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. 101
    Stephanie says:

    I have an elevator phobia. This one is not too hard to live with as all buildings have stairs. But, I have had some interesting experiences.

    For some reason, I don’t find it humiliating to ask people for the necessary help to feed this phobia. If my memory serves me well, I actually had a security guard unlock a stairwell for me so that I wouldn’t have to ride the elevator in a hospital. My teenage son was slightly(?) embarrassed.

    Most recently, several in my family were visiting someone in the hospital (different hospital) and they chose to ride the elevator. I think it was to the 9th floor. Of course, with hospitals having different sized wings, I ended up on the seventh floor (in the stairwell) with no more floors to go. My husband had to text me, “Where are you?” All I had to do was walk down a hallway on that floor and go the remaining 2 floors up. Easy!! It was well worth it. =)

  2. 102
    Becky Smith says:

    Leavingthecapoffthetoothpasteaphobia. It drives me nuts, because my two year old will find the tube of tooth paste and squeeze it out.

    The unsaid family member also has the don’tsnapthebabiesoutfitaphobia after changing a diaper. It never fails, after he changes a diaper the crotch of her bubble or onsie will be left unsnapped?! I never have understood this one. We recently went on vacation with his parents, and his mama (who is the absolute best mother in law a girl could want) changed the babies diaper and left the outfit unsnapped! Maybe it runs in the family!!

    Thanks for the great laugh today!

  3. 103
    Tracy Leary says:

    I myself suffer from putting-up-my-shoes aphobia. At this very moment, I have 5 pairs of shoes out of place in my house. I find comfort in having a pair of shoes in every room. You will also find them in my entry way in the very spot that I walked “out of them” upon entering the house.

    It is a wonder that my husband has not demanded that I seek counseling.

    Tracy Leary
    Richlands, NC

  4. 104
    Sandy says:

    I suffer from shoerackaphobia. My shoes pile up all over the bedroom floor until Saturday when I relunctantly gather them and put them in the closet (not neatly or on the rack, just in the closet). My youngest suffered from trashcanaphobia but only with banana peels. I used to find them behind the television. Miss that kid.

  5. 105
    Beth Mason says:

    Oh!!!! One unnamed person leaves his socks different places. So I suppose he has sockaphobia. I often feel like I am on an Easter egg (sock) hunt! And one almost twenty daughter has putthingsintheirplace phobia! I know I don’t have to explain that one! Thanks for the smiles today! Happy Cinco de Mayo from TN!!!!!!!

  6. 106
    Ann says:

    I definitely live with laundry-basket phobics. The laundry goes right NEXT to the basket. Not in it.

  7. 107
    Shelly says:

    So that is what you call it! I have a loved one who suffers from trashcanaphobia too! I have others who think my house is the trash can–I don’t need/want this 3 year old calendar anymore, but the kids do! Aaaa! I think that is a version of trashcanaphobia too!

    Personally, I have a time phobia. I will be 5 minutes late to my own funeral, I promise!

  8. 108
    Sue Burke says:

    My dear husband is a PERFECTIONIST and PROCRASTINATOR. If he cannot do something perfect, it doesn’t get done (or finished). He will start building/remodeling/whatever his masterpiece only to put the tools away and never get back to finishing. We have more unfinished projects around our house than I can count. His “disease” has appropriately diagnosed him as a “PERCRASTIONATORIST”.

    • 108.1
      Julie says:

      Sue, I’m jealous, your husband puts the tools away!! :0)

      • Julie says:

        Oops, hit the keyboard when putting the laptop down to see why my 4yr old was calling out “mommy”. However, he was/is sleeping fine…

        This has been so good for me tonight, thank you all for the blessing of laughter.
        I too share the ‘putawaythelaundryphobia’ and sometimes even the ‘foldthelaundryphobia’ as well. And the ‘trashcanaphobia’ reigns in our house too!

        Blessings to all!

  9. 109
    Kristi says:

    WOW – I thought our household was the only one with these types of issues. All of my friends’ houses seem to be perfect every time I drop in…but mine – no way. I once read a book that used the term “CHAOS”, Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome, that sums up all of my phobias.

  10. 110
    Yolanda says:

    My hubs is an absolute dream, no joke. He helps me so much, even washing the dishes while I’m cleaning the table off. But the phobia, can-no-do-“emptysinkdrainerphobia”.

