Stuff.


I recently looked up the entry for "hoarding" on Wikipedia.  It led me to the entry on "compulsive hoarding".  I must admit I was a little worried at first:

"A few symptoms hoarders might experience are:
 
1. They tend to hold onto a large number of items that most people would consider not useful or valuable. For example:  

  • Junk mail [CHECK]
  • Cooking equipment [CHECK]
  • Old catalogues and newspapers [CHECK]
  • Things that might be useful for making crafts [CHECK]
  • Clothes that "might" be worn one day [CHECK]
  • Broken things/trash [CHECK]
  • "Freebies" or other promotional products picked up [CHECK]"
Luckily, I breathed a sigh of relief when I got to the next section:

"2. The home is so cluttered that many parts are inaccessible and can no longer be used for intended purpose. For example:
  • Beds that cannot be slept in
  • Kitchens that cannot be used for food preparation, refrigerators filled with rotting food, stovetops with combustibles such as junk mail as well as old food piled on top of burners.
  • Tables that cannot be used for dining [I'M GUILTY OF THIS SOMETIMES...]
  • Chairs or sofas that cannot be used
  • Filthy unsanitary bathrooms; piles of human feces collected in areas of the home, sometimes there are animal feces over the floors of the home, giant bags of dirty diapers hoarded for many years.
  • Tubs, showers, and sinks filled with items such that they can not be used for washing or bathing. Hoarders would thus possibly forgo bathing.
  • Some hoard animals they cannot even marginally care for; often dead pets cannibalized by other pets are found under the heaps.
3. The clutter and mess is so bad it causes illness, distress, and impairment. For example, they:

  • Do not allow visitors such as family and friends, or repair and maintenance professionals because the clutter embarrasses them [SOMETIMES I RUN AROUND LIKE A MAD WOMAN TIDYING UP WHEN UNPLANNED VISITORS ARRIVE]
  • Keep the shades drawn so no one can see inside [ONLY SO THAT OUR NEIGHBOURS CAN'T SEE US WALKING AROUND HALF NAKED]
  • Get into a lot of arguments with family members about the clutter
  • Are at risk of fire, falling, infestation or eviction
  • Feel depressed or anxious much of the time because of the clutter [THIS IS WHY I'M WRITING THIS POST]"
During our recent Europe vacation we stayed at a number of Airbnbs.  Apart from the fact that it never ceases to amaze me how well I do at living out of a suitcase (with so little of my stuff), I was amazed at how homely but still "airy" (badum-tish) all of our Airbnbs felt.  The reason: the apartments were filled with everything one needs to feel at home... and nothing more. 

Living in this manner for 5 weeks, I experienced somewhat of a revelation.  These uncluttered surrounds and my well edited wardrobe allowed me to focus my wandering mind.  Not once in the past 10 years have I had so many great ideas and felt so positive - I was creative again!

I think that (once again) my surrounds have put me in a state of flux. I could even go as far as to say that I feel very sad and unproductive on a personal level.  I wrote about the very same thing here - actually, almost two years ago to the day.  Maybe the emergence of obvious clutter is a cyclical occurrence?

A fortnight ago I started to properly de-clutter the house and we've been getting some home projects completed too.  So far, I have only de-cluttered the bathroom and my magazine collection, but I feel better already.

I could never become a minimalist, but my pleasant stays at a number of wonderful Airbnbs have definitely encouraged me to at least try to get half way there.

6 comments:

  1. Oh you had me very worried as well at the start but luckily the second and third parts don't apply apart from the dining room table which has become my workshop for my jewellery. I think to do a little every now and then is a positive step. I did that when I moved to my first house with my hubs and decluttered two boxes of magazines. It hurt …. but I kept my first edition of Marie Claire UK. Then I moved to the second house and this time it didn't escape the cull. Ah well - we all have to move on and it's true … it's quite liberating.

    Alternatively, you could do what I did once. I ordered a mini skip and sent the Grumps down in to my cellar to clear it out and I went out for the day. That way, I couldn't see and try to rescue anything like sheets of A4 plain paper waiting to be written on … one day. It was strangely cathartic.

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    1. I'm not sure that I would have enough to fill a skip, but I definitely need to start letting go of some things. The magazines have freed up 3 compartments in my expedit... A good start.
      Speaking of jewellery (your stuff is very cute by the way) - I have a whole chest of jewellery making supplies! Findings, beads, wires - you name it, but I haven't dabbled in jewellery making in many years. Occasionally I come across an inspiring picture in a magazine/online and think to myself that I could make that (but then I don't). Where can I buy motivation pills?

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  2. I started de-cluttering recently too...I find it is very therapeutic. I chucked away 2 huge bags of make-up and beauty products and still have a lot more drawers to go through. I find tackling them one by one is manageable and not as overwhelming. I like The Joy of Less book by Francine Jay, while i can never be like her it does raise a question if I need the amount of items I own.

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  3. Hi, I can relate to that liberating feeling you get on holiday of living with only the essentials. I think too much stuff - whether its clothes, magazines, household stuff etc can really have a hold on us and can bring about a feeling of overwhelm. I try to be as ruthless as possible with decluttering and being careful about what I bring into our home but its an ongoing battle! You have just reminded me that I have a gigantic stack of magazines that I keep saying I will go through and pull out any inspiring articles to save. Its been nagging at me for months (if not years) and I'm tempted to just recycle the lot of them! Victoria

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  4. What is it about magazines? I'm guilty of hoarding them too, although I had to stop buying them when I was at the end of my degree and under-employed and don't really plan to start buying them again (so far so good). I made shelves out of my magazines to keep my records and craft stuff in but I always worry that the shelves looks messy and not kitch and that I've not really addressed the problem.

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