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. 651
    Lindsay says:

    Whenever I got home from work last night I realized that a member of my family has coffeepotaphobia. This is the fear of turning OFF the coffee pot before leaving the house in the morning (This person is the last to leave usually, and the last to fill their coffee cup). After another gentle reminder about coffee pots burning the house down, burned gooey junk in the bottom of the pot, and the putrid smell of day-old burned coffee, I THINK WE HAVE A BREAKTHROUGH! This morning this family member remembered to turn the pot off before leaving home! Of course, this phobia might be avoided by an automatic turn-off switch, but said family member is too cheap to buy one. Duh.

    I will also tell on myself… my husband would say I have vacuumcleaneraphobia. I recently realized that we have TWO vacuum cleaners in our home. I was only aware of one. And I rarely use either of them. He spoils me with a cleaning lady 🙂

  2. 652
    Kathy Gerlach says:

    Hey, there are about three of these culprits in my house. And can you believe they all seem to be of the male persuasion?? It is a hoot when I walk by the kitchen table and find a candy wrapper sitting there. All they had to do was turn their body around and drop it in the trash can instead of laying it on the table. Thanks for your note, nice to see it happens at someone else’s house. I was thinking it only happened at the Gerlach/Turner home. I now have a name for it, and all evening yesterday and all day today, when there was a wrapper from candy, or a ho-ho cake, I pick it up and smile. Isn’t it cool when we can take something that can be frustrating, put a cute name on it, share it, and find out it does not occur only at your house? You can smile, take care of it, and go on! Thanks k

  3. 653
    Kathy Wilshire says:

    I, too, have foldaphobia. I only fold when the basket is too full to put any more socks, underwear, etc in it! A fellow household person used to have trashophobia and recyclablesaphobia, but he has managed to overcome it to a certain extent since all our kids left home and there’s no one else to do it but me. He will take them out to the road for me, but somehow the drink cans only make it to the counter, even though the bag for the cans is in plain sight on the cabinet handle right below where the said can is left!
    OH!! I also have closing-the-drawer/cabinetdoorphobia. I seem to always leave at least one open!

  4. 654
    Hannah says:

    I don’t know that my family has any phobias, but we do joke that we have a family “curse”. The curse is one in which whenever we go anywhere the car will break down. For instance my dad and I once went to rescue my brother in N.C. because his blazer broke down. On our way to meet him our alternator went out and we had three flat tires. On the way back while towing his truck the hitch to the trailor nearly broke off, on the interstate I might add. This has made for some very interesting family history and funny stories over the years! The curse was handed down to all 3 of us children. I like to say my sister married out of it, I”m planning on marrying out of it next June 11th (yipppy), and well my poor brother says he’s just stuck like chuck!

  5. 655
    Jesus Chicky says:

    I even have seasonal phobias.. weedeaterphobia and putawaythexmastreephobia

    I do have sockaphobia- Just where do all of the socks go! And why do men’s socks have more patterns than most women’s?

    Secret to helping foldaphobia- hangers- hang all shirts up as soon as they come out of the dryer- pants go on coat rack hooks in the closet- I only fold socks and boxers.

  6. 656
    momtotyandow says:

    Well mine is not so much foldaphobia but put-it-away-phobia. I always get it washed and folded, but never seem to get it put away. Just sits folded in the baskets forever. My husband and children definitely suffer from trashcanaphobia as well. My two year old suffers from his-bed-aphobia. He just wants to be in mommy’s bed. (hee hee) truthfully, mommy doesn’t mind that at all.

  7. 657
    Susan Knowles says:

    I’m a day late but all of the comments were so funny I definitely had a good laugh. Alas, my husband who was raised with household help has putanythingand everythingawayophobia and training boys in this house is challenging because of the “sins of the father” syndrome!
    But he dalso has beinglateophobiaand he must live with my ontimeophobia. He suffers so! Loved the laughs, all. Have a lovely day!

  8. 658
    paintergal says:

    Oh my goodness. What a riot!
    I recognized myself and someone I’ve lived with for almost 27 years in so many of these phobias!
    Anyone mention dirtysinkaphobia?
    I can’t stand if there is a spot or stain in my white cast iron kitchen sink. Must get out the Bar Keeper’s Friend and clean it.
    The above mentioned person suffers from Throwoutpaperphobia.
    We have piles of papers everywhere. Next to his (ahem) side of the bed, on the kitchen island, on the dryer.
    Dries me nuts!

