change a person from one type to another. When my father died, my sister immediately collected up stuff and threw away or donated. I agonized over everything. I didn't like the idea of throwing his life away. I felt like someone should appreciate his stuff, especially personal things like his photo albums.
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  12. #12 Jan 13, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
    I don’t necessarily mean ‘therapy’ like full-on psychiatry, but maybe.
    Mostly I mean counseling like the counselor I suggested at the end that specialize in showing people ways to compromise on household organizing, how to not buy so much stuff, how to address hoarding, etc.
    It’s not a problem to have ten boxes of every food item- I do that sometimes myself... but if ninety percent of it is expiring and unused like is being described, and they’ve already talked about it, he might need some outside help to curb it. He obviously doesn’t consider it a problem, but if she weren’t there cleaning it up, it sounds like they’d eventually have four hundred boxes of weevil-ridden stale years-old food around, which DOES seem disordered.
    She is saying she’s brought stuff up, pointed stuff out (might or might not have been done in a healthy constructive way) but that he has not made an effort to meet her even part way.
    IF that’s true, it does seem like they should talk to someone. It does seem to me to be stressing her out a little beyond ‘that durn man!! I just can’t get him trained!’ I’ve got several family members who are like him in the buy-loads-of-stuff-that-never-gets-touched-and-ends-up-going-to-waste, one of whom is lucky to live alone because the stuff DOES take up enough room (and ends up in odd places, like on the sofa) that were there a spouse, that person would be likely to experience a fair amount of stress.
    Sometimes this stuff, like I was saying, is not ‘really’ about being too messy or being too neatnik. This kind of thing is true of many issues. To make an unrelated example, if you ask someone ‘what are the things that would make you suspect a child had been sexually abused’, they might say, ‘maybe they’ll be afraid of the guy? Maybe they’ll start acting ‘sexual?’ Which can be true, but they won’t typically say ‘well, I bet they’d stop brushing their teeth and bathing properly’, but a lack of personal hygiene is actually a huge red flag. They are subconsciously attempting to make themselves unappealing to the abuser, but kids often have not made this connection consciously, and most observers just say, ‘damn, that kid reeks; don’t they have running water at his house? Who lives like that?’
    And I don’t use this example to imply this situation is ‘like that’, it’s just an example of a behavior that has a seemingly unrelated cause.
    People might develop an unhealthy need to have everything in a certain spot all the time for reasons other than just admiring Martha Stewart a lot, that they haven’t really thought about.
    You might be messy even when you know it’s a problem because you are passive-aggressive. Or you might just be a slob. If it’s becoming a huge problem, someone might need to offer some outside perspective. The outside perspective might very well BE: calm down, nothing here is that cluttery, you’re wound a little tight about it.
    It’s also very much a possibility she might just be venting and need nothing else. It reads to ME like there’s more between the lines, but an occasional online crabbing and nothing else required would certainly be the desired scenario!!
  13. #13 Jan 13, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
    I am not a control freak. I just want a neat house. Not OCD neat like some of my friends are who literally get upset with a drop of water on a counter or floor. And they have slapped or yelled at their kids and spouse for this too. I can make jokes like put your cups in the sink versus the wooden end tables. I just would like things put away in perhaps the same room they would belong in.

    Dropping 6 plus coats in piles and leaving them there for weeks versus hanging them up in the front door open closet rack or a few steps away to the double closet does not take a effort. I have literally picked up 10-15 pairs of shoes from various rooms just thrown under furniture of left to trip on. Using 5-6 or more individual coffee cups in one day and leaving them everywhere from the counters, side tables to even the upper thin metal shower ledge. Who drinks coffee in the shower?

    Hubbys parents were hoarders and they had a lot of stuff in their small house but most of it was packed away in large boxes and garbage bags so one did not even know what they owned. I am talking garbage bags under beds and in hallways to walk around. Hubby grew up with not throwing things away. But he moved and went to college and had his own apartments. It is a problem for many people to let go of things even if they serve no use. But it can also be impossible for them to let the things go. I see this with some relatives and friends with the need to keep sentimental things because xxx gave them it or had it in their home even when they don’t like it or will never use it.

    It takes a lot of time to pick up messes and then put the stuff away. My two college age kids are pretty neat. They take care of their own rooms, laundry and stay organized because I think they see the mess their father makes and want to have control over their things. One does feel calmer in a uncluttered room.

    Hubby does not think he has a problem but can be quick to notice things that are not considered his space or possessions. He might walk up the stairs and can see under our daughters bed that their is a piece of dust there and will tell you it is there so someone can clean it. How one notices a tiny piece of dust as a problem to be cleaned now and can’t see ten shoes scattered in a room as something other people might find as a distraction.

    Some people are droppers, the more time I spend with my sister the more I notice she is. I guess since I must always visit her when the maids were there her house always looked like a magazine picture. But now when I spend more time with her I realize she makes huge messes. Piles of stuff thrown in her rooms and closets on the floors, furniture, tables, counters all throughout the house. Because it is easier to just drop then spend the time to hang up or put in a laundry hamper? Maybe the magic fairies clean up at night? I am not a neat freak but like to feel there is some order to a room in hopes that it will have a calm feeling versus being anxiety producing when you sit in it. I don’t like busy rooms which you feel have so many things that don’t belong in that room. One can have clutter in a organized environment. My friend has 500 ++ books on shelves in her family room yet it looks organized because she displays them by size and color on bookcases.

    We want to move and downsize but how does one do this when you need to get things out of the house? For instance a table in the basement with a broken leg glued on. I wanted to use a long folding table which would offer more space in length but is smaller in width so it would go against the wall and be a better work space for two people. Hubby said he couldn’t get rid of the broken wood table because it was his favorite. It’s you drag it to your next house????

    I have tried to talk to hubby for years about his hoarding issues and others have also tried that it is a standing joke with him being a hoarder. But it doesn’t bother him and he feels it is normal. So yes I live with it and deal with it the best I can. But it is frustrating too. Another example is when we moved he wanted to plant some trees. So he buys all these tree seedlings from some garden society for 1.00 each. And planted about 20 trees in the front yard and maybe 30 in the back yard. They have now we have all these really ugly trees. Not pretty flowering trees but trees I would never plant. And each year they get bigger. Kids have complained they have had no yard to play in because of the trees everywhere as they were growing up.

    Because having more of something is better than having a few of the item. It effects every area of your life. And you can’t argue with a person who does this. I can vent. Easy to say go to therapy, I accept him as he is and have had hopes when he has said he wants to unclutter and makes a small bit of progress. It then seems like it is ten steps backwards. I threw a broken curtain rod out the other day, he brought it back inside the house because he thought I might need it. It is broken and in the garbage can. Why is it in the garbage can? To throw out.

    Another example is him wanting me to list quite a few pairs of new boots and shoes on eBay. Due to a foot injury he will never be able to wear them. Who knows how long they were in his closets but they are expensive items and people would buy them. I started to list a few and he wants to take them back because they are really nice boots/shoe and doesn’t want to list the rest of them. But he will not be able to wear them so what would one do with these things in owning them again????

    When your goal together is to downsize and unclutter in order to move to a smaller house how does one accomplish this? The funny part is he keeps trying to say I have all these possessions which take up space in the basement and Out of the 1,400 square foot basement there are maybe a total of 10 bins with items that could be said to be mine. The 50 plus bins of random specialty car parts including a car door, hood and trunk piece take up two rooms and the bathroom down there. The 60 plus specialty tires in the one room In case one needed extra tires might come in handy for the 4 vintage collectible cars he sold in the past 5 years. I believe tires rot after xxx years so why does one save them? There is not a market to sell them. But they sure make a beautiful decorated room that one can not walk through. These are things that you can laugh or cry over because of the insanity of it all.

    The only thing I loved with his hoarding was my huge vegetable garden at a previous house. That was a few years where having more plants were wonderful because I have every vegetable one would ever need and it was relaxing to work in the gardens.
  14. #14 Jan 13, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
    Well, yes, if you’re saying you accept him as he is, then there’s no need for anything else, I suppose.
    If all you want is to know it’s not JUST the two of you, then no, there are a lot of people out there with hoarding disorders to varying degrees and therefore a lot of people living with those people.
    But yes, since you’re accepting it the way it is, then being happy about it or crying about would seem to be all there is to do.

    What you’re saying about his behavior is at odds with your other statement that your mutual goal is to downsize.
    If he says he wants to downsize but then won’t actually do it, that leaves either YOU doing it or seeking outside help so you both can do it together. But you’re saying you don’t want that, so yes, that leaves you. Sorry it stresses you.:hugs:
  15. yes, he sounds worse than my DH
    at least mine only leaves one coffee cup on the bathroom counter
    There must be some things you can talk him out of - like the multiple coffee cups? unless he's totally being passive-aggressive
    Dooneysta likes this.