    • 110.1
      Yolanda says:

      I must confess on myself, I have “sockaphobia”. Can’t stand to put my hand inside of a sock to turn it correctly to then be placed in the washing machine. It just gets washed, all bundled up, wrong side out. Oh

  11. 111
    Sandi Hester says:

    Our family member that had a phobia was our 4 legged furry “kid” – what she had was pootaphobia – that’s right – she was scared to death of passing gas. If someone in the room pooted she would jump faster than you’ve ever seen and BOLT across the room. She was even frightened of her own poots. Her head would whip around to look at her hinny and then she would run across the room like someone shot her in the hinny. It was weird! I miss her and her little phobia though – we just lost her a little over a month ago.

    • 111.1
      Dianne Walters says:

      I’m really so sorry for your loss, but before I got to that part, I was laughing so hard that it made me cry!

      • Sandi Hester says:

        Thank you Dianne! It still makes us laugh too. This is probably a little to much info. 🙂 but we still can’t pass gas on the couch without thinking of her :).

  12. 112
    Marcy says:

    Oh yes, we have some phobias….hangatowelophobia, my 13 year old daughter has it bad, so does my 11 yr old son. Or perhaps it’s steponthecarpetophobia….therefore; if we keep our bedroom floor covered in towels you’ll be ok???

  13. 113
    Katie says:

    “Wash Hubby’s coffee mug phobia” Yeah, I can wash the entire pile of dirty dishes and yet every time, with out fail the one thing still dirty sitting out on the counter as I turn of the kitchen light at the end of the day is that danged coffee mug. He uses it everyday too! Its his metal starbucks one he takes to work. All I can say is that I have a subconcious jealousy that this coffee mug gets to be with my husband every day all day. Its what I figure anyway. 🙂

  14. 114
    Dawn says:

    idk which is funnier the phobia thing or the “caution fun ahead” warning label at the end of the post! ok, we have some common, well known phobias here in my household. My 9 year old boy has cleanaphobia…he is incapable of putting anything back where he found it. Coupled with this is the classic laundrybasketaphobia. I regularly have to collect his dirties from off his loft bed rather than the laundry basket.
    His bff/my surrogate son who practically lives here has wet towelaphobia. I have yet to walk in the bathroom and not find his towel on the floor after his shower. He also suffers from the rare nighttime toiletseataphobia. Oddly enough, it is only during the night that he fears lifting the toilet seat more than my wrath! Perhaps lying in the horizontal position for so long causes some sort of chemical imbalance.
    In all fairness, I suppose I should point out a few phobias of my own. I, like Amanda, have foldaphobia. Even having to walk down two flights of stairs every morning to get clothes has been no match for this mighty foe. I have also suffered from closethefridgedooraphobia for many years. I run a state daycare out of a portion of my home and the girls that work with me have long made it a habit of following behind me to shut the fridge door. Of course this just annoyes me because I’m in the middle of cooking and may eventually need back in there. Some have tried to label it laziness, but thanks to my Mama Beth I have gotten to the true root:)

  15. 115
    TNGirl says:

    Not only do we have Trashcanaphobia at my house. We have trashcanlidaphobia. Sometimes the trash goes on the lid or in the floor beside the trashcan! Scandalous I know.

    Hamperphobia is not far behind!

  16. 116
    Allyaggie says:

    I have shoeclosetaphobia. My shoes never seem to make it in their proper place, the shoe rack within my closet. They,instead,can be found strewn all over the house particularly lain in the walking paths of others (oops!). Unfortunately the shoeclosetaphobia gene has been passed down to my younger daughter, Eleanor.

  17. 117
    Sylvia says:

    I have mopaphobia. I will sweep and vacuum, but put off mopping too long.

  18. 118
    Tracy says:

    Oh my lands, yes. Trashcanphobia is alive and kicking at my house. My sweet husband has the most strange way of leaving a paper towel trail all over the kitchen. Seriously, I can tell where’s he been by the trail of wadded up paper towels that never never never EVER make it to the trash can.
    It’s the same way with dirty clothes in the bedroom. The unmentionables are always in the bathroom floor, merely 3 steps from the dirty clothes hamper. It’s clotheshamperphobia at its finest/worst.
    It’s as if he really believes in the trash can and hamper fairy that come along and pick up after him, but everything always magically finds its rightful place!
    The fairy occasionally goes on strike, but then realizes she refuses to live this way! Ha!

  19. 119
    Colleen Delbridge says:

    My sons have trascanaphobia & all the men in my home (husband & 3 sons) suffer from dishwashaphobia. Plenty of fuel for this codependent!

  20. 120
    Heidi A. says:

    A closely related phobia to trashcanaphobia is trashSACKaphobia which prevents the sufferer from pulling the sack out of the can when it is full and taking it out to the dumpster. This phobia requires the sufferer to develop a great skill in trash pyramid building. If you know of a sufferer who hasn’t mastered this skill, I know a 13 year old boy who is an expert!

  21. 121
    BeckyB says:

    No way! It’s not just here?? I’d never considered documenting it with photographs until your brilliant post! I particularly loved the tape measure idea! Did you leave the tape measure out for the poor afflicted family member to see? Now THAT would be an ingenius way to communicate how baffled we get over this malady… but alas, I don’t think it would do any good at all. Mine would step over it and wonder why I’m leaving such a mess everywhere!
    I, too, am baffled by this behavior but after 25 years, I’ve come to accept it. Receipts, bread bags, banana peels and all. And, by the grace of God, he has come to accept my returnaphobia (fear of returning items to the store even if they don’t fit or are defective – I might embarrass myself!).
    Very thankful for God’s grace, shed abroad in our hearts and our marriages!
    Love you!

  22. 122
    Teri Wenck says:

    My husband has trashcanaphobia…he also has runthedishwasheraphobia. He just can’t load the dishwasher and run it right then, he always waits and then their are more dishes waiting. I kid you not, right now on my kitchen cabinet is a full set of dishes just waiting their turn to be but in the washer.

    My best friend also has “closedcabinetdooraphobia”…she will leave every kitchen cabinet (and drawer) open.

  23. 123
    toknowhim says:

    I echo both of your phobias Amanda, and then add Unpackboxesaphobia… My husband does not have that phobia, and we are going on 3 months after our move with boxes that are waiting on me to free them…

    Love ya…

  24. 124
    Sara says:

    As an elementary school teacher I have a HUGE phobia of school cafeteria lunch food. “mysterymeataphobia.” I stay away from all cafeteria food (except the tater tots–can tater tots ever be bad?!) with a ten-foot pole. Even if I’ve forgotten my lunch at home I’d rather deal with hunger than go “there.” 🙂 Students had “chicken” burritos today and the “chicken” literally made me squirm. Is dark red a color of chicken? Brown bagging is the way to go! ha!

  25. 125
    Kristin says:

    Thanks for a good giggle this afternoon! We have this very same phenomenon in my home as well. You are not alone. It has baffled me many times. 🙂

  26. 126
    Colleen Delbridge says:

    Now that I’ve read other phobias, I can add a few. My eldest son has cupboardaphobia – his clothes lie all over the floor. He doesn’t seem to know how to use cupboards! Dishwashaphobia seems to be a common problem. My phobia is housework! Love you all & so privileged to belong to this amazing siestahood!

  27. 127
    Leah says:

    My number one phobia is catphobia. When I go outside and see a cat somewhere, everytime I freeze and pray to God that the cat doesn’t come to me. Occasionally, I took the coward way and go back inside and try again later on hoping the cat is gone. When going to new friend’s house, I always ask if he/she have a cat or not so I can prepare myself to watch out and while I’m there, I kept one of my eyes on the cat all the time and stay close to a friend if I needed to.

  28. 128
    JoAnn from Houston says:

    Praise the Lord ! Trashcanaphobia runs rabid at my office and especially in the kitchen. I’ve been wanting to address this, now known, incurable disease with a stern but humorous petition. I am printing this post (with pics) and putting it on our kitchen bulletin board. Thank you, thank you. My prayer has been answered.

    My opinion is that it is purely a territorial instinct. 1.If someone (of the same gender)that does not reside there be inside the area where said article has been strategically placed (and in full view of trash can)it’s like a neon billboard shouting “You are on MY turf, so watch your step” ! 2. Could be a way of finding their way back; like dropping bread crumbs. Ummm….maybe that’s why they keep doing it because when we pick it up, they are forever lost.

