Trashcanaphobia and Other Inexplicable Fears

I wonder if anyone but me has a loved one (whose identity I will guard with my life) who suffers from a little known fear I have chosen to call Trashcanaphobia. Maybe it is not your loved one. Maybe it is you. See if any of this sounds familiar. Sufferers of Trashcanaphobia inexplicably leave all sorts of things – used Splenda packets, or even running shoes, for instance – on otherwise spotless kitchen counters for hours on end or until a codependent loved one moves them. Here’s the definitive part of the diagnosis: and all the while with the trash can only a few feet away. After watching this strange phenomenon for a matter of years (I’ll not say exactly how many), I have come to the conclusion that said sufferer cannot help it. Said sufferer obviously has a terror of trash cans.

Here is a recent documentation of this little-explored and afore unexplained phenomenon:

This very morning, my mind was even further expanded concerning phobias when Melissa’s cell phone dropped in the middle of rich conversation as it does every single morning. I called her back and got the usual voice mail, then about 10 minutes later like clockwork she rang my line. I answered the phone with, “I bet anything your cell battery was dead.”

“Yep, it was.” (It almost always is.) “Colin told me yesterday that he can come up with no further explanation for why I constantly have a dead battery except for an undiagnosed fear of phone chargers.”

So, that’s two of them in our family at least. We’ll call that one “Cellchargaphobia.” I think my daughters told you several years ago that I have a phobia of unfried foods. We’ll call it “Unfriedaphobia.” I’ve gotten some victory over it the last few years but it is still my phobia of choice.

So, please say it’s not just the Moores. Any odd family phobias out there?

PS. We’re having fun here today. Those in a mood to take themselves too seriously will want to find a different blog for the next 24 hours. You are dearly loved but we’ll talk to you later in the week.


970 Responses to “Trashcanaphobia and Other Inexplicable Fears”

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  1. 451
    Jessica says:

    I’m always in the mood to take myself too seriously. I need deliverance.

    There’s a phobia for fearing insignificance.

    i think we were suppose to say “So Long” to it.

    Other Phobias: my mom trying to steal a spoon full of my cereal to keep from making her own. I don’t mind sharing anything else, but i can’t share a cup of milk and I can’t share cereal because when people put the spoon back, you can see the residue floating across the milk… UGH!!! It puts me over the edge and i get unreasonably upset to the point where I have to surrender the entire bowl to that person. I’m mad thinking about it!

  2. 452
    Perrygirl1 says:

    Dishwasherphobia here. Apparently, I am the ONLY one in my family that is not afflicted with this problem. Doesn’t matter if the sink is full of dirty dishes and the dishwasher is empty, I am the only one with authorized access code to open the washer.
    My husband says we have a self-cleaning toilet. It is clean every couple of days! I think I need to ask him for a self-cleaning sink!

  3. 453
    Tami says:

    Woo Hoo! My son is recently back from his freshman year of college and wouldn’t you know it? That time away has not cured him of his trashcanophobia or his dishwasherphobia. If only I could REALLY leave those things sitting around until he noticed and did the proper thing! I shudder to think what his dorm room looked like – yikes!! It just slays me that my big 6 foot 3 inch baby can’t move a dish 6 inches to the right and two feet lower (well, maybe 3 for him) into the dishwasher. Ah, well — thanks, Beth, for giving me a new outlook on the little annoyances…. laughter is the best medicine!

  4. 454
    Laura Moore says:

    I have a serious case of ‘bugaphobia’! I am like a mad woman trying to kill bugs. It is probably the funniest thing to watch me attempt to kill a spider or flying bug! My husband laughs pretty hard! We moved to a townhome and for some reason these little ‘friends’ decided to move on in too!? Did i give them permission? NO WAY! So..i get the ebby geebies and find a shoe and wack away…sadly i laugh while i’m doing this and miss a lot. My husband would be an excellent bug killer if i wasn’t around! I’m too busy standing on the other side of the room laughing and yelling, ‘get it!’. 🙂 Yep, that’s my phobia. Nothing too serious just something we’re able to laugh a lot about in the Moore home.
    I loved reading everyone elses!!

