Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The euphoria did not last long at all.

When Peter hopped into the car yesterday afternoon, I told him what I had been doing all morning.

He was excited to see his cleaned out room but first we had to go to a basketball game and then we grabbed some dinner and when we finally got home he raced (well, Peter is a bit of a turtle so he didn't actually race but he did go at a quicker than turtle speed) upstairs to check out his room.

He was very happy with how things looked.

But then Sarah exclaimed, "Look at the bonus room!  What a mess!"

Peter raced (this time he did actually race) down the hall because he knew all of his stuff was in there.

And then he immediately came down from his clean room euphoria and reality struck his little hoarder heart hard.

I started explaining the piles and how he could shift some things around but I was hoping that more things would go out of the house than would stay (ha, such wishful mama thinking).

He started checking out the piles and immediately picked something up from the donate pile and exclaimed, "You can donate this!  Uncle Bob gave this book to me and wrote in it!" 

I told him that's why everything was in the bonus room so that he could sort through it himself. 

His brow furrowed and a look of concern crossed his face.  I almost felt like I was watching an episode of A&E's Hoarders.  You know the part when they have the cleanup crew there and the hoarder starts watching all of their prized possessions being thrown into the dumpsters and they freak out?

Peter didn't necessarily freak out the way the hoarders do, but he did get upset.  He started giving reasons why certain items should stay saying he felt bad that he didn't play with/use something more often or in some cases even at all.  Or how he didn't want to get rid of something because someone gave it to him. He was in turmoil.

I convinced him to finish his homework and get a shower and not to worry about it but at bedtime he told me how he was feeling again.  He went to bed when I told him we would start sorting through things after school and that it would all be okay.

He woke me up at 11:45 saying his stomach hurt and he felt like throwing up.  He never did but I honetly believe the worry about his stuff had his stomach in knots.

So, I have a feeling we will be keeping more than we donate although I'm going to try to encourage him to let go of as much unused/unneeded stuff as possible.  Otherwise, I've become an enabler!  And I don't want him to be encumbered but stuff throughout his adult life.  If it is something he is no longer using and no longer needs then we need to get rid of it - even if I gave it to him under the guise of Santa Claus.  Especially if it is something that someone else could be using!

Wish me well, folks!  This is going to be as hard as I thought.

7 comments:

Unknown said...

Talk through the categories of things versus feelings with him. He's conflicted about the feelings-regret over what didn't work out, the intent behind a gift, etc. Part of growing up is realizing that we handle things and situations imperfectly. We are not always going to be the best caretakers of what we have, we will not maximize everything we once had great hope for. That's OK. Part of growing up is coming to terms with that and creating space in our physical and mental lives and blessing others with things that might be a help to them.

Speak about it in terms of your own life--clothes or projects or books that no longer (or ever) made sense. You are allowed to free yourself from those expectations and items to focus on who you are today and what allows you to grow. He isn't failing because these things no longer fit his life and those who love him would be OK with him moving on from what has outlasted its usefulness./

Madeline said...

Poor Peter and everyone in your family. It's going to be hard but you'll get there.

Diane Teague said...

Praying you can get through this without too much stress on either one of you.

Jamie said...

I love this site: http://www.aslobcomesclean.com/ for her decluttering tips. Maybe that would help Peter?

Billie Jo said...

Beth...
I went through this with Madison!
And I finally came to a conclusion...she needed the things for her peace of mind.
So I got some Rubbermaid tubs, we put the things in them, labeled them and stored them in the basement.
She knew she still had them. She was happy.
I didn't have to see the clutter. I was happy.
And eventually...she grew older and became a minimalist!!!!
Hang in there! : )

Mari said...

I did the same thing as Billie Jo - put things in tubs in the basement. Andy was ok because it was still around, but then he outgrew it and we got rid of stuff. Good luck!

Suburban Correspondent said...

Let him keep all of it - box it up and store it in the attic. He will never look for any of it, and you can dump it when he leaves for college. It's the decision-making that is overwhelming for him. Let's face it - he didn't ask about any of the stuff you threw away, right?