Within our extended family, there is a pair of married packrats. Their house achieved hoarder status long ago, with tall piles of junk lining paths through rooms. No one has been in their dining room for 20 years because the floor is covered with piles of stuff; you can’t even see the table or chairs.
It sets off my claustrophobia to see teetering piles of stuff on every surface. I don’t really like eating at their house on holidays or birthdays because their kitchen counters have so much stuff on them that I don’t see how they can possibly keep them clean enough to prepare food. My adult kids won’t go there anymore because it’s too hard to keep their toddlers safe.
So I have a very hard time visiting these two relatives. I just want to back up the truck and clean that place out. I don’t know how they stand all that mess. But I suspect that there’s some kind of competition going on.
You see, they use each other’s clutter as an excuse for keeping their own. When one brings home more stuff, the other declares that they shouldn’t have to give up any of their own clutter just to make room for their spouse to bring home things they’ve bought. The result is a steadily filling house.
It’s hard enough for an individual to conquer their clutter issues. But it’s twice as hard when it involves a couple. There’s no one there to encourage them to get a handle on the mess. Instead, they keep adding to it.
Interestingly, no one in the family ever comments on the piles of stuff surrounding us as we sit and visit. After all, they’re both middle-aged adults, and we’re not their mommies. But I guarantee, many of us are thinking, “Get a dumpster! STAT!”