  5. 455
    Kay Gouge says:

    Thank you for finally putting a name to the illness that has plagued all of the male members of my family for years. My mother always said the first step in solving a problem is to identify it. For the first time in decades, I have hope!

  6. 456
    Sarah B says:

    I’ve got a serious case of dishwashaphobia. Even though I KNOW it will only take a few minutes to get everything washed and put away, I put it off till the very last moment. Gaaaah.

    To be honest, my sink is full of dishes this very moment. What am I doing? Reading a blog. The End.

    • 456.1
      Sarah B says:

      Just so you know – After I posted this I went and washed my dishes. I think that deserves a gold star.

      Beth – I think your next book should be “So Long Procrastination.”

  7. 457
    Maggie says:

    ThrowawayfinishedPost-Itnoteaphobia!!! 🙂

  8. 458
    Rachel in Louisiana says:

    We have a lightswitchaphobia around here. It seems everyone if too afraid to turns the lights out as they leave a room.

  9. 459
    Rachel in Louisiana says:

    I have a cure for your trashcanaphobia. In our family we made a game at the dinner table. Everyone gets to try to throw their napkin in the trash can from where they’re sitting at the table. When they were little, if they made a basket (without banking the napkin) they got a quarter. Money for trash….could be the cure. 🙂

  10. 460
    Cindy E says:

    Ah, yes, I never thought about this in that way — as a fear of something. I just thought he was trying to annoy me!! 🙂 In that same way of thinking then, this same Trashcanophobic person in my family must also have quite a few other fears around here, too. Maybe that’s all I needed — a different way to think of “why” he might continue to exhibit the same behaviors for 22+ years! 🙂 Thanks for this post! I might now exhibit more patience in these areas?

  11. 461
    Maggie says:

    Sweating… fear or dread… I hate the thought of me sweating, other people sweating, oh and the thought of the smell of sweat… and I’ll go into dry heaves. So the gym not my place. Thank God for the new vanity sizes I still fit into an 8. Sweataphobia I am…

  12. 462
    Jeri says:

    Foldingsocksaphobia… the necessary distance between me and the pile that is generated from a week’s worth of socks from my family of six. I wear sandals most of the year just to eliminate my own potential laundry contribution, and often pay my children with video-game time for doing it for me! I’m not proud of it, but it does feel good to come up with the next “creative” way to conquer, or avoid this mountain!

  13. 463
    Carolyn says:

    Oh Beth this is a great post and I have so enjoyed laughing at all the phobias. I suffer from shoeputawayphobia. I put on sandals, slippers, tennis shoes, work shoes etc but the problem is I take them off where ever I stop. I just counted 29 pair of different shoe types sitting around the house, under the table, by the bed, by the dresser, by the closet, under the computer desk. I can change shoes in any room of the house and be dressed for the occasion.

  14. 464
    Cindy Childers says:

    My sweet, wonderful, meat-loving, texas-bred husband LOVES his meat, but I have raw-meat touching phobia as well. And now that we live in England and I drive past pig and cattle farms EVERY single day, it’s almost making me a vegetarian which has nearly given my husband a stroke at even the thought! As for this same sweet man, I have to tell on him that he has laundrybasket phobia….even to the point that he will lay his dirty clothes ON TOP of the basket lid but yet he won’t put them inside. oh well….what can you do? 🙂 Love them anyway!!

  15. 465
    Casey says:

    There is a very severe case of hairless-sinkophobia in my master bathroom. I think my husband believes the sink looks too young and baby-faced so it needs a little stubble…or a lot…because he is Greek and hates to shave. He wants my sink to have his five o’clock shadow!

    I love you my dear siestas and my beloved Siesta Mama! As you can see from the time of this post, I have a case of restfulsleepaphobia….this is a wonderful cure!



  16. 466
    Dawn says:

    I sooo…needed this ‘medicine’ – thanks, Beth and all, for lightening my load in the middle of a very ‘heavy’ week! I suffer from ‘dishesinthesinkophobia’! You know . . . the gotta finally wash those pans if I want to cook something for supper tonight kind!! And I can relate to the laundry ‘foldophobia’ siestas as well. The fam, well, just the general ‘clutterophobia’, I suppose. Although as they grow up and become ‘clausterophobically stuck’ in their own bedrooms, it’s alot more tolerable . . .as long as you don’t go in their space!!

  17. 467
    Lisa says:

    sheesh, we’ve got stuff like:
    hamperaphbia, mailaphobia, (because we are afraid of seeing what the electric bill is going to be each month!),cleanupthebedroomaphobia (ceiling to floor messes in my teenagers’ roooms), and even missingNCISaphobia.
    The list really could get long, but we’ll leave it at that. Where’s the shrink!?!

  18. 468
    Mandy says:

    My family members suffer from “dishwasheraphobia”. They are unable to put a dirty glass in the dishwasher. They just pile everything in the sink or on the counters. After all, it takes quite a bit of effort to open the dishwasher.

  19. 469
    DJ says:

    Fear of cotton balls!!! I hate them and will not touch them! Can’t stand it when someone pulls them apart! Now I’m nauseated.

    By the way, I am changing my blogger name. I saw someone else with DJ. I am now Frito Bandito. Seriously.

  20. 470
    Lisa says:

    I am the splenda packet, shoe, laundry, open cabinets, books and laundry phobic in my home. I do clean the kitchen before I go to bed but having teenagers and teaching school (yes I’m defending self-need to go BACK to the insecurity book I guess) just keeps my brain rattled and I honestly don’t see all these undone things until I’m ready for bed and then I suddenly see it all and get overwhelmed. My spouse it the one who is amazed at how I leave a trail of clutter–one of my daughters is the same way and she’s leaving for college in the fall. Thank goodness we were honest on her enrollment that she is MESSY. We are what you might call Binge Cleaners.

    I loved this and needed it!

  21. 471
    Carol says:

    I have Getoutofmyfaceeaphobia at the Grocery Store. The person behind me is right up in my space/face when I slid my debit card through! As if they can’t wait one second!! The other day I asked them to please back up a bit. Hello! They are so close they could read my password numbers, then follow me out! It’s frustrating!

  22. 472
    Tracy says:

    The men in my family seem to suffer from dishwasherphobia. The counters and sink are spotless, not a dirty dish in sight. Still, they seem helpless to open the dishwasher door and put their dirty dishes in. I seem to be the only one in our family who is not afraid of the dreaded dishwasher. Drives me nuts!

  23. 473
    Ramona says:

    BOOM-A-RANG-APHOBIA I just mentioned earlier this week to my husband that if he touches something…anything…I have to touch it too. So I’ve decided that it is a fear of items returning to their original position such as the toothbrush to the holder, cap back to the toothpaste tube, dirty laundry to the hamper, scissors back in the drawer, drawers shut, etc. Even my husband laughed at your pictures Beth. Boy can we relate!

  24. 474

    I wish I could diagnose others, but I’m afraid I’m the one with issues here.

    My husband is exceedingly safety conscious and he is always getting on me about me my cellchargaphobia.

    But what I really get in trouble for is puttinggasinthecaraphobia.

    The truth is, I just like to watch my handsome, protective, man as he puts gas in my car on Sunday mornings (usually on the way to church) and gives me the “its not safe to have an empty tank of gas” look.

  25. 475
    Laurie Tomascik says:

    I know someone who seems to have a “q-tip disposal phobia”. Said person uses q-tips frequently, but can’t seem to part with them when said person is finished with them. Q-tips are very small, yet said person cannot seem to fit them in the trash can. I have seen them on the counter, on the floor by the trash can, floating in the flusher, or even sticking out of the jar of vaseline. Said person has also genetically passed this phobia onto one of their offspring.

    One more phobia I have seen quite often is one of removing one’s undergarments from ones pants…and this almost always occurs with one leg of the pants left inside out. This phobia is highly contagious like a plague…it has spread through my home like wildfire. I am immune though…I cannot catch it. My pants must go in the laundry alone…I would not be able to concentrate if I knew they were sloshing around in the washing machine all in a conundrum. I just couldn’t.

