Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Dirty Little Secret

I've started watching a new show.



That's the first thought that comes to mind.

Then it goes along the lines of 'omigodhowcanpeoplelivelikethat'.

Clutter is one thing.

I think everyone has some form of clutter in their lives.

But this?

This goes beyond clutter. It's a complete behaviour.

From the Squalor Survivor website:

"3-part definition of clinical hoarding:

  1. The acquisition of, and failure to discard, a large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value (Frost and Gross, 1993).
  2. Living spaces are cluttered enough that they can't be used for the activities for which they were designed (Frost and Hartl, 1996).
  3. Significant distress or impairment in functioning caused by the hoarding."

During one show, I can remember the homeowner calling it her 'dirty little secret.'

I felt bad for her.

I couldn't believe the condition of her home.

She looked completely overwhelmed, and defeated.

I think many more people than we realize have this dirty little secret, to varying degrees.

I know I do. I always have.

Don't get me wrong. My house has NEVER looked like any you've seen on the hit A&E series.

Or anything like THIS ... EVER!

Pic taken from ScienceDaily

or this ...

Pic taken from Ugly House Photos

As I wrote this post, I walked around the house and snapped pics of a few rooms in their current condition.

You can get through my front door, without falling over something.

OK, maybe a sneaker or two will be laying around, but you CAN walk in the door without walking into furniture.

Or over it.

Then, there's the dining room.

We eat at our table regularly.

Yes, sometimes there's other 'stuff' on it, at the 4th person's place setting, but for the most part, you can always still SEE our table.

In the living room ...

you will occasionally find something that the dog has dragged from the garbage, and the boys are forever throwing their jackets on the couches, but ...

when your butt needs a place to park at 6:30 when you're waiting for your coffee to heat up around the corner, you HAVE a place to sit!

Yes, there's 'stuff', hanging around in some areas there shouldn't be, but overall, you can move around without stepping on anything.

Be that as it may, today I'm coming out and admitting that for particular items, and particular AREAS of my house, I have hoarding tendencies.

This is my dirty little secret.

Why am I exposing it to all of you?

Because watching those people, live in that squalor, scares me to death. And makes me look at my own shit and think 'gotta go gotta go gotta go!'

And now that I've DONE something about it, maybe it'll be enough to give someone else the kick in the ass they need to look at their OWN stuff, and think 'well hell, if SHE can do it ...'

Ya know.

So , let's start with the little thing.

I've always been a book (and magazine) hoarder. My mother, ex and kids can easily attest to this one :-)

There are books in most every room in my house.

Yes, that includes the bathroom, too.

And sets. Maybe not complete sets, but once I find an author I like, I kind of go nuts and get everything I can find on them.

And I can't get rid of them. Cause, ya know, you can't get rid of the books you like.

So, with that in mind ... Hello, my name is Kim, and I'm a book hoarder.

Then, there's the BIG things.

And what would a hoarding post be, without a shot of my (W)rec(ked) Room.

Gawd. I can't believe I'm doing this.

Although one side looks somewhat livable.

The other ... not so much.

This is what was supposed to be the toy/playroom.

OK. Here's the deal.

Have I mentioned I hate my (W)rec(ked) Room!

It was supposed to be a fixer upper project for the Ex, that didn't quite get fixed ... up, down, left, right ...

And I certainly don't have the skills to do it myself, or the finances to have someone do it properly for me.

So it's stayed as is. Partly finished. Partly not.

I've sat in this (W)rec(ked) room, watching Hoarders, and then glanced across the room to my dirty little secret.

And I hate it.

But I don't know where to start.

Yeah yeah yeah, I know, start small, give yourself small accomplishments and the job won't seem so big.

All wonderful, sensible advice.

When you're not the one looking at your own personal nemesis.

Finally, one night last month I got up, literally yanked up my sleeves, looked at all the junk and said out loud to the empty room, 'it's ON Baby!'

Picked a spot, worked my way through it and either tossed, donated or found a home for it on a shelf or temporarily in a bin.

Again, yeah yeah yeah, I know the bins are cop outs, but I was going for the quick fix in some areas. Especially toys!

And after a bit of work ... progress!

Threw a bit of carpet on the floor, strategically place a few 'toy bins', and more progress ...

It's by no means perfect, or pretty, but it's functional.

And for now, functional works for me.

We can work on the pretty.

Now that I've tackled and conquered the beast that is, the (W)rec(ked) room, I'm going to tackle the other hoarding spot in the Korner.

Oh yes. There's another one.

My closet!

Although one side is (mostly) organized ...

... the other is a complete disaster.

What started as a 'catch all spot' has exploded into the 'pit of shit'.

It must be stopped

However, that's another post for another day.

