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”

If you'd like your own pic by your comment, go to Click the first button "Get your gravatar today ->", and it will walk you through a simple process to select a picture.


  1. 501

    I have a closetaphobia. I like to leave my shoes every where else but the closet. My husband was exasperated the first few years we were married (He believes everything has a specific place). After 14 years he has pretty much given up!

  2. 502
    Rhonda says:

    This post is great! I have clutterphobia – the opposite
    of trashcanaphobia! I love to throw things out because I can’t think or function with the slightest bit of clutter.
    Of course, this is not frugal and I sometimes have regrets over what I got rid of. Oh, I just thought of another one: hair-on-the-bathroom-floorphobia. Sick, I know! I sure am enjoying reading all the comments.

  3. 503

    First, I’m going to say that Beth has some photographic skill! That first photo, (minus the fruit peels, ha) could be on a brochure for granite counter tops:) The reflections and the faded background are awesome!

    This is a great post. I am too somber most of the time and this really makes me smile.
    I have several phobias but the most prominant is certainly foldaphobia. When I was a kid, I used to have to do laundry for my family; 4 brothers, mom and me. I think that’s when it started. 🙂

  4. 504
    Jessica says:

    I’m so relieved to know we’re not the only family with a problem similar to the phobias you mentioned! My dearly loved husband has a SEVERE phobia of the closet – that is to say, the floor of the closet where his shoes reside. Yes, as it turns out, he has actually gotten up the nerve to get in there once to retrieve his shoes but for the life of him he cannot face it a second time to put them back. Last night we were picking up around the house (his parents were stopping by this evening) and I encouragaed him to face his fears – he finally did with (no lie!) 10-15 pairs of shoes in hand, ranging from softball cleats to work boots to dress shoes! We’re moving toward recovery in our home but it’s encouraging to know we’re not alone – i think that will help us in our healing process… 🙂

  5. 505
    Cristie Ferguson says:

    It’s not just my family?!! There is a nameless family member with the aforementioned Trashcanaphobia in our house. All sorts of odd wrappers and peels are left not only on the counter but placed in used cups and plates and then left on the counter. Perhaps the Siestas should found a treatment program.

  6. 506
    Bobbie Lancaster says:

    At my home it is “hamperaphobia”. My 15 year old daughter must be really afraid of clothes hampers because she just piles all her dirty clothes in the floor when honestly the hamper is just a few inches away not feet but inches. I don’t think she will ever recover from this phobia because goodness knows I have tried to help her overcome but so far it has not worked.

  7. 507
    Tammie Howard says:

    My kids suffer from the terrible fear of dropontheflorraphobia. Meaning the drop backpacks, clothes, shoes, really anything, right on the floor when they walk in the door after school. Dropontheflooraphobia usually occurs right by the door, making it difficult for anyone else to actually walk in the door! Glad your having fun! It was just what I needed today!

  8. 508
    cindi says:

    3 out of 4 people in my household have the despicable “laundrybago’phobia.” they are afraid of putting their dirty clothes in the laundry bags, much preferring relegating them to the floor approx 1″-12″ away from said bags.

    please pray.

  9. 509
    Brandi says:

    Love it! I have a loved one who suffers from Nocleantowelsaphobia. Bless her heart. 🙂 Granted the washing machine is downstairs, but still. I, myself, suffer from Clothesintheclosetaphobia. I can wash them, dry them, hang them to dry, but they never seem to end up back in the closet where they belong. After 38 years of this, I don’t think there is much hope. You will just have to love me as I am! Thanks for the fun…

  10. 510
    Kelley G says:

    Foldaphobia…. I have suffered from this condition for longer than I can remember. Fortunately it’s not very painful since the fluff setting on the dryer tends to remedy most of the effects on my poor clothes. I do have a son who suffers from a condition I have no explanation for. I would be asecstatic if someone is aware of a cure. His ailment is known as flushaphobia – need I say more. Please help me!

  11. 511
    Amy says:

    I have a fear of finishing-my-plate-aphobia. I always leave a little bite of food on my plate when I am finished. Not sure why I do this. So, if you see me at a restaurant you will most likely see a little bit of food left on my plate when the meal is over. Go figure!

  12. 512
    Suzanne in RI says:

    In my family we experience the “Can’t leave this event without a bunny-ears family photo…phobia!

    This results in photo albums filled with crazy looking family members.