  26. 476
    Tami says:

    What would you call the phobia for not putting the lid down on the toilet seat? I am the only female in a house of males so I do not have the privilage of getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom an not turn the light on, for if I forget .. well lets just say the bottom gets wet!!!!! God Bless

  27. 477
    rhonda says:

    I, too, have family members who seemed to have a great phobia to the laundry basket. They must be making headway though because the clothes get right next to it….just not in it. Also, one may have give-away-aphobia (also known as hoarders:)) Personally, I seem to battle bouts of exerciseaphobia.

  28. 478
    Joleen says:

    Mine is PutTheClothesAway-A-Phobia! All the laundry gets done and folded, but then sits in piles. But then I have ShooshMyMouth-A-Phobia when one said person decides to sort through the pile and pull his things out, unfolding all of that hard work along the way, and leaves a mess and wrinkled clothes. If only I could get rid of PutTheClothesAway-A-Phobia then I wouldn’t have a problem. Said person also has Trashcanaphobia in my house and it drives me insane since he has now taught the darling 4yr old that same phobia! Boy, we all have a few issues in this house!! 😉

  29. 479
    Jennifer says:

    My family member has “workoutaphobia”. He likes to hang his shirts on the treadmill (I guess that is also “putmyclothesawayaphobia”)but never actually exercise on it.

  30. 480
    jami says:

    My family suffers terribly from this. It’s the fear of picking up after yourself. Evidently there are some of us who have a terrible fear of everything being where it is suppose to be. 🙂

  31. 481
    GlowinGirl says:

    I’d call you and talk to you about this problem at our house, but I can’t. My battery is dead. 😉

  32. 482
    Kathy says:

    I love this! I used to suffer from foldaphobia, but I have progressed to putitawayaphobia. I now can get things folded, however it takes a week to put it away. I also suffer from mailaphobia. I get a really large pile of mail going on the kitchen counter. It stems from identitytheftaphobia. I just don’t take the time to shread that junk mail on the spot, so I “save it for later”. From time to time a random important piece of mail gets lost in that pile!

    My husband would tell you that I have all forms of houseworkaphobia. But he’s a great sufferer of “I just did that last week but in reality it was 2 months ago-itis”, and “I always clean-up after myself” delusions.

  33. 483
    Cindy R. says:

    My kids are notorious for “trashcanophobia”. My pet peeves are cheese stick wrappers and the little straw wrappers from juice boxes all over the house! I don’t have a name for this other phobia, but empty milk/juice cartons in the fridge…I don’t get it. Or the empty lemonade pitcher. I even made a “rule” whoever empties the lemonade, has to make the next batch. Yeah,That worked for like…..a day! Now they just leave enough in the bottom to unclaim the rule, so it sits there with 2 drops and all of a sudden no one wants lemonade…..except me. Just made a new batch this morning with a sigh and shrugg..

  34. 484
    BurningHeart1 says:

    Please let me know if you find a cure for this disability-(Trashcanaphobia) I confess my dis-a-bility seems to be foldaphobia. Also found in our kitchen is a bad bad case of dirtydishphobia! So far, the only remedy seems to be a BIG dose of GRACE!

  35. 485
    Shelly says:

    hastobeputaway-phobia – laundry must be folded and put up as soon as the dryer finishes; I cannot bear to know it remains inside becoming potentially wrinkled.
    singletask-phobia – multitasking is an unconscious part of my day; to focus only on one thing at a time requires effort; i may or may not brush my teeth while performing some ridiculous cleaning activity in the morning, like the aforementioned laundry folding
    snackaphobia – heaven forbid I go hungry for an hour or so and not have a snack in my purse
    smallpurseaphobia – please don’t make me use any purse that is not at least half the size of my entire upper torso. thank you.

  36. 486
    Jessica says:

    I suffer from dishwashingaphobia, but only with dishes that can not be washed in the dishwasher. If the dishwasher can take care of them, they hold no threat to me. But for pots and pans and knives and cutting boards that are hand wash only, dishwashingaphobia affects me so much that those items will stay on the counter or in the sink for DAYS (as dirty as they may be!) until someone else washes them. (My awesome husband does not suffer from this phobia). I simply can not face them.

