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. 401
    Kristi says:

    Oh! This is too funny! I’m loving these comments!!! Makes me realize, too, just how many phobias exist in my house! Like whereismycoffeemugaphobia!!! Though I am proud owner of a lovely set of mugs that even match my kitchen colors, I still want the same ‘ole mug every morning, and I get cranky if someone else has used it!!!

  2. 402
    God's not-so-little Dutch girl says:


    My girls both suffer from a severe case of trashcanaphobia. Their cases are not limited to the kitchen area, but also include the bathroom and their bedrooms as well. My friends think it is hilarious that at one point we threatened the one daughter that we would put our “herby” trash can outside her window. We would then remove the screen from said window, and just start chucking stuff into it. I am praying that this condition will be cured once they get their own places to live.
    I suffer from batflyinginthehouse phobia. Fortunately, my man has apparently found the antidote for this phobia by plugging up the right hole that they were coming in. We have been in-the-home bat free for a couple years now. We did have a close call a few weeks ago when I walked through our garage and almost stepped on a dead baby mouse. Imagine my surprise when I noticed it had WINGS and it was NOT dead (shudder). My neighbor was gracious enough to put on gloves and take it away. Thank you for giving us a safe place to share our phobias! Love ya, Joan

  3. 403
    Lori says:

    Okay, I just read about the phobia that involves constantly turning out the lights, even if someone is in the room! You are not going to believe this! I have a friend who is always turning out the lights as she moves through the house. Well, once, she reached into a room to turn out the lights right as her husband playfully TOSSED their BABY into the air!! Girls, the ceiling is VERY HIGH and you can only imagine the grasping in the dark that took place in an instant!! He caught the little guy by the leg!! Needless to say, my friend is a bit more careful to check the room before flipping the switch now!!
    Rock Hill, SC

  4. 404
    Lori Hart says:

    Hi Beth,
    I have to say I almost fell out of my chair laughing at your pics especially the pics with the measuring tape you are too funny my Dear Siesta Mama. Sooooo we have several phobias in our household too myself I have the replacethetoiletpaperrollaphobia I always forget and it drives my hubbie crazy!!! My 6 year old has a toiletbowlaphobia he seems to sprinkle everywhere else except the toilet bowl. My 1 year old has a cantkeepmyhandsorlipsofwindowsaphobia I swear he loves vinegar windex. And last but not least my hubbie has a dishwasheraphobia he can get the dishes as far as the counter less than 2 inches from the blessed thing but he can’t seem to get them inside 🙂 oh well we love each other despite our downfalls

    Blessings to you and yours


  5. 405
    DeniseK says:

    Absolutely hilarious!!! My husband would most definitely say my TWO splenda packets every morning!! He can’t understand how I can “forget” to throw them away every single morning!! I laughed out loud at this one entry, especially at the pictures, since our garbage is even closer than yours. 🙂 To be honest, I think I do it now, because it is funny to watch him give me ‘the look’!! LOL!! Too fun! Praise God we can laugh about our quircks…

  6. 406
    Angie W. says:

    Oh dear. I may have a form of this phobia. I think it is more trashcanemptyingphobia. Things make it to the can but the can does not make it to the garage. My husband is continually amazed at how much I can cram in there, but one more thing should fit, right? I’m sure we’ve got many other strange phobias but leftoverforlunchphobia (my husband) and shirtwithcollarphobia (one son) and socksonphobia (other son) come instantly to mind. 🙂 Thanks for the laugh!

  7. 407
    Heather B. says:

    Being 8 months pregnant right now I have goingtobedwithouteatingsomekindofdessertaphobia. It’s extremely exhausting to keep up with, but I do my best to deal with it. 🙂 Unfortunately along with that comes seeingmyanklesaphobia and lifewithoutheartburnaphobia.

  8. 408
    Kathryn says:

    I think my son has a “flush-a-phobia” 🙁 And we’ll just leave it at that. No need to share any more. Can’t tell you the number of times I have “hurtle jumped” the living room coffee table in an attempt to make it to the loo to make sure all is clear before company go in there. Sorry girls…only phobia I could readily think of 🙂

  9. 409
    Ashley Bourg says:

    I have putawaytheclothesaphobia which results in stacks of laudry on the couch. I don’t know why it is so hard to put the clothes away.

  10. 410
    warrior in training says:

    as always much love mama siesta and a much appreciated giggle………

  11. 411
    Kelly says:

    I also have a family member with trashcanaphobia and cellphonechargeraphobia!

    My phobia seems to be junkmailaphobia. It piles up in various places throughout the house until I can’t seem to escape the envelopes filled with false promises of a better life. Then, I go into melt-down mode due to the clutter that has accumulated due to my own weakness and shred every last envelope with my address and throw away everything else.

    My eleven month old has a phobia of me scrubbing the floors because he wakes up from nap time every time I get out the bucket and cleaner.

  12. 412
    Tammy Elrod says:

    Our kids have “throwtrashonthefloraphobia.” While diagnosed, no known form of treatment (re: discipline) seems to cure it.

  13. 413
    Amanda says:


    I will relentlessly clean and scrub EVERY surface in my home and then quit short of mopping the kitchen floor. This is disgusting and inexcusable…but for some odd reason TRUE.. It’s like I just run out of gas and can’t muster up the energy to do it…maybe someday I’ll START with the kitchen floor!!

  14. 414
    Valerie says:

    Beth, this post cracked me up. Especially the picture of the tape measure on the floor from the counter top to the trash can. 🙂

  15. 415
    Sandra says:

    I would say that since Oct 2008 I have developed a cleanaphobia. I had allowed myself to get severely anemic and developed a bad habit of not wanting to do anything. It turned into cleanaphobia. I just don’t want to clean. My pour husband has stepped up and at least washes the dishes. I’m so glad that God gave him to me for just as a time as this. Of course my husband would say that I have the trashcanaphonia also these days. How about a emptytoiletpaperrollaphobia It really gets to him when I don’t put on a new roll. He will actually show me how it’s done. It kind of reminds me of Cameron Diaz in “What Happens in Vegas” where she is showing him how to put the toilet seat down.

    This was fun after a long day at work. Thanks for reading.

  16. 416
    Denise says:

    Oh, this is too fun! I guess I have closetphobia! and basementphobia … 2 dreaded diseases. My house is spotless and totally uncluttered, but I never have the time to straighten my closet or my basement. It is just not fun to me! On the other hand, my precious daughter-in-love has a perfectly organized closet with pictures on the wall! Bless her! She is my hero!

  17. 417
    Pamela says:

    Awesome laughs this evening! Perfect reminders tonight for me-“relax, and don’t be so serious, God has it all figured out….(life)”

    computerkeyphobia-the need to wash hands after using computer at home-This is only at home though, not at work! 🙂

    wetsockphobia-must take off socks if get wet 🙂
    Too fun everyone!

  18. 418
    Delilah says:

    with the addition of trashcanapobia also being prevalent in our house.. our one that is even bigger than that is.. laundryroomapobia said dirty clothes can be found in numerous places!!!

  19. 419
    Cinthia says:

    Phone phobia, possessed by two family members. A call needs to be made and one of said two will hand one of the other two of us the phone and say, “Now might be a good time to catch them.” The other two of us non-phonephobias respond, “You think?”, trying desperately to avoid enabling them by giving in and making the call. We always cave, going ahead and calling because we’re thinking, well, now is probably a good time to catch them. And since we have a fear of excluding anyone (exclusivityphobia?) then we call.

  20. 420
    Becky says:

    “Someone” in my house (and there are only two of us and it’s not me) has BUY-A-NEW-MINNOW-BUCKET-A-PHOBIA.

    The man can never remember to bring the minnow bucket when he buys bait so ends up buying the cheap styrofoam ones…we have a collection of them growing in our garage!

  21. 421
    Julie Gresham says:

    My sweet precious family (husband, daughter,son) have Pickupyourownstuffaphobia! It, I’ve discovered, is a deniable phobia and often illicits responses that require an eye roll, a gasp, and a “if you saw it and it bothered you, why didn’t you just do it yourself” comment from their adorable mouths!!! Lucky for them, they are all very cute!

  22. 422
    misslisslee says:

    Completeconversationaphobia – the inability to listen to another person’s complete statement, instead mentally compacting it to about the first and last words said. Trains the speaker to ‘soundbyte communication’ – reducing every communicative effort to two words or less. 🙂

  23. 423
    AvA says:

    well, too funny for sure! i have seen that same image of rubbish on counter top while the trash can is just a few feet away (nice pic showing that too!). for what ever reason (i can now attribute it to trashcanaphobia) i will always have empty bottles, cans, various trash items left on counter often. i keep on asking (politely) why do you leave me with the empty and various trash???? i have yet to hear an answer as to why. it’s a good one though for sure! my eldest son has ‘closeddoor/draweraphobia’ and we cannot find a cure yet! just tonight after warming a late night snack in the microwave, i came into kitchen, and there just like always, the microwave door open. then, after he brushed his pearly whites, the drawer gapping wide-open in the bathroom. i also ask as to how this is happening and why and i never hear an answer….. then, there is the youngest. i think he could easily be diagnosed with the phobia of wearing pants/shorts. he likes just his ‘unders’ and top. he’s just a little guy, so there is still hope. as soon as he’s home, the pants come right off and then he’s comfy! i have to constantly remind him he cannot walk out of the house w/out pants! hummmmm….. for me i think i surely have had ‘digitalpicturenoprintsaphobia’ for at least eight years. i take thousands of photos and have just a few hundred printed. the sad part? i am just starting out w/professional photography and i can print out my orders for customers but when it comes to my own shots, they just get stored on a cd and filed. it’s bad! i still have to print out photos of my five-year-old from when he was a few months old! i love to take pictures, love it! but getting them printed, that’s where the phobia come in i guess. it’s especially sad when i have wholesale printing prices for my business! phobia for sure it seems. thanks for the goofy post. i love them! i loved the pov of your pictures too! nice touch. 😉

  24. 424
    Tonya says:

    LOL! Trashcanaphobia!!! My son has that SOOOO badly! Drives me bonkers! But OH how it made me smile tonight! And seeing all of these comments makes me feel SOOO much better! It’s nice knowing someone ELSES kids leave their socks everywhere but where they are supposed to, has household occupants who consistently fail to clean up ANYTHING, and has folks in their house that suffer from pickupphobias! Thank you for the diagnosis!

  25. 425
    sepik-meri katie says:

    ha well i’m gonna have to face my fears and admit to you all that i suffer from gaspumpaphobia. my car is forever on empty and my dad will enthusiastically support my recovery since more than once this gaspumpaphobia has left his diesel truck in quite a state. i don’t know why my eyes divert themselves involuntarily from the gas gauge but they do. it never, ever occurs to me to look at it until my car is coughing and sputtering down the freeway. only THEN do i manage to see the flashing “FUEL” light and the needle well below E and i think “ahhh… how can i save myself without dad hearing about this one?!!” 😀

  26. 426
    Bridgette Jencks says:

    My husband and I are both the type that hate to make big decisions…or small ones for that matter. We’ll say, “what do you want for dinner?” “Oh whatever you want” “What do you want to watch on TV tonight?” “It doesn’t matter. What do you want to watch?” “What should we do today?” “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” … and this can literally go on for HOURS. You can only imagine how the past week has been while we try to decide whether or not to buy a car!!! We just want to keep each other happy!

  27. 427
    Hope says:

    Oh my word. I so suffer from cellchargeraphobia and I have two children who have trashcanaphobia. I also have one child with laundryroomaphobia and two that have cleanroomaphobia.

  28. 428
    Vicki says:

    I have a member of my family who has cleancounterphobia. The entire kitchen can be cleaned by this person, except the wiping of the countertops. It started many years ago, while I was working…and he…ahh..they would leave evidence of their lunch by the crumbs left on the counter. The decendants of this phobiac now have hangerphobia and drawerphobia…resulting in all clothes- clean and dirty residing on the bedroom floors. oh well….they are just curing me of my neatfreakaholicness.

  29. 429
    Kristina says:

    My two young boys definitely have trashcanophobia…just this afternoon I found a half eaten popsicle wrapper on the couch…told my 2 year old to put it in the trash, and he proceeded to drip red popsicle in a nice line all the way to the trash can…a perfect example of my life as a mom of boys!

    I would say that mine is a sockfinderophobia. I don’t know how many new pairs of socks that I have bought for my family in the past year…probably going on around 50 new pairs. And how many matched socks do I have in my drawer?

    Zip, ziltch, nada.

    It doesn’t get any better for my boys either…I’m the kind of mom that looks forward to sandal weather so that I don’t have to worry about my sockfinderophobia!

    Thanks Beth…you’re amazing!

  30. 430
    Juli says:

    I think we have just about all the above-mentioned phobias in our house. 🙂 Just wanted to say that medical gloves are great for those with rawmeatphobias. Especially for mixing up meatloaf!

  31. 431
    Brittney says:

    Ok….so I suffer from ” cleaningoutmypurse-aphobia”….seriously, I could have a yardsale out of my purse ( and my bible) right now! But I’m OK with that because after Mrs. Beth “brought it” in Atlanta….I am secure with my phobias!!! Haha 🙂

  32. 432
    Geri says:

    I have 4 sons, all of whom had dishwasherphobia. It was unbelievable. I could have the dishwasher open, loaded with soap, completely ready but they absolutely could not put a dish in it!

  33. 433
    jenny hope williams says:

    So I thought it was just me!! I would first have to tell on myself…rod would say that I don’t put the caps back tightly enough. I am not sure what his standards are when I am having to ask the Lord to give me the strength to open what he has closed. But for my husband…he puts empty ice cream containers, milk jugs, butter containers, cream cheese containers, cool whip containers all back in the fridge when they are empty. I mean at least leave them on the counter…heck throw them on the floor…but doesn’t it take just as much effort to go put the junk back in the fridge?!? Then, nail clippings…I won’t even go there but suffice it to say I could hand out some tickets over that! One more, a certain person has two paperless bills that cough cough…he is supposed to pay. Both of them gas bills. One for the house and the other for the hunting club. I was taking a bath two nights ago and wondered why my water was freezing! Yep! Someone didn’t pay the bill. Throwyourmoneyawayphobia. So…I have now taken those bills over!! 😉

  34. 434
    Lisa says:

    At our house its beware of the crunchy all totally mashed cereal in the bottom of the box! BTW, don’t ever let that land in your cereal bowl but let’s put it back up in the cabinet so mom thinks we still have some of it ! Now what kind of name phobia is this ???? Cerealdustphobia along with trashcanaphobia,,,,, bbrrraaahhh! I love being silly with the girls, luv ya ladies

  35. 435
    Bobbi says:

    Broomaphobia. I wanted hardwood for years, eons, I yearned. Then I got hardwood and became afraid of the broom, so did hubby. We stare at the broom in the closet, we walk wide around the closet and then with dread pick up the broom. The fear is so great that we should each pick up the broom once a day, but only one of us picks up the broom every other day.

    Lets not get started on water cup phobias and the patent inability to reuse a single water cup during the day. My kitchen counter is a forest of plastic cups by the time I go to make supper each evening.

  36. 436
    Becky says:

    Oh we have trashcanaphobia, we also have halfemptywaterbottleaphobia, they get a cold bottle of water out of the refrig and drink a couple of swallows then the bottle is left alone any where in the house that it may land.

  37. 437
    tanya says:

    Beth, I’m impressed you have so much fruit on your counter! Don’t you also have a ‘fruitaphobia’? 🙂

    Maybe the sufferer was trying to leave organic orange scented potpourri. Maybe…

    • 437.1
      Beth says:

      Yes, indeed I do. Keith bought all that fruit. Not me. I am afraid if I gaze upon it, I will turn to salt.

      • Carmen :o) says:

        Beth: Ok, gazeatfruitturntosaltaphobia?? Laughing so loud at work..gonna get in trouble!! I thought of one more…can’tfinditeventhoughit’srightinfrontofyouphobia!!!
        Ever try to give a man (4 in my house) directions on where to find something in the pantry or anywhere in the house!! Carmen “with a smile” :o)

  38. 438
    April says:

    Baaaadddd Keith!!! LOL LOL

    You could have just swept those little “disposal fresheners” right down in the sink and saved yourself a TON of grief!!! But, hey, I’m laughing with ya not at ya, because I suffer with the same darn disease!!!

    Beth, call my man to start your own support group!!! LOL

  39. 439
    Jennifer says:

    I definitely have exercisephobia…..or maybe it’s just perspirationphobia (b/c i’m a girl…it is NOT sweatphobia)…I hate to sweat and be stinky and take multiple showers a day if necessary!

  40. 440
    Jillian says:

    BETH! I love the tape measurer! HAAAAAhahahaha!
    Did you leave it there for your un-named perpetrator?

    Prepare yourself for what I am about to write, it is NOT pretty. I would rather deal with trashcanphobia than what is at my house:asclosetothecanasyoucangetitphobia. I have trashcanphobia because my trash can SCARES me. It is disgusting! Want to know what we had for dinner? Just look at the can, dinner’s all over it. EWWW! Two teenage boys and a hubby who is, well, the same as the boys. Other phobias at my house?

    I could go on, but I think that’s enough for now.

    What about MY personal phobias? stayuptoolatephobia.

  41. 441
    Joni says:

    I also have a family member with trashcanaphobia–and the distance to our trashcan is even shorter than yours. The irony is that the one time I left a used tea bag on the counter (I was momentarily distracted), the aforementioned trashcanaphobic had the nerve to call me on it! As for myself, I have vacuumanddustaphobia. I have sought treatment but cannot say there has been any improvement as yet. As part of my therapy, I bought a Haan Lite steam mop from Wal-Mart. It is standing on duty against the wall and waiting for me to take action. Soon. I feel it will be soon. I really do. Tomorrow sounds good. 🙂

  42. 442
    danae says:

    putshoesupaphobia… i have a chronic habit of leaving my shoes [multiple pairs at the same time] all around the house on the floor, mainly in the den. my husband likes to count and report how many at any given time. i also tend to leave things in “plain sight”, such as on aforementioned floor, which tends to not be in plain sight for my foot-taller-than-me husband…

    in all fairness, he has putitanywhereaphobia which results in me not being able to find my rolling pin, check book, cell charger – you name it – b/c he put it in any old spot to get it out of “plain sight” and this any old spot tends to be well above my ability to see or reach…

    but opposites attract, and most of the opposite-ness is blessedly so!

  43. 443
    Michelle says:

    My children have PICKUPTOWELAPHOBIA. After years and years of being told to hang up their towel, they cannot. There it stays on the floor . . . for days.

  44. 444
    Chyrll says:

    In this very house I live with a person who for years and years not only has shown habitual signs of Trashcanaphobia, but more recently, Cellchargaphobia as well! I’m the enabler here…so sad, so sad!!

  45. 445
    Bitsy says:

    Beth, you make me giggle!!! 🙂 Yes, we have this same trashcanphobia at our house… I think we also have dishwasheraphobia, as well, since dishes never make it from the table to the dishwasher…. I honestly think this came from said person’s mother not teaching person to pick up after one’s self… and just doing everything for her child…. (including cleaning said person’s house while said person, a grown adult, was working every day… Yes, she would walk from her home (around the corner) to her child’s home, and yes, make his bed, do his laundry, clean his dishes and so forth, while he was at work! Needless to say, that stopped shortly after I came into the picture!!!!! LOL

  46. 446
    Kim Safina says:

    The Journey Continues ~

    Stackbooksaphobia ~ magazinesaphobia ~ lipstickaphobia
    I have them everywhere.
    I can’t seem to throw them away or put them away.
    My husband has PeanutShellaphobia ~ can’t seem to put the shell in the trashcanaphobia.

    So fun reading everyone’s phobias!!!

    ((( HUGS )))) to ALL ~

    With “Heaven Bound” blessings,
    Kim Safina
    PS one of the siesta’s will be at your next taping and wants to give you a hug!! I am sending one too! ((HUG))

    • 446.1
      Lichelle says:

      Yes Miss Kim… I want to have that big hug…. I will be thinking of you missy and wishing you were going to be there right beside me… so we could just give each other big hugs! and we could think of new phobia’s at tapings… lol how fun would that be. Alas… I will just take lots of pictures and send them to you off my phone…. Smile Beth you will be on candid camera :)…. Love you both!

  47. 447
    Janet Teeter says:

    Beth, I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that the “family member” is a man (who shall remain nameless). The symptoms of trashcanaphobia are actually a subcategory of an affliction my husband suffers called “MALE PATTERN BLINDNESS”. A household item can be at eye level and in plain sight, but the man is unable to see it unless it is directly pointed out by his wife. A good example would be when my husband called me when I was grocery shopping to inform me we were out of eggs. I was surprised to hear this as I had purchased eggs just recently, but went ahead and bought eggs, only to get home and discover an unopened egg carton right there in the refrigerator. Perhaps your loved one is unable to SEE the garbage can;-) Oddly, male pattern blindness does not affect a man’s ability to spot a deer from 200yrds in the middle of a dense forest. If only there were a cure!

  48. 448
    Debbie says:

    Toiletseatdownaphobia…the two males that I live with, husband and son! There! I said it! I feel vindicated.

  49. 449
    Teresa says:

    I just finished the 9th week of the Esther Bible Study at our church tonight. God has done some amazing things in my life these past 9 weeks. My phobia is Estherisover phobia. I don’t want it to end! I think about it and I start to cry. I guess I needed this blog so I can lighten up a little. God bless you, Beth, for your ministry. I will never be the same!

  50. 450
    Cheryl Ann says:

    Mine and my darling daughter have the same phobia, I’ll call it ” Nobookinsightaphobia”. I have books all over our home, must have at least two in the bathroom at all times and she is the same way. Don’t let me sit down ANYWHERE that I can’t reach out and touch reading material.

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