  13. 513
    Melanie says:

    Trashcanaphobia at our house is directly related to dishwasherphobia. The countertop and sink are within inches of the dishwasher, but . . . I try mightily to concentrate on all the loved one’s great character traits and the wonderful way our family is loved and provided for as I place the items inside the dishwasher, inside the trash can! It seems a good trade-off!

  14. 514
    annette says:

    Okay, I’ll play. Since my list is probably longer than anybody else in my family, I will tell one on myself. I have adentyneaphopbia. A-meaning lack of, Dentyne-gum, aphobia would be fear. I check my purse to make sure I have a punch pack of Dentyne Ice, and if I don’t, I’ll stop at the seediest corner 7-11 to get it.

  15. 515
    Beth Andrews says:

    The men in my house have dishwasherphobia, accompanied by vacuumcleanerphobia, tidybowlphobia and emptytoiletpaperrollphobia.
    I am the one in therapy.

  16. 516
    Heidi Tobin (UNH) says:

    How about hu-mid-a-phobia? Why? Humidity. See, humidity just doesn’t seem to promote a “good-wild-hair day.” Actually, it does help on the “wild” side, however, it doesn’t leave it looking like that “natural-wind-blown” look. You know, the kind of hairdo that one spends about. . .well, let’s just say, surmountable precious minutes stylin’ and the finishing touch up happens when you step out to the car and the wind blows it just enough leaving it to look like a “natural effortless sloppy look.” Whereas humidity there’s no control. . .ha, no wonder why it’s a phobia. . .that control thing again.

  17. 517
    Carol says:

    Does anyone else have this one? putitallthewayinthesinkaphobia For some strange reason, my loved one will bring his plate to the sink, but instead of putting it IN the sink, he balances it on the divider between the sinks! What’s up with that?! At least he brought it that far.

  18. 518
    Kristi says:

    As someone who is finding motivation very hard at this point in the school year…I will definitely be checking in quite often today for some deep rooted laughter to help me make it through the day! This has been fabulous!

    My husband would say that I suffer from lightswitchaphobia because he is forever encouraging me to turn out the lights when I leave the room, but old habits die hard. 🙂 Waterglassaphobia also exists in our house. While dishes in the kitchen are easily put into the dishwasher, the nighttime water glasses in the bedroom are forever piling up without getting carried to the kitchen. I might add we live in an apartment and the distance from the bedroom to the kitchen is very short. 🙂

  19. 519
    Judie, West Texas Girl says:

    If I must put a name to this quirk (?) of mine, I guess you could say that I suffer from “ifyouhaventuseditintwoweeksthenthrowitawayaphobia”. Of course, the love of my life swears I am in cahoots w/the government to undermine the order in his life by throwing away every month-old magazine, every left-over screw from construction projects, every piece of junk mail that just might have some necessary information in it, every doodad that no one on earth could possibly know the original use for….it’s a plot – for sure.

  20. 520
    christy lett says:

    I tried to comment yesterday and i guess i’m so new @ this I didn’t do it right!!

    I believe that my husband has “puttintheclothesawayaphobia” He simply refuses to put the clothes away! I think he enjoys living out of laundry baskets, maybe he feels that he is roughing it!!! Yesterday I felt as though he also suffered from “paciphobia”, but this morning if i am being honest with you all i guess I suffer from it too! i guess i am as terrified of paci’s as he is! i just can’t seem to keep up with them, no matter how hard i try!!! they must put off some kind of “lose me please” vibe or something!

    • 520.1
      Praises in the Valley says:

      my husband will throw his dirty clothes up against the closet door but won’t open the door to put them in the hamper! isn’t that hilarious! also, he hangs clothes up on every open door he finds… he says, “i can wear it tomorrow” but then he never does and the pair of pants stays there until i remove them… they do such funny things!

  21. 521
    denise says:

    hmmmm…I may suffer with shoeshelfaphobia as I tend to kick off my shoes and leave them here and there – including 3 feet away from the closet next to my bed. I prefer to call this it’sbeenalongdayandi’mtired-itis!! 🙂

  22. 522
    Diane Rice says:

    Laundrybasketaphobia – Amazing that clothes are laying on the floor next to the laundry basket. I believe a strange monster lives in the basket and throws them out onto the floor. Surely my family doesn’t put their clothes on the floor NEXT to the basket???