  37. 487
    Kelly S says:

    My entire family (except me…I’ve been spared) suffers from


    So…I crack my toe or face on the open doors at night while walking in the dark.

    I suffer from

    grimeonmyteethphobia (I have to brush my teeth all day long)

  38. 488
    Lisa says:

    Dishwasher-load-a-phobia. Obviously, something very sinister lurks within that machine and I am the only one who can face the forces of darkness. All others take the safe route and leave them in the sink. Or on the counter. Or on the table. Do not fear, ye users of utensils-load that machine!

  39. 489
    Kristie says:

    I am a I don’t have foldaphobia (my husband does), but I do have hangerphobia…and a terrible case of mopaphobia!

  40. 490
    Melanie says:

    Oh my word! Not only do I have a loved one with Trashcanaphobia (the orange peels are a tell-tale symptom) but I also have other loved ones who suffer terribly with dresserphobia AND hangerphobia because the only place you’ll find said loved ones’ clothes are on chairs or the floor! The suffering is indescribable! It helps to know I’m not alone! 😀

    Beth, you’re a riot.

  41. 491
    Kim V says:

    Emptytrashaphobia with a concentration on trash can in bathroom.

    Wettowellaphobia…left on floor or bed nearest the body/hair of the one who used it.

    Finishaprojectaphobia…need I say more on that one?

  42. 492
    Lauri W. says:

    In my house full of men there are many advantages: someone to reach the top shelf, open the particularly stubborn jar, fill the gas tank, even load the dishwasher (yes I am spoiled). But without exception they all have Wrongsideoutsockitus! Maybe it is genetic?

  43. 493
    pam b says:

    If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a thousand times, “Hurry, Mom. My cell phone going dying.” Or, when he gets home. “Sorry, I didn’t answer my phone. Battery was dead.”

    Cellchargephobia or totellthetruthphobia? I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt esp. since you say Melissa does the same thing. Thanks!

  44. 494
    Kari says:

    I have many “phobia’s”, but lately my favourite has been my husbands…. can’tturnthedishwasher on phobia. It’s chock full after being lovingly loaded the night before but not turned on. Gotta love him for loading it tho!!!

  45. 495
    Teresa says:

    Mine is Estherisover phobia. I have been taking the Esther Bible study in my church, and next Wednesday is the last day. Just thinking about it being over makes me cry. God has done a deep work in me in many areas, but especially His timing and how much He loves me. The truth that He is trustworthy and I can intercede before the King is where I totally lost it. I needed this blog to get some of the seriousness put aside for a moment! We love you, Beth!

  46. 496
    Happy Heart says:

    Sooooo that’s what my kids have….. thank goodness we have a diagnosis, now does anyone have a cure!!! Too funny!

  47. 497
    Barbara Head says:

    I am a “no clutteraphobic”. Can’t stand clutter so I hide things in closets, drawers, under beds, etc. My family definitely thinks I am OCD. I think they clutter just to annoy me!!! Other than that we are quite “normal”.

  48. 498
    Cheri says:

    How about laundyhamperaphobia? “Someone” in my house has an extreme fear of OPENING the laundry hamper to deposit dirty clothes. Instead he piles them all on top of an EMPTY laundry hamper!

  49. 499
    Natalie says:

    This isn’t exactly a fear, but EVERY woman in my family assumes the absolute worst has happened when somebody is late for an event. Actually, it doesn’t have to be an event. I was driving home from my sister’s house once, during a rain storm. She called and said, “Why haven’t you checked in every ten minutes like you said you would?!” I explained I couldn’t hear the phone for the storm. She said, “I’d already made a list of hospitals to call …” It would be funnier if I didn’t do the same thing. 🙂

  50. 500
    Teresa says:

    How about some dishwashaphobia – where all dirty dishes end up in the sink which is right next to the dishwasher, or clotheshamperaphobia – clothes end up right next to the hamper, but not in it!

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