One dirty little secret at a time, People ;-)



Wonderful World of Weiners said...

John hates when I watch that show. I IMMEDIATELY throw everything we own out!!


Nicole said...

Great job! Everyone needs storage bins! I've watched this show and the stories scare me! shortly after I cleaned out a little closet in the living room that was slowly becoming a junk closet! I cleaned it out & turned it into a very mini office so NOTHING can be stored in it EVER lol

happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!

Kim's Korner said...

Hallie - If I remember correctly, you're a chronic cleaner on the best of days ;-p so I can see how that show would drive you over the edge ;-)

Nicole - Welcome to the korner! Congrats on getting your own corner cleaned out! It's a great feeling once it's finally DONE isn't it :-)

~Melody @ 6 Feet Over~ said...

UGH, that show gives me hives! lol

I totally have tendencies as well. I get what you mean. My house is very clean and tidy in most areas, but man oh man...do.not.go.in.my.closet. or the.guest.bedroom! LOL Osama Bin Ladin could be hiding in there, it's that bad.

I soooooooo want to buy fabulous closet organizers, but the funds are rather tight these days. It's weird...my closet is a HUGE HUGE mess, but in our our last house, as soon as we put custom closet organizer in, it was NEVER EVER messy again. I have NEVER had a clean closet until then. Too bad we moved! lol


~Melody @ 6 Feet Over~ said...

Oh and by the way, I LOVE your blog! Following you now on my google reader!


Hanneke Nelson said...

Catch-alls are DANGEROUS! My dining room table is the worst. And my closet is also in serious danger of becoming one. I must channel my inner Martha more often...

Happy SITS Day!

cat said...

Oh my house also looks fine on the first glance, but those dirty little corners....

Debby Carroll said...

Stopping by from SITS. So happy I did. You are one entertaining woman!But, I don't think you're a hoarder, and believe me, I know one, my sister-in-law should be on that show. I do have a thought, though, good for you, good for the environment. How about either donating your books to a library or hospital or even arranging a neighborhood or friend book swap? Everybody wins. I've got three grown daughters. (Yes, even your two will grow up, believe it or not) We arrange book swaps between ourselves and our friends. If you really want to do it up right, make it a girls' night. Everyone brings books and wine to share. Okay, it won't clear the mess but it'll be one hell of a good time.

Sandy said...

That show scares me!

Joy said...

I think we've all got a bit of 'hoarder' in us. ;o)

Congrats on your SITS day!

Elizabeth a.k.a. Type A Mommy said...

My name is Elizabeth, and I'm also a book hoarder. I so feel your pain!

Kristin @ Meanbean said...

Thank you for trusting all of us with your secrets...I vow not to judge or discriminate against you based on this.

Plus, I saw a Goosebumps book in the bathroom holder...that gets you serious points with me :) I used to LOVE those books!

Tiffany said...

Stopping in from SITS. I never thought about it until reading your post but I am a book hoarder too. I confess.

Erin said...

Purging things feels so good! My husband is a book hoarder, and maybe a t-shirt and map hoarder. For me, the key is that every item in the house has a home.

Enjoy your SITS day!

Sabreena said...

I am convinced that show has incited more premature spring cleaning than any of us assume. I used to be a clothes hoarder with my Ex because dude wouldn't hold a damn job and I never knew if I could replace things. I am now remarried to a motivated person and almost recovered from clothes hoarding.

Abigail said...

Well done!
Maybe you've given me the motivation to finally sort out my craft - um, I was going to say table or corner, but craft spplies are basically taking over! And the closet of doom...

Books don't cound though - it's not a hoard, it's a library ;)
I've always aspired to be one of those people with books everywhere in the house.

Kim said...

Interesting food for thought. I'll have to admit to myself what I'm hoarding.

Tiffany said...

That is one of my favorite shows...it freaks me out but I love it!!

Leiah said...

I love Hoarders but hate that it causes me to get up out of bed at night and do a load of laundry. Or mop my kitchen like I've done a few times...especially on the episodes where they're walking barefoot on those floors...blech!

Simple Organized Sanity said...

You are a hoot! I had a great time reading this post as I helped celebrate your SITS day with you! (Congratulations by the way).

I am a professional organizer and it is my professional opinion... (LOL) you are off the hook as a hoarder. :) No worries... you did hit the nail on the head though when you said it may not be perfect but it is functional! That is always my goal of getting clients to think those same thoughts. Kudos to you for being open and honest in your post.

If you ever want some organizational tips... stop by and see me... :)

Cherylann said...

I've never seen hoarders. I think I'll see if I can find it here. It might help me get my own stuff in order. I am not a major hoarder but like you I love books and they are every where