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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2015

    Clutter / Procrastination Mum

    More than anything I feel like I need to speak to people who also live with parents or a family member who is a clutter hoarder and start things and never finish them.

    I live with my mum and brother, for my whole life all i've ever known is living in clutter - build up of letters that never get opened, if not left by the door they are put in a bag which is placed on top of other bags that havn't been opened for years. There is clutter in every corner of the house. Many a task - diy - remains unfinished. 4 years ago my mum recieved a lump of money from a house sale and used it to add a conservatory to the back of the house - currently there is no flooring, no paint on the walls, no radiator installed (purchased but never installed) - it has couches covered in sheets to prevent them from sun damage, which the cats are the only ones able to use them. The whole area is covered in plants - like a personal greenhouse - there is always an excuse as to why they can't be planted outside. When she changed jobs she used it to store all her paperwork, which is still in the boxes from 4 years ago, wet, mouldy and covered in dust and cobwebs. I have no idea what to do to get her to finish what she started - I have a floor for her, my boyfriend will take time off work to fit it for a small cost which I am going to pay for - but because the plants and the mess is all over the room the work just cannot happen. Any attempt to discuss it ends up with 'yes, I will get onto it' = 4 years later nothing has changed except more plants.

    During the 4 years she started to repaint the bathroom - as it currently stands it is halfway between the old colour and the new and no end in sight to have it finished. Again, any time I bring it up (which isn't often) I get 'yes, I will get onto it, I've been so busy'.

    My mum is a teacher, so I understand she has no time during term time to do the work. But she has regular 2 week holidays and a 6 week break at summer. I have never ever seen her use this time to even bother cleaning a single bag of letters. I have sat her down once and we went through a bag - almost everything could potentially be needed in future and so must be kept. In the end I have gone through countless bags of letters and shredded them and recycled them without her seeing them, but knowing I am doing it. She lets me do it, but she wont do it herself. I run my own fitness and beauty business, so its very difficult to find the time - recently it took me 5 days over a month to clear one corner of bags - I got 10 fully packed recycle bags out of it. Satisfying but frustrating, as I see the potential to have less clutter and how good that would feel for everyone, yet she never ever ever even picks up a bag!! She gets so defensive about it and calls me cranky or naggy. As a teen I was so embarrased to have friends over, none of my friends had houses that were messy, and I couldn't understand why ours was. I still struggle to understand her need to live like this.

    Which brings me to the reason why I needed to post this, to share this with anyone, to vent, to stop myself from completely breaking down.

    My mum has decided to re-do the kitchen. Her plans and drawings are ambitious as always - we need to have a wall removed. She has booked for the wall to come down on the 29th Feb. The steels have been ordered and the workman booked. Currently she has not even ordered a kitchen, not organised who will fit it, where we will get the tiles from - nothing has been finalised! She is putting a great pressure on my brother and I by doing so. The kitchen is so cluttered - 6 cupboards in our kitchen are only usable at the front due to the amount of things in them. Old food that is in packets or cans, never opened or seen the light of day for 10 years. We have to sort through and pack it all up - but considering the clutter in the rest of the house - where is this going to go?? In the opposing room, we have our chinchillas, these need to moved into the living room as they will no longer have a home when the wall is removed. Then we need to have a cabinet built in a corner for them to live on with all of their food etc. More things to sort! I have tried to tell her she cannot get this done in under 2 weeks - one corner of letters took me 5 days! She has a half term (1 week hols) and said she will do it then - given her track record of promises I doubt this is even going to be remotely done by then. And even if, by some miracle, we clear it out and the wall is removed, we are left with a shell of a kitchen, no space to prepare food, microwave, toaster, kettle - where are they going to go? We use them daily. It would be fine if the kitchen units were ordered and everything was set and ready to go - kitchen units alone are on a 6 week wait time, thankfully my boyfriend has offered to fit the kitchen units for a fraction of all the quoted prices we have received, but we don't have a plumber or electrician sorted to install the appliances. She hasn't even sorted the finances for the kitchen. Telling her in any way that this is too soon, that we cannot live with a wall missing and kitchen clutter everywhere while she procrastinates on everything else! She calls me cranky and says she's going to bed.

    I feel like I cannot get through to her - she won't listen to how this is going to affect my mental health or the running of the household. I think all I need is to get some support from people living with people like my mum - sometimes its so hard to cope I cry from the anguish I feel. I haven't had friends over in years, and I never stay here with my boyfriend, it embarresses me so much to show him the house.

    Any support would be greatly appreciated. I love my mum, but I can't deal with what could happen, it upsets me thinking about it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Somewhere over the rainbow!

    Re: Clutter / Procrastination Mum

    Welcome to Lifesupporters, lunarbutterfly!

    I don't know if hoarding can be classified as an illness, but what I do believe, for sure, once the accumulation of things gets too much for a person doing that, it gets overwhelming and then it seems like it's even impossible to find a place to start. My beloved Mom was like that, if she liked a recipe she kept the whole newspaper, and that was just one example. A busy life for a person that procrastinates is another add-on. I find that I procrastinate myself and get a touch overwhelmed when I put things off.

    Maybe others can provide much better help than I can, but I do understand it in a way, though not totally. Not having much as a child may also contribute to keeping these things as a way of some security? That was in the form of a question because it's just a thought I don't have the answer to.

    Is it possible to talk with her and be more loving than confrontational? Another question as it's very difficult to do when the situation seems so out of control.

    Please keep posting so we can learn how you've found a way to deal with it, got some professional help for her, or received some great advice. It certainly will help others going through the same problem.
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

    True love is wanting to give to another person without any thought about
    who’s getting the better of the deal.

    Love always creates, it never destroys. In this lie's man's only promise

    ~All quotes by Leo Buscaglia

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