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Pre Hoarder

Monday, January 28, 2013

Do you watch those hoarding shows and say to yourself, how can they live like that? Well, I must admit that I am about 1 pile away from going down that path. I have certain dispositions that lean that way. Every so often I say to myself, I am going to get organized once and for all! I even bought a few books about organizing, which unfortunately became part of the clutter. On those times when I am motivated to really “get serious” I get an adrenaline rush and like a mad woman start cleaning and bleaching and organizing (which really just turns out to be me reshuffling papers from one place to another). I work feverishly all day until I am simply worn out and my back is aching. And with a cleaning lady halo over my head I vow that it will stay like this FOREVER. Sadly the halo fades pretty quickly and within a week or two the gremlins are back at work.
As I watched the show “Buried Alive: Hoarders” I identified 5 behaviors that I have in common with the people on the show.
1. I get easily overwhelmed by the clutter and become paralyzed.
2. I tell my self that I am going to recycle things. Eventually those things just end up in the trash and I feel bad that I didn’t follow through with my plans to recycle.
3. I tell myself that I can fix this, why throw it away. All I need is a sander and some paint and the right tools.
4. That pile goes to the Goodwill (this one I actually do quite often). Anyone have a gold sticker for me?
5. I tell myself that if I buy the right containers then I can get it all organized the way it should be.
a. I think the container store loves the pre-hoarders. Don’t fall for it. You need to organize first, before you purchase the containers, otherwise it just aides you into containing the clutter not getting rid of it. At least that’s what it says in one of those books I read, if only I could get my hands on it.

Here is my solution. I will treat this like I treated my weight loss.
1. Start small
2. Change one habit at a time. For my weight loss it was ditching the fries at the fast food and then eliminating the soft drinks, then walking and so on. For my “Don’t Become a Hoarder Campaign”, I am creating a plan for each room. I started today by emptying the dishwasher and putting up a sign reminding myself and anyone else to put their dish in the dishwasher and run it once full. I will give this a whole month to become a habit.
3. Don’t give up or beat myself up when things seem to go backwards. Just get back on the horse.
4. Reach out for help. Just like I did when I signed up for Spark. I have a couple of friends (whom I know will not judge me) that are very organized. I am sure they would be more than willing to help me. One of them actually has the clothes in her closet organized by color. I am fighting the urge here to run right out to the container store and buy one of those neat little closet organizers. By now you may know what will happen to that. It will stay in that box gathering dust and adding to the clutter, because of course I don’t have the right tools.
5. Good news: My solution list is shorter than my hoarder list!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • MAIA2011
    I just moved to a new apartment and I am swearing not to start my hoarding ways again! Good luck with your plan!
    2972 days ago
    sounds like a good plan

    One of my favorite books is the Messys superbook. Have you ever looked at flylady.com? I haven't but have many friends that do her program.

    The best thing I ever heard was about Mount Vernon cleaning. Now there is a BIG house for you. The cleaners start in one room and go completely around every wall cleaning every where in the way then do the middles of that room and then go to the next. When they finish the house they just start all over again. This is good for me because it makes me focus on just that area for that time, finish it, and move on. They say for a house it is a good thing to haul with you a trash bag and a laundry basket for things that need to be put up in other rooms.

    One they don't seem to realize is that NO ONE LIVES AT MT VERNON!!!

    I think if no one lived at my house it would probably stay cleaner.

    GOOD FOR YOU!!!!
    3050 days ago
    My #1 rule is to go through the mail the day I get it. It doesn't always make it to the right place but I at least get rid of the stuff that goes in the blue box for recycling and the stuff that goes in the shred/burn box. The stuff that has to be filed goes in a pile on my desk because I can't get to the file cabinet thanks to the dog crate that my daughter needed for the puppy we told her to not get. (Yes, I will be thrilled when they all move out!) Anyway, that has been a big help in reducing the clutter - I didn't say it got rid of the clutter though!
    3063 days ago
    MissyGeen, this is the perfect plan! I tend to get overwhelmed with projects at home, too. Because a chore chart doesnt work for our house (there's only 2 of us), We've started a chore night. I get to pick the day, but my bf does all the vacuuming, I do all the dusting, and we each tackle a bathroom. That gets most of the house cleaner in about an hour. Another thing I've found that works well for some of my friends is to set a timer when they are going through cluttered rooms. I helped one of my friends go through her kids' room in 30 minutes and separate things into piles of keep, toss, donate. After our 30 minutes of sorting, We took the donate items and trash right away so there was no looking back. The keep pile was then further divided into piles like dirty laundry, clean laundry, dishes (yes.. Dishes!) and toys/books. The older kid helped us by putting away toys, books and dirty laundry, and the rest was moved to the appropriate location.
    Lastly, if you find yourself with a lot of paperwork, you might do some research on digitizing some of it (vehicle records, recipes, warranty information on purchases, credit card information) so that it takes up less space in your house. Evernote, OneNote, and some other applications are out there and some have free versions (limiting the certain features or capacity, of course, but still usually give you enough to use for these things) where the notes don't take up room on your computer and are accessible through the web with username/password info (cloud computing). I use evernote for everything and love it. I signed up for the premium membership only because my notes that were shared with my bf wouldn't let him edit if I created it using the free version. The free version would have been more than enough for me other than this caveat. You don't even need a scanner for most of these. Evernote allows you to take a photo (even with your phone) and upload to it.
    Sorry for the really long response! Let me end by saying that getting organized, very much like losing weight is a long and difficult process. I have faith that you will be able to do this my friend!!! Please feel free to send me emails if you want to talk about it!
    3065 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    3066 days ago
    You can do it. I always feel overwhelmed by paper .. so I file things when it gets out of hand. Also, have a file for things you want to get to .. and once a month look for something small to do that will clean up your clutter. I have 4 daughters - and the paper they bring home could fill a house in no time. Remember - not everything needs to be kept .. Good Luck!
    3066 days ago
    I admire you for being brave enough to post this blog and committing to take positive steps to de-clutter. Can you do a yard sale in the warm weather? I have moved a ton of stuff out via this method and made some money. Key to success was having a room I could store the stuff for the sale in, only saving non-broken things for the sale (people don't want to buy my junk) and throwing away broken things right away, and being merciless in selecting what should go. A friend of mine once told me that all this stuff was going to be thrown out anyway by my heirs one day so why not spare them the trouble? I am still overwhelmed by filing - my stack sneers at me every time I walk by it. If you find good ways to deal with that, I'm all ears! Good luck!

    3066 days ago
  • ABB698
    Well. I think identifying your plan out loud, is a great idea!
    My clothes are organized my colors, patterns and styles, but my living room is a mess! So, see, some people pick and choose where they're organized...LOL. :) You got this...WE got this, baby steps...as long as they're steps in the right direction!! emoticon
    3066 days ago
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