  23. 523
    Ashley says:

    Oh I just love this!!

    In my family it is “emptycoffeecupaphobia”

    Once the cup is empty of all remaining java it sits where the individual drank its last remains. I believe it is the fear of realizing that someone needs to make the next pot but is too lazy to so if the cup is just pushed aside and ignored then the drinker of said cup will not have to one, make more coffee, and/or two have to face the fact that their coffee break is over (or the coffee has turned cold). So the cup stays until the reality has passed (usually a day or two) and then it somehow it grows legs and walks to the kitchen all by itself (usually with four or five other mugs in a group)!

  24. 524
    Iris says:

    Laudrybasketphobia: it is in the closet right next to where he undresss but he chooses to wal to the built in drawrs with a lovely WHITE counter on it for things like His wallet, His spare change, his cell phone and case, etc, etc and pile his extremely grubby (my man is a farmer/mechanic trust me on the grubby)clothes on it that he has no intention of wearing again til they are washed….go figure…….but I love him dearly and would defend him to anyone…but he has this strange phobia, what a fun post.

  25. 525
    shelli littleton says:

    I am so sorry I missed this yesterday! How fun! Oh, my husband definitely has “trashcanaphobia”! And “closethekitchencabinetaphobia”! And my two girls are certain he has “laundrybasketaphobia” because he leaves his dirty clothes laying on the floor!! He didn’t do that in our younger years … so that is evidence that you might not be born with phobias … you can actually develop them! But my girls can’t hassle him too much because they have “putyourshoeswheretheybelongaphobia.” And I am certain I have “makesureeveryoneknowstheirphobias” with a little “justdonotlooktoocloselyatmyphobiasthatIdonothave”!

    Beth, you are so fun!
    Love you so much,
    Shelli L.

  26. 526
    Heidi Tobin (UNH) says:

    To name a few others: Waitaphobia, Starbucksclosedaphobia, Alonaphobia, Selfaphobia, . . .

  27. 527
    Praises in the Valley says:

    i don’t know what i’d call it – but my other half seems to have an aversion to putting things away – be it cereal boxes in the AM, or his shoes that he leaves scattered around our home. if he makes lunch – he leaves all his fixings on the counter. if he makes dinner – every ingredient used is left out. i’ll call it “putawayphobia”. he leaves everything out and does not realize it. it is a serious condition, one that i’m still adjusting to after 2.5 years of marriage 🙂 they should have family support groups for these types of things!

  28. 528
    Iris says:

    I know I wrote before but my dear man also leaves a variety of interesting things on the counter as well, (the trash is in the corner lazy susanne type thingy right above the favorite place of depost for him) nuff said……

  29. 529
    Sarah Read says:

    Your family is not the only one. We have two in our house with the same fear, laundryhamperaphobia. Luckily it has only manifested in their own rooms. Only when they are out of socks do they fight off the fear and actually put the clothes in the hamper so Dad or Mom will do the laundry.

  30. 530
    Mary Jo Marsh says:

    We have the same problem, my loved one leaves the little plastic band from the milk bottle on the cabinet where it stays until I throw it away. He also will fold a news paper like he did when he threw papers as a kid on the kitchen cabinet rather than throwing in the trash can under the kitchen sink. Just last night he empteied the milk bottle and left it on the kitchen cabinet. Not sure why these things do not make it to the trash. Ahhhhhhhhhh, but I love this guy.
    mj from Dallas

  31. 531
    JoLynn says:

    I think the trashpobia (sp?) is a male thing I hate to say. I have three of them in my home and myself and the other female in our home don’t seem to have the problem??? The sneaker thing is REALLY bigger than the trash thing AND the empty toilet paper roll – can I get an amen?!!!! Love ’em so much though I just enable, I guess 🙂

    We ran into your awesome “Bodyguard” Tuesday at the Aquarium here in the Cincy area. He is so kind and we had such great conversation. Trying to get you to come to Europe where we will be moving to soon for the next couple of years!! Asked him to put a good word in for me 🙂 Have a great FUN day 🙂 Love ya,jl

  32. 532
    Patti says:

