Monday, January 2, 2012


It's not really a Resolution...or, it is, but one I made some time ago and am still working on - Decluttering my home and life.

I have a problem with Stuff. I'm not quite a Hoarder, I don't think, because I don't keep garbage or animal poop, but otherwise, I'm not very dang far from it.
Well, I say I don't keep garbage, but I will wash out glass jars and plastic containers to keep with an idea of re-using the items.  Everybody knows plastic bowls makes dern good Redneck Tupperware.

Drinking Cups
When I started couponing, I got a good deal on some Rubbermaid Storage bowls, so I finally parted with a good deal of my Redneck Tupperware, keeping only a few bowls to use for worms the guys dig out of our compost piles when they go fishing.

Otherwise, I have a lot Stuff. Too much Stuff. When I complain about it, people are like, "OMG, I know exactly what you mean!", but then I go to their house and I don't see what they mean. There's a basket of laundry on the stairs? A cup on the coffee table? I wish that was the extent of my problems.
Let's see, my house has {sort of} 13 rooms, including the bathrooms, old laundry/mudroom, new laundry room, and enclosed upstairs front porch. We are only able to use like half those rooms, because the others are full of my Stuff.  The carport and backporch are in similar states. And the storage room attached to the carport.

I started wanting to declutter some when I watched the tv shows Clean House and the UK version, How Clean Is Your House?, but I think it was really the Hoarders and Hoarding: Buried Alive shows, not so much scared me straight, as just made me want to change my ways.
I can't really explain it, but it was just like all of a sudden, I didn't care about the Stuff anymore. I didn't want it anymore.

So, easy...just get rid of it...right? Well, no, it hasn't been that easy, for some reason.
Some of it the reason is pretty clear: sentimentality. Which kinda ticks me off, because I'm not generally a really sentimental person.
And then there's the whole "I'm going to make such & such out of those", or "I might need that one day".
Oh and let's not forget, "I think I can sell that".
Yeah. No.

Apparently I was an out-and-out book hoarder, aka Bibliomaniac {n. An exaggerated preoccupation with the acquisition and ownership of books}. Correction, I still am. It's just that all my book aquisitions are digital now.
I am also a Digital Hoarder, saving photos and printables and everything else I see and like from the internet. I have 500GB space on my computer that I just had to relocate a bunch of files onto a 2TB external harddrive in order to be able to free up space on my PC.

I think I can live with Digital hoarding, though. It fills my needