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This Is How You Get Yourself Banned From Part Of Your Own House

We're quickly closing in on the two-year anniversary of moving into our current house. Thinking about that has pretty much lit a fire under my ass and made me want to hurry up and finish some projects. Very high on that list is that thing where I haven't hung much on any of the walls. There are lots of reasons for the delay, but probably #1 on that list is the fact that I'm scared to death of stepping foot in our storage room.

Our storage room is a room in the basement. It used to be a nice little space, as you can see. However, that photo is from before we moved in because there is no way I'm about to take a photo of it now. That would be like taking a photo of yourself that day you wake up with a horrible case of pinkeye, a raging zit in the middle of your forehead, and a cold sore screaming at the world from your bottom lip. You just don't immortalize that nonsense.

Which is all to say that room is TRASHED. It's filled to the ceiling with crap and more crap. About half of it is Christmas decorations, for which I ACCEPT FULL RESPONSIBILITY. It's marvelous being able to store a fully decorated and assembled Christmas tree, so I do. Many times over. And I have tubs and tubs of lights and yard ornaments and blah, blah, blah. I have a lot of Christmas decorations. True story.

The other half of the stuff, however, is mostly a mystery to me. It's boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff that has been packed up for as long as I can remember. Our previous houses were all very small, so at some point we started renting a storage shed. Mr. Husband started making things disappear from the itty bitty house. We moved a few times and more stuff wound up in storage. Then we had a baby and more stuff wound up in storage. Continuously, for fifteen years, he took more and more stuff over to storage. At the time that we bought this house, we had two storage sheds big enough to hold two cars, so somehow a LOT of stuff had wound up over there.

It all got dumped into that room when we moved here.

By the way, have I mentioned that I married a hoarder? Because I did. He would rather move a box back and forth, up and down, and all around than open up that box and figure out if he actually needs the contents. Even more fun, the issue of whether or not the contents are needed is very much so up for debate.

People, my husband saves EVERYTHING. And I do mean E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.

Need some notes from Freshman Biology that were written in 1997? I bet he has them. Looking for the t-shirt that I gave him for his birthday in 1994? It's in his closet. Want a receipt for a cup of coffee that he paid cash for two years ago? It's in a drawer in the dining room.

I'm not exaggerating. Not even a little bit.

So, in my quest to get some art hung on the walls around the house, I had to go into the storage room. I knew that the pictures I wanted were leaning against the wall back in the corner, but in order to get to them, I had to move a few boxes.

I screwed up.

I opened the boxes.

People, 20 minutes later, I had four boxes of trash out in the garage and a very pissed off look on my face. I can't even tell you how ridiculous some of the stuff I found is, except that YES, I CAN. I took photos of a couple of things before I threw them out.

I know. I'm evil. AND?

I would tell you the last time we lived near a Blockbuster, except that I can't actually remember when it was. I think they all closed in Pittsburgh five years ago? Maybe more? I have no clue, but if VHS tapes ever make another run at popularity, I'll be ready to rent them!

While I'm out wandering around looking for a Blockbuster, maybe I'll make a stop at Weirton Steel and walk the halls. It only closed . . . um . . . right after I finished the project that landed me that ID badge. Why was the ID badge shoved in a box and moved around several times over the course of ten years? I couldn't tell you. It certainly wasn't because of the quality of that photograph.

I found DOZENS of those little guys. If you don't know what they are, GET OFF MY LAWN, WHIPPERSNAPPER. I'm sure that's 1.44 MB of really important data, but I'll never know because I don't have a way to open up that disk and find out.

Anybody having a flashback right now? AOL! 6.0! Free download disk! From Target! I don't know why we EVER had it, and I *really* don't know why we've held onto it all of these years. Even more fascinating to me, the sleeve was empty. No CD. Just the sleeve. Maybe I should frame it and try to convince the world that it's some really cool retro art?

I literally threw away four huge boxes of stuff crammed full of crap that was every bit as useful as the things in the photos above. Dried up ink pens, broken lamps, piles of receipts, unidentifiable hunks of plastic, coupons that expired in 2001 (NOT EXAGGERATING--2001) . . . an amazing amount of useless stuff.

And, of course, there was this:

Mr. Husband says that he has had Krusher since 1979. Throwing him away would be grounds for divorce, so he's still in the basement, creepily watching over the boxes and boxes of garbage that I have yet to send to the landfill (which, WAAAAH! but what else is there to do with math textbooks from 1996?). Now, Mr. Husband will try to swear to you that Krusher is worth some money, but I already checked ebay. $20 for one that works perfectly. The Krusher in my basement has been broken since before half the people reading this were born.

When Mr. Husband sees this post, he's going to ban me permanently from the storage room. I'm totally OK with that. I don't want to be the one to find the box containing his iguana that died eight years ago.

(The iguana thing might be an exaggeration. Maybe. But, how can I really be sure? He has kept everything else.)

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Reader Comments (27)

Our husbands must be related.

July 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKym Nader

He sounds just like my dad. He owns junk older than me.

Also, is it just me or is that Krusher thing attempting to be anatomically correct?

July 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertehamy

All I can say is once you find the mummified remains of a cat (or iguana), it may be time to call in the experts.

July 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaskigal

@tehamy--Oh, it's anatomically correct. I'm going to pretend I just now noticed that rather than admitting that it was the very first thing I noticed when I saw the dumb thing. Ahem.

You are not alone. My husband has his share of "junk boxes" stuffed up in our attic ... He has made (some) progress and gotten ride of some of the more useless junk, but there is still a lot of uselessness still hanging around. No Krusher, but lots of other action figures that he claims are "worth money" as well ... Ha! If only I had time to prove him wrong by looking them up on Ebay ...

And, as a biology teacher, tell Mr. Husband that those 1997 Freshman Biology notes are no good anymore ... Lots has changed since then. At least that is one stack of papers you can get off of your hands! ;)

July 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

You look intense in your photo.

My exhusband was totally that way. Steve, however, will throw away anything that isn't nailed down. If I keep a receipt so I can return something and put it any where other than my purse and it is in the trash in 3.5 seconds.

July 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle Smiles

My garage must look like your storage room. I'm getting ready to start going through boxes too. Would like to get maybe ONE car in the two car garage at some point in my life.

July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKim

My husband even keeps old lightbulbs some are for fittings we no longer even have. I have newspapers from before we even met. We have lived in this house for eight years now and I have finally found a solution but its fairly drastic. When we finally emigrate(should be in the next two years) shipping containers are very expensive so I am only buying one and it will be the smallest they have and we are only taking a few items of furniture. All his crap is staying behind. Space at last:)

July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen

I know we have boxes in the garage, still unpacked from our move 16 years ago, of Engineering textbooks from the 80s that are totally obsolete. Can I get rid of them? Grounds for divorce. I married a pack rat. I feel your pain.

July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTara R.

Bwahahahaha! I thought *I* was bad, but I think your husband has me beat. We moved some boxes that had been packed up since our last move, though I don't think quite as many as you had. I made myself go through them and throw/give most of it away, b/c clearly if we hadn't needed it in 3.5 years, we probably weren't going to need it.

I will say that those disk are making me hyperventilate just a little bit, though. What if there's something *really* important on there?

July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeandra

When my Husband changes the batteries in the remotes and the flashlights...he saves them. Why??? When I am in the mood to throw out "his" useless crap, I wait until the day before garbage day, bag it all up and take it to my neighbor's..and he wonders why she has so much trash for one person.

July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary Lynn

I feel your pain. The debate over whether we needed to keep his financial receipts from college (he graduated in '93) was rediculous. I tried to throw away a full banker's box of cassette tapes - some of music (which we have since replaced digitally) and some of college and grad school lectures. The last time either of us was in school was 1996. He drug them out of the garbage and back into the garage, forbidding me to throw them out. We have nothing on which to play them. I just don't even know.....

July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDG

@Mary Lynn--Our trash pickup isn't until late in the morning and my husband leaves before I do. It's fantastic!

I'd like to think you have shamed me into parting with some of my old, useless crap. But my guess is no.

However, seeing your husband's doll ("it's an action figure!') does make me want to figure out where I put my V human-lizard doll, circa 1984.

Good luck!

July 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfacie

Oh man, do I share in your frustration! My husband keeps everything. Need 200 popsicle sticks? Boxes of books that he read decades ago, and will never read again, but can't bear to part with? Every piece of artwork he has ever made? Art tools that we have no clue as to their purpose? I try to wait until he is gone for the day, and then pitch stuff.

July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen

I've been thinking a lot about hoarding lately as I go through my crap in anticipation of a cross-country move. I'm sad for myself that I fit right in with your husband when it comes to the freshman biology notes and the birthday present t-shirt from 1994. CAN I HELP IT IF MY HEART IS TOO BIG?

But that iguana bit brings back one of my favorite childhood memories: the day my parents' cleaning lady found an elk carcass in our third garage stall.

I am doomed.

July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElle

I feel your pain. It's always a fight with my husband to toss stuff. He has more t-shirts than I have clothes. He has 70+ games/board games. We've never played any in the last 4 years, but we can't throw any out because some are 'collectors items/versions.' Sure. Now I am thinking of all the crap downstairs and my blood pressure is rising!!!

July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

Digital photography has cured me of so many of my hoarding issues. Do I want to pay 22 cents to process a pic of a toy (that I NEEEED!) that may or may not come out? Nah, really, it's easier to hold onto it. But take a pic of a toy I no longer am responsible for 1) packing, 2) moving, and 3) finding a place to store? Yes, please.

...Okay, maybe becoming a grown-up in charge of it all helped a little, too.

July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatie in MA

i might be related to your husband.
note to self: don't invite michelle over to the house.

July 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhello haha narf

also, i kinda love that amy mentioned that you have krusher penis on your blog so i am not the first.

July 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhello haha narf

Er, uh, my father in law had to pay rent on the house they were selling so he could have extra time to move his collection of rust. (okay, okay, it wasn't entirely rust at that point--it was metal frames, and wheelbarrows and bikes and junk stuff.)

Over this past Christmas, in "straightening up" the ol' man's garage, we found, NO LIE, an actual box of rust. That he was saving. And we weren't allowed to touch. NO LIE. I took pictures, but have yet to post 'em anywhere, or write that blog post. (pssst. I did too move that box a bit...and yes, the ol' man noticed that it had been moved. There is dumpster(s) rental in our future)

July 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermumple

I am also married to a packrat king.
My solution has been to go through the boxes of crap (and I mean crap. A broken optimus prime or WalMart knockoff GI Joe is not treasure) when he's out at a conference and take it directly to a dump. Then if he realizes it's gone, which has never happened yet, it's too late for him to do anything about it.

July 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbecoming-mommy

One of the best days of my life was when we moved into our current home. Sam went to work one day and said, "I've taken everything out of the trailer that I want. Do whatever you want with the rest." I kid you not, he had shirts from high school. What is it with men?

July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Okay that picture of the floppy disk made me remember something. I recently purchased a game that I'd had once before for the computer. It had come (this is about 5-6 years ago) on floppy disks (thankfully! we had a desktop computer at the time that still accepted them). But when the computer went Kaput...I lost the game.

So I was searching and searching and *finally* found a 'new and improved' copy of the game. Got it (this one was supposed to be "Windows 7 compatible") and open the box to find *floppy* discs. I was all :O :O :O :O :O I mean who has the capability to read a FLOPPY on a Win7 computer?!

July 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMackenzie's Momma

Bwahahahahaha! This is awesome. I think you should tuck Krusher into his side of the bed.

My husband has probably 25+ high school t-shirts. They take up two full drawers in our dresser, yet they cannot be parted with. My suggestion of making them into a quilt or something that is, you know, USEFUL was met with horror because "I still work out in them!"

July 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbessie.viola

I forced my husband to go through the boxes of his junk that where in the garage before we moved to this house. We definitely found floppy discs and old receipts. Now if I could just get him to go through all of the boxes that are in his computer room. He insists he needs to keep every computer part from every computer we have ever owned.

Although, I still have my textbooks and notes from freshman chemistry, and freshman math, and pretty much every college class I ever took. I'm not sure why. I don't plan on ever looking through them again. You may have inspired me to throw them away :)

July 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKim Adams

Our husbands must have been separated at birth. I feel your pain. Mine's got med school books from the 90's. Um, yeah, my doctor was pretty sure he knew what was wrong with me, but he had to consult his 15 year old med school text to be sure... We also moved 2 years ago this August, and we also have a comparable gi-normous garage's worth of equally useless junk that has been moved from apartment to apartment and house to house - all since we arrived in Pgh in 2000. We're talking 25+ file boxes worth of paperwork alone. I've threatened to pitch it with each move, then he promises me he'll "go through it" (note: not get rid of it) before the move, it never happens, the moving chaos begins, I back down, and we repeat. Only now we're in our "forever" house. My newest plan involves removing one box each month til he notices there are considerably less. May be grounds for divorce, but I think I can call his bluff like he has mine!

July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatie
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