    I don’t have time to scroll through the comments, but I wonder how many laundryhamperaphobias I’d find. Does anyone else find entire outfits of clothing, socks and all, in a pile in front of the laundry hamper – with the lid raised to boot? They don’t even have to expend the energy to raise the lid and the clothes still can’t find their way into the hamper. Just curious. I hesitate to mention this one, but has anyone heard of toiletpaperrollaphobia – that’s the fear of changing the toilet paper roll. My friend has a sign in her bathroom that says, “Changing the toilet paper roll will not cause brain damage.” The sufferer of this phobia in my fimily will remain nameless.
    Thanks for the fun post during an otherwise very serious season in my life.
    Hope your day is blessed,

  33. 533
    martie says:

    The phobia I have repeatedly witnessed:

    put-things-away-aphobia = this probably belongs under the same umbrella as trashcanaphobia. The poor folks that suffer from this simply can not carry things to the proper storage location. So sad . . .

  34. 534
    Linda says:

    My 22 yr. old son has a laundryhamperphobia. He has one in his room. One in the bathroom. clothes are in the floor in his room. Piled on top of the empty hamper in the bathroom. How hard is it to put the clothes in the hamper? Does the hamper bite?

  35. 535
    carla says:

    I have two actually. Maybe my husband won’t kill me for spilling my guts. He has dishwasherphobia and hamperphobia. He will place dirty dishes in the sink but not place them in the dishwasher and clothes on top of the hamper but not in them. The distance between both is minimal!

  36. 536
    Traci says:

    Hey there Beth. I read this quote on my way to bed last evening after I read your blog. I wanted to share…
    Lewis Smeades wrote, “God is so great that he does not need to be our only joy. There is an earthly joy, a joy of the outer as well as the inner self, the joy of dancing as well as kneeling, the joy of playing as well as praying.”
    You have that Beth. The joy of the inner and outer, dancing and kneeling, and playing and praying. Thank you for sharing and urging us women to look for the joy in our lives as well. I think we all experienced a little joy as we heard about your family’s phobias and thought about our own.
    much much love,Traci
    PS:my family’s phobia is definitely putstuffawaywithoutbeingaskedphobia. That is how we roll though. I still love us to death! 🙂

  37. 537
    Jariza says:

    I have a leftoverfoodphobia. Not into most leftovers at all, so most of the time I pass on our leftovers to friends and family. Especially meat, I think it has a weird taste the next day=)

  38. 538
    Carolyn says:

    a few phobias suffered in our home, putitbackinitsrightfulplaceaphobia…sad condition that seems to plague his shoes, clothing, tools, anything that his wonderful hands touch seem to loose all sense of where they should be put away. And then there comes the usual question: “who took my ____” due to that said item is you guess it…putbackinitsrightfulplace! (seriously, you’d think the Rapture had happened the way the shoes and clothing is just positioned as if the person was caught up to heaven right out of them!) I am often heard singing the song…”Put That Thing Back Where It Came From Or So Help Me”! Then there’s the closethedooraphobia…when “someone” helpfully empties the diswasher/drainer the cabinet doors all stay wide open as if to say LOOK ..I acutally can put something back in it’s rightful place. sigh….I suffer from sadly these phobias clash OFTEN. You see…my opendooraphobia (shut that door!), and someoneleftthelightonaphobia drives so many nuts. I have been known to turn lights off those taking a shower, and close/lock the door on those taking out the trash etc. I can hear my mom say “we weren’t born in a barn ya know”. I’m trying to Break Free..really I am.

  39. 539
    Rikki says:

    I have water-bottle-filling-phobia. Every time I or one of my children drinks all the water out of our refillable bottles, they sit by the sink lined up until someone (my hubby!) fills them. I just hate to do it but I want the cold water handy so I don’t know what the problem could be…must be a phobia!

  40. 540
    Marci Hawks says:

    Barefootaphobia – and I’ve apparently passed it on to my 16 yr old son. I didn’t realize my own phobia until I pointed out to him that he is never barefoot until he actually falls into bed. His response was to point the finger right back at me. I’d never even thought about it.