  9. 659
    Theresa says:

    High School senior boy
    Baseball player (means very busy right now)
    Needs to acquire simple skills before leaving for college
    Driving me nuts…….
    but I know, I know…..

  10. 660
    Rebecca says:

    Does “shoeputawayaphobia” count? Someone in my home leaves his shoes in the living room for days on end. One time, he had left so many pairs of shoes in the living room that I lined them all up in front of the front door where he would have to trip over them as he came home. (My sin-nature kicked in.)

  11. 661
    Sally says:

    I confess I have had undercookedchickenaphobia. For the first 20 years of my marriage, my fear of serving undercooked chicken bore the fruit of serving very over cooked, tough and stringy chicken. My husband has been the best sport about this and never complained. Didn’t realize until a few months ago, that I could cook chicken a little less and not give my family salmonella. They are all soooo much happier now, that I wonder how miserable they were before?????

  12. 662
    Kelly Jo says:

    I bet I misplace my car keys 5 out of 7 days, so I suffer with wheresmycarkeysaphobia and I’m currently dealing with the alarmclockgoingoffcan’tgetoutofthebedaphobia!!!!! About peed my pants when I saw the tape-measure thing! You make me laugh out loud love you bunches

  13. 663
    Kari says:

    My dear, sweet husband suffers from the terrible affliction that can only be referred to as closeddooraphobia. It’s a very serious case, and also transfers to drawers. In our first (very tiny) apartment, I used to walk into the kitchen and count out loud as I closed the doors and drawers he had left open. I believe his record is 16 (!).

  14. 664
    patty says:

    this is great! My 5 yo granddaughter must have bonephobia. At her kindergarten orientation, she tearfully pulled at her teacher’s sleeve and cried “did you tell them I don’t like chicken on a bone?” Then later she asked of her new teachers “Do they know I’m a princess?” Beth, this part reminded me of something you said in the “Fruit of the Spirit” Bible study about how we girls are brought up to believe we are princesses but are startled to learn not everyone knows it, but GOD knows it! How precious.

  15. 665
    Rose D says:

    I am a recovering lawnophobic myself! For years I suffered fears of my lawn- things like weeding, planting, trimming… I barely got my lawn mowed (this is not a good thing when one has 4 acres)! My motto was “I faught the lawn- and the lawn won”. Despite years of therapy, there was no overcoming this- so- I got rid of that place and moved to a place where lawn care is included. No longer do I live in fear of being lynched by neighbors for a bumper crop of dandelions and creeping Charlie!

  16. 666
    DigiNee says:

    I have going to work-aphobia —- but with much assistance and, chocolate for cryin’ out loud, daily I overcome . . . and of course —- the electric bill, house payment, gas bill, water bill, phone bill, economy, and etc. – all work in harmony to help me to overcome my phobia of going to work! Aren’t they nice to work so closely together to help a siesta get up each morning for work?

  17. 667
    Melissa Shirley says:

    I have nochocolateinthehouseaphobia. I HAVE to have chocolate around or I won’t survive a night 🙂 Oh and also have chairnotleftemptyphobia because I don’t want it to be lonely. It has to be filled with clothes-clean ones but clothes. They are scared of being on hangers and being forgotten. So they stay out where they are noticed. My friend had nofillingbirdfeedersphobia. She loves to sit there and watch them try to find food. So cruel! And I am so in trouble for telling you but hey-she is on a cruise and I am not, so there! Haha.

  18. 668
    Laura says:

    uneatenfoodleftonplateaphobia or

    I’d never have made it as a waitress. I’m so grossed out by people’s have leftover food. Or those special shaker cups used to shake up protein shakes. I cannot stand having to open one up and pull out the yucky pieces inside that break up the protein mix. YUCK.

  19. 669
    Linda says:

    My family has a fear of clothes hampers. Maybe they think something or someone lives in there and they would disturb them if they lifted the lid. I’m sure it is just a matter of being thoughtful to the hamper dwellers, don’t you??

  20. 670
    AntSherrie says:

    I need a name for my worst phobia…if my siesta’s can help me name it MAYBE I can over come it. The symptom: I can NOT put something away if it does NOT have a specific place it belongs. A child who asked to borrow a pair of socks once laughed hysterically when she opened my sock drawer…”your socks are lined up to march”. You can open any drawer or closet in my home and they are neat and organized even my ‘junk’ drawer! NOW the problem…it began in childhood! My mom always said I cleaned from the inside out. Time to clean my room– I would start in my drawers, every pair of socks, panties, t-shirts folded exactly the same way. Then I would move to the closet and then if time permitted get to the items that needed to be dealt with that caused my room to be in the “need to be cleaned” definition of my mom to begin with. I have NFL glasses with logo’s on them, they each have to face the same way. IF I don’t have time to put it away exactly as it ‘SHOULD’ be I CAN NOT bring myself to put it way. I can not put underclothes away at my parents because they do NOT fold them first! Therefore, cleaning from the “inside out” is NOT a learned phobia. This definitely fits into our phobia category…but I can not come up with a proper name. Can you help me?

  21. 671
    Janean says:

    Some small individuals in my sphere of influence have shoephobia the uncanny ability to never put their shoes in the proper place rather to leave the abandoned in the middle of the floor or where ever their feet happen to jump out of them.

  22. 672
    Kristi says:

    Okay..I think that is the first red flag that goes up when you may be living with a hoarder! I’m just saying keep your radar up! It starts with an orange then the next thing you know you cant walk through your house!!!

  23. 673
    Denise says:

    This post is too funny — much needed!

    I’m still trying to figure out the difference between the quirk post awhile back, and this phobia one? Lord, deliver me.

    As empty-nesters, I have to give my husband a thumbs up because he doesn’t have too many of the mentioned phobias except the That’s right, he will use the same piece over and over, until I get a paper towel to pick it up and throw it out. Disgusting… Oh, one more… He has the where’s.the.remote.control.phobia. If it’s out of his sight, he panics.
    I actually have many phobias. Like some of the siestas, have the Can’t go anywhere without some reading material — just in case.

  24. 674
    Terri says:

    Oh honey, it’s sooooo not just the Moore’s!!! My dear family member has a morbid fear of food that has been in the fridge longer than a few days. In fairness, they have so greatly improved beyond the “old days,” when they would take a whiff of the (offending) food item, pass it to me, ask me if I think it’s good (I’d cooked it up the day before), then sureptitiously throw it away when I wasn’t looking. And no, it wasn’t because I’m a crummy cook. 😉 Really!

  25. 675
    Donielle says:

    There are a few in this home that have “hamperphobia”! I have hampers everywhere, and they are always empty!

  26. 676
    Margaret says:

    A dearly beloved at my house had years of canopenbutnotclose the cupboard dooraphobia. Praise the Lord. . . he has broken free!!!

  27. 677
    Jan says:

    My loved one suffers from laundrybasketphobia; the clothes land just inches away…..

  28. 678
    Kristi B. says:

    People who know me would say i have laundryophobia. Some how my clothes never make it to the laundry room until a few days later!

  29. 679
    Barb says:

    My dear hubby has closeddrawerophobia. Every morning on the way to the bathroom I pass by the chest and close the top two drawers which are just slightly open. Perhaps he thinks if he closes them all the way, it will bother me when I’m still sleeping? NOT! They are open that little bit even after a shower in the middle of the day.

  30. 680
    Kara says:

    I don’t like closing kitchen cabinets. I have gotten better about doing it after freaking out my husband a few times (when he walked into the kitchen to find almost every cabinet door open). The reason behind it is I don’t like the sound it makes when it closes. It sounds like a slam to be – and w/ six kids I know I’ll be in that cabinet again w/in minutes so “open” makes sense to me. At least a little sense. But I’m getting so much better. Selah. Pause and think about that. B/c my husabnd thought I’d NEVER change.

  31. 681
    Carol Obenhoff says:

    O you crack me up! a friend of mine has that “cellphonechargerphobia” too….ive never understood it….just plug the darn thing in!

    thank you for always making me smile :O)

    <3 to u! carol

  32. 682
    Amanda says:

    I used to have foldaphobia, but it has gotten so much better since I became a mommy last year. However, I have weedingphobia. I hate weeding the very small flower gardens we have. Hate it!!

  33. 683
    Lisa says:

    Ok… I am discovering, upon reading the posts that the Days have all sorts of phobias … trashcanaphobia – foldaphobia – putawayaphobia – chargedcellphonaphobia … just reading all of these I have developed havaphobiaphobia … 🙂

  34. 684
    shannon says:

    I confess to having a case of mom-has-a-priority-besides-me-phobia.

    And I am a grown woman. GROWN.

    But I am somehow irrationally upset when I call my mother, who lives almost 2,000 miles away, and she doesn’t immediately pick up her phone. Does she not KNOW that I NEED her RIGHT THIS MINUTE??? What on earth could she be DOING besides sitting by the phone WAITING FOR MY SUMMONS?

    I, on the other hand, sometimes ignore her calls. I am busy.

  35. 685
    Rebecca Smith says:

    Love it! I have a very similar experience with someone in my family who will remain nameless. He has a cabinetdoorphobia. Whenever a kitchen cabinet or drawer is opened, this person ALWAYS forgets to shut it making it very easy to identify what this person was doing in the kitchen. Example: The cabinet door where the coffee is stored will be open, the drawer with the spoons is pulled out and the sugar lid will be sitting next to the sugar jar. Hmmm…wonder what that person was doing?? Gotta love them though. It just shows how much they need us.

  36. 686
    Trish says:

    I am the poor person with Trashcanaphobia… My husband says I drive him nuts with the splenda packets… poor guy! Thanks for making me laugh I really needed this today!! P.S. love the pictures.

  37. 687
    Amanda says:

    Laundrybasketophobia- that one is evidently common.

    Rinseyourowndishesophobia- that one too.

    Mindyourmommyophobia- While surely not uncommon, it is obviously too shameful to talk about. If you or your little loved ones suffer from Mindyourmommyophobia, please know you are not alone. With time and research (prayer) there CAN be a cure.

  38. 688
    SueB says:

    I can’t believe it I thought it was just me!!! I have a close male relative, who has a problem with his soda cans after he’s consumed all but 2 drops of the 12 ozs. He leaves it on the counter ABOVE the cabinet that has the trash receptacle in it. Its like if he opens that door something will grab his arm and take him away. Mind you this is a 57 yr.old. His excuse, it still had some soda in it. The stinkin sink is right there inches away.
    Thanks Beth I thought I had Canthrowaphobia!!! And that I was all alone in this world. Love ya, SueB

  39. 689
    Candace Loucks says:

    I’d like to praise the Lord publicly for the victory He has given me over my takethetrashoutaphobia over the last 5 months that my husband has been away with the military. Now this may sound small, but trust me, this victory is probably my most prized…possibly even over conquering solo-tax season, mastering a military move, taming a 1 year old, and hobbling around an 8 month pregnant belly! That husband of mine may never understand the pride I feel each week as I wheel that can to the curb…nor will he, because I have about a 1% chance of continuing this miracle of miracles when he returns! Ha!

  40. 690
    Christy says:

    Oh, My hubby definitely has trashcanphobia! Love this! He put paper cups from fast food restaurants in the kitchen sink! Why? He also has dishwasherphobia.

  41. 691
    Cindy says:





  42. 692
    Nanette Lynch says:

    My college kids will be home this week leading to the much feared clutterphobia and lackofsilencephobia!

    I LOVE SUMMER!!!!!!

  43. 693
    Jennifer says:

    Turnsignalphobia…the inexplicable fear of using that little stick on the left hand side of your steering wheel before turning off the highway. I have often contemplated knocking politely on their passenger side window and snapping it off. However this would not be very winsome, so instead I pray daily that these drivers will overcome their fears. LOL!

    • 693.1
      NCJane says:


      I love it!
      Turnsignalaphobia. I knew it was an epidemic, but I didn’t know it had a name. If I had a dime for every time I’ve seen turnsignalaphobia in my town, I think I’d be a millionaire. Some days I’d love to be a traffic officer. 🙂

    • 693.2
      Sarah says:

      My father has just the opposite. He has turnsignaloffaphobia. It doesn’t matter how long ago he merged lanes, that turn signal will stay on until he makes an actual turn. He apparently cannot hear the blinking noise that the turn signal makes, even though it is so loud it drives the rest of the car crazy.

  44. 694
    Monica says:

    My daughter has Roomaphobia. It gives her great fear to put things back in her room. Shoes, toys, markers, dolls, socks, clothes…they all stay in the living room, dining room and kitchen because of this great fear.

    My husband has Dishwasherphobia. He gets panic attacks if his dishes get near the dishwasher. He can get as far as the counter RIGHT NEXT to the sink and dishwasher, but that’s as far as this phobia will let him go.

  45. 695
    JoAnn D says:

    I have seen in my family over the years the signs of “icecube-refill-aphobia”. This manifests itself in replacing a totally empty or almost empty ice cube tray back in the freezer. As if it will rain in the freezer and automatically refill the trays! A closely associated phobia is “newtoilet-tissue-aphobia”. This person will leave the empty tissue roll in place and not ever replace it with the new one which is in close proximity! It’s too scary !!!

  46. 696
    Shelley Williams says:

    My husband suffers from “honey-I-can’t-find-the-(fill in the blank)-in-the-cabinet-even-though-it’s-right-in-front-of-my-face-phobia”. It’s a real sickness in my house. I’m praying him through it right now.

  47. 697
    angella mayfield says:

    My nine year old suffers from the phobia of not flushing the toilet. Gross gross gross. My phobias as well and my other 2 boys and husband is same as the above. I also suffer from not mailing cards to family members on time. i buy them and they sit there starring at me until the birthday has passed then i mail them. or maybe it’s me just being lazy but my heart is in the right place.

  48. 698
    Helen says:

    Hey Beth,
    I’m running a few days behind on reading the blog….I knew there were a few new post and couldn’t wait to get here this morning with my cup of coffee. How funny…..and now we have a name for it!!!! My 26 year old daughter who drove home yesterday for Mothers Day weekend just woke up and I was able to tell her that I finally knew what she suffered from. She looked at me half awake with a puzzled look. I immediately announced…..trashcanaphobia!!!! She said, “it sounds like you’ve been with Beth this morning”! When she buys anything new the tags always go on the dresser or bed and stay there for a few days and eventually make their way to the trash can. I’ve given motherly advice over the years telling her she could save a step if she just thew things straight in the trash can….this has been going on for awhile and seems to be a running joke when she is home. I think she does it now just for the fun of it!

    My sweet husband of 30 years has dishwasheraphobia. He always rinses his plate or glass out and then leaves them in the sink. I can’t stand to have something sitting in the sink so after I hear the water turn off or see the light go out I make a trip to the kitchen and put things in the dishwasher. I know he gets dishes out of the dishwasher so you think he ever wonders how they get in there??? I’m so thankful for the precious give he is to me….you won’t ever hear me complain about that even if I think it!!!

    As for me, I probably suffer from magazinestackaphobia. I’m not sure where my time goes but it seems like lately I haven’t had time to even look through the few magazines that I subscribe to. The stack has grown over the months and so now when I glance in that direction I immediately become overwhelmed and wonder where in the world do I start. I convince myself that I dare not throw them away….they are full of recipes that I think I might enjoy but never get away from the “old faithfuls” to try anything new.

    As for the orange peel on the counter…..I’m sure Keith was just trying to fill the kitchen with the aroma of freshly peeled citrus!!!

    Hope your day is blessed beyond measure!

  49. 699
    Megan says:

    Beth — my friend sent me this link to this article — so true! Have you seen it? I thought I would pass it along: It’s a “Why we love Beth Moore” article. Number two is my favorite.

    • 699.1
      Jen H. says:

      Love, love, love that! And I completely agree with all of it! 🙂 Beth is my good friend, you know… 🙂

  50. 700
    gayle scott says:

    we have “dishwasherphobia” at our house. I can leave the sink clean, and counters clear and when I come home every glass plate and utensil that has been used that day is either in the sink full of water, or rinsed sitting on the counter waiting for me to put it into the dishwasher. I have thanked my family (of all grown people) for honoring me with a machine that is all mine, (of course I could also claim the washer, dryer, iron and vacuum cleaner) but have graciously offered it to all. I invite them to open and explore the wonder of placing it along the nicely placed plastic holders…but alas, they don’t want to steal my joy. Happy Mother’s Day to all!

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