  29. 129
    mercy4Drew says:

    Shuttingcabinetdoorphobia–that is a mouthful. Can you put springs on them to make them shut automatically?

  30. 130
    Crystie says:

    I admit freely to being a chronic sufferer of white-sandwich-breadaphobia. The mere thought of it makes my stomach turn! I must add that this particular phobia has a twin sister called soggy-bread-aphobia. Yes, my dear Cracker Barrel waitress, I am the nut that asks for all the fixings on the grilled chicken sandwich, but then pleads earnestly that the grilled sourdough bread be put on the side! Steam from hot meat + bread = a soggy mess and a customer shaken with the horror of it all! 🙂

  31. 131
    Misty says:

    I seem to have myself a case of the dirtysinkwaterophobia which will cause me to put off washing dishes that have been soaking for as long as I can in order to avoid the dirty dishwater – however, this also aggravates said phobia, as the longer you wait, the nastier that water gets! Ugh!

    I also have an awfully severe case of Homemaker’s ADD in which I start doing dishes, but then something that is on my kitchen counter should be in a different room. When I take that item – usually right away, so that I won’t forget – to the other room, the spot where I need to put that item is a mess and requires cleaning as well. As I begin to clean that area, other items begged to be placed in their proper places in other rooms and each room starts a chain reaction of “clean the spot before the item gets put away – but wait that goes somewhere else” and it makes an even larger mess. I have found a fabulous way to avoid the ADD altogether…unfortunately this creates a home with far less space to be enjoyed.

    Great! Now I have to go do dishes…and clean off my counters…and clean out my fridge…and sweep my floors…

  32. 132
    Rebecca says:

    There are only 2 of us in this household and one is a dishwasherphobia, neverputanythingbackphobia and Laundrabasketphobia and this is not me. I have everythinginitsplacephobia, so now you now who does all the work. LOL

  33. 133
    Faran says:

    As I look around my den contemplating family phobias, it occurs to me that maybe, just maybe, I have a bit of bookshelfaphobia. There is evidence that I prefer stacks of books on coffee tables and end tables and bars and floors rather than on actual shelves.

    Not that I don’t have shelves, but my significant other suffers from givingbooksawayphobia so there simply isn’t much room on the shelves for my stacks.

  34. 134
    Julie dk says:

    Two big phobias at my house. Vacuumawayaphobia – my family member(s) will bless me with helping me out with this household chore but will leave the vacuum right in the middle of the floor in the last room completed. Also my “all man” teenage son suffers from a severe case of backpackaphobia. No matter how many loose paper assignments he possesses he will carry them stacked on top of his planner, accordian folder, cell phone, jacket and whatever else he happens to need for that day. In the five days that I drop him off at school each week – he proceeds to drop part of this mess on his way out of the car at least 3 times. For an organizational and control freak like I am – it stresses me greatly.

  35. 135
    JJen says:

    We have a disease in my family called “goingtobedaphobia” I have three wonderful men in my life and none of them except the baby on a good day seems to want to sleep, ever! I dearly adore sleep. My hubby thinks you go to bed at midnight and wake up at 5:30 in the morning every day and the kids think 9:30 is their actual bedtime. Alas, we all have to lay something at the cross and among other things mine will be sleep… and somehow I will conquer my puffy/darkcircleundertheeye-phobia, one day 🙁

  36. 136
    Kay says:

    The three people with whom I live (and love) suffer from extreme trashcanophobia. Is there therapy for this disease? Or should I get therapy so that I don’t care anymore?

  37. 137
    Bethany says:

    This is funny! Thanks for the laugh in the midst of my difficult day 🙂
    I suffer from unfinishedteaaphobia….my tea cup is always on the counter half full in the morning as I am crazily running out of the house because I also have beontimeaphobia that I am in serious treatment for!

  38. 138
    sherry says:

    my loved one has dishwasheraphobia. and it has been passed down to our offspring. i have cleanoutthecaraphobia and it drives my sweet husband crazy.

  39. 139
    Jess says:

    I couldn’t think of a clever name for this so I’ll use the actual one: Podophobia. I hate feet. My best friend puts her feet on me just to gross me out. They are disgusting and weird and I dont like them. Eww.

    Also…I’m ashamed to admit this because I am from Texas…I hate bbq sauce. It’s not that I am afraid of it…I just hate it. Even the smell of it makes me want to run away and my stomach turns. Eww

    • 139.1
      Rene says:

      I live in Oklahoma and sometimes the office hosts a luncheon and it’s almost always BBQ – I hate BBQ. I think I have something wrong with my tastebuds because I can actually taste oil (petroleum oil not cooking oil)in the meat. This happens no matter what restaurant it is catered from. But when my husband smokes meat – it’s great. Sorry to get off the phobias but just had to throw that in.

  40. 140

    i have 2 trashcanaphobics at my house, and, amazingly, both of them happen to have y chromosomes. i have to say that i see evidence of this phobia being at epidemic levels. i work at starbucks, and i can’t tell you how many times i have to clean up after the phobics, and the trash can is less than 6″ from where they leave their detritus.

    the answer i always get when i confront the phobics at my house is: “must’ve been a ghost or a burgler.”

  41. 141
    Christine says:

    The wonderful man I live with has clotheshangerphobia–he just can’t handle those triangular devices. I’ve tried, plastic, wooden, wire, paper cover wire–nothing helps. He prefers to drape his clothing over bed foot boards, clothes hampers, chairs–you name it. Thank heaven for Command hooks–I have several of them on the back of all my doors. He does much better with them, but forget the hangers!

    • 141.1
      Lisa says:

      Maybe your poor husband growing up had a ‘Mommy Dearest’ like Joan Crawford, who went beserk on the kids and yelled, “NO WIRE COAT HANGERS!”

  42. 142
    Anne says:

    I definitely have dishwashaphobia. Note that this is not dishwasher phobia since we do not have enough water hook-ups in our kitchen and all dishes must be washed by hand. Ugh!

    Also, I think that I must have cellphonaphobia, which is not a fear of charging the cell phone, but of answering it in the first place. I do not enjoy talking to people on the phone, and I never answer mine unless it is a family member or my best friend calling.

  43. 143
    leslie says:

    I have “wet hand phobia” when I touch anything that is wet besides water out of a sink (ie:in produce aisle,meat aisle taking out trash…anything wet). I get completly sick to my stomach I even do this weird dance like my skin is crawling …I have no clue what I have just touched so my mind wonders like crazy… makes me cringe thinking about it.

    glad i am not alone in the phobia department!

  44. 144
    Amy Beth says:

    I have flathairaphobia. Some girls travel with an extra tube of lip gloss in their purse, but I? I travel with an extra set of velcro rollers.

    (I’m tempted to use the phrase “because that’s how I roll.”)

    (But I cannot use a pun like that.)

    (I just want you to know I considered it.)

  45. 145
    Carrie says:

    Ok as a counseling student and future counselor I believe that these diagnosis should become apart of the new DSM-V for mental health professionals. I think clients like these will keep my shoe allowance going for years. You might should try some gradual exposure therapy with the trashcanaphobia, but then agian after suffering for so many years said sufferer would probably go into shock!!

    I love post like this!!!

  46. 146
    Katie says:

    My husband is overcome with “laundryhamperaphobia”. Each year of marriage it seems to get a but worse. i guess he is just blessed that i find great satisfaction in putting things where they belong;)

  47. 147
    pfletcher says:

    We have a serious case of shoeputawayaphobia. With 3 daughters, there are shoes of every variety and every color all over the house! My husband lives with it for while, then every few days, gives the round up call for everyone to gather their shoes and PUT THEM AWAY!!

    Too funny Beth! 🙂

  48. 148

    We have several cases of takeituptoyourroomphobia which results in piles on the stairs that sit there until I say, “No one must want this…I guess I’ll throw it away…” 🙂

  49. 149
    Rebecca says:

    Oh this will be fun:
    1. Bathroom garbage overflowingaphobia. Am I the only one that can get it out.
    2. Toilet paperaphobia means replacing it before we run out on the roll.
    3. A dear loved one who turns fans and lights off behind me. What would that be?? fanlightaphobia?
    4. Folding underware inside outaphobia.

    Oh Beth this is so much fun! You are so cool….Rebecca

  50. 150
    Maryann says:

    The phobia in my home include turnoffremoteatmidnightphobia othewise known as cometobedphobia….

    That is because one individual is a night owl and the other is an early bird! Still trying to figure that one out, after almost 30 years!

    🙂 Enjoyed the light blog….women need to laugh too!

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