  41. 541
    Carol says:

    I tell young women that in order to have a great marriage and raise children without going insane, you must laugh. What a great example! My daughter (26) also has cellchargaphobia. She says she and Melissa would be great friends. 🙂

  42. 542
    mommathieszen says:

    toeaphobia. Yep, I don’t like toes. Okay, really, I don’t like feet so maybe I’m a feetaphobia. Little baby toes and feet are fine, but my 4 year old is getting to be old enough now that I’m not really liking her feet & toes. I almost always wear socks and if my hubby’s feet touch mine under the covers of our bed, I go crazy. He knows this about me and will PURPOSEFULLY do it to me every once in a while to get me going! Evil. : )

  43. 543
    Kristen says:

    A dear one in my household also has “laundrybasketaphobia” also termed “hamperaphobia” – and we are talking inches here gals! The hamper is inside a closet and the clothes are thrown in front of that closet door. I believe this loved one must also suffer from “boogeymanaphobia” as I am certain his fear of opening that closet door is that he will find the boogeyman looming. Of course since it houses a clothes hamper there might be an occasion that it smells as if the boogeyman or some other animal is lurking behind the door! (grin) I also believe that this loved one believes that the laundry fairy picks up those clothes and puts them in the hamper/wash!

  44. 544
    mommathieszen says:

    Oh yeah, and my husband has putstuffawayafteratripphobia. He left for a weekend retreat last weekend and his bag is still sitting right inside the door…opened and strewn about because he’s needed stuff from inside it since being back, but instead of putting it all away, he’s left the bag there and continues to pull stuff from it and leave it there. Are you kidding me!!! It’s been almost a week now. Typically it drives me nuts and I end up putting it away for him cause it’s driving me nuts, but I’m holding out this time just to see how long it sits there. It’s totally in the way for anyone trying to get in our house…how annoying!

  45. 545
    Miquela says:

    Girls! This is CRACKING me up 🙂 bahahahaha!!! I needed this so much this morning!! My precious husband is out of the country this week and I have 2 members of my husbands family that…to put it nicely… have worn out their welcome at my house this week… I have tried hard all week to be sweet in my words to them because they totally suffer from trashcanaphobia and Dishwasherphobia and SO many others phobias that it is about to drive me crazy!! The LORD gave me Proverbs 29:11 last night and I’ve been claiming that verse ever since! And then to wake up and see this post this morning was so sweet of our LORD. He knew exactly what I needed to make me laugh today in the midst of this situation. He is ALL I need!

  46. 546
    Sherry says:

    Beth, This is so funny! I have a certain gendered person in my house who does the exact same thing. I guess we learn to live with it because my complaining sure hasn’t changed it. Oh well, I suppose there could be worse phobias! Like fearofbathobia or toothbrushobia. It could always be worse! Praise god! Love Your humor I really enjoy it:)

  47. 547
    Allison Whitener says:

    My girls suffer from dishwasher-phobia. Somehow the dishes make it into the sink, but not into the dishwasher (which is right next to the sink). I’m not really sure what they are afraid of! My husband suffers from a form of trashcanaphobia which is known at dumbdphobia. The trash makes it into the garage, but he is afraid to actually take it to the dump to get rid of it. I can’t tell you how much is smells in the summer.

  48. 548
    Wendy says:

    I personally suffer from “cookingphobia”….can’t do it and don’t really want to. Also, “groceryshoppingphobia”…absolutely hate grocery shopping, always leaves me totally stressed.
    We have some unnamed individuals in our house who apparently have “opentrashcanlidphobia” in that they throw the trash on top of the trashcan…will not open the lid itself!
    And I guess my most famous phobia has to do with food touching on my plate…several years ago at one of our ladies meetings I had somewhat of a panic attack because the food on my plate was touching. Needless to say I have never lived that down and it is a source of laughter even now!
    Thanks so much for the giggles today!! 🙂

  49. 549
    shelly says:

    my sweet husband has hangerphobia…he cannot replace items he removes from the hanger to wear once he has worn it for 20 minutes…it falls to the floor with a thud and stays there for days….then it is dirty and he feels it must find the hamper…

  50. 550
    Liz says:

    Tiff: I too suffer from “disposaphobia.” I have stacks and stacks of papers (affectionately referred to as my organized chaos) which I promise myself I will go through and will need at some point. But, when company comes over, I stash them in bags and in the laundry room or even inside the WASHING machine they go to “hide.” (This is bad I know!) It’s insanity and surely showcases my “unorganizedaphobia” or fear of being known as an unorganized paper stacker/stasher. It’s a vicious cycle I tell ya!

    My husband is probably the least “phobafied” person in the house! Praise you Jesus! The kids and I do just fine with MANY of the previously mentioned afflictions.

    Thanks for the fun post!!

Leave a Reply

To receive a daily digest of comments on this post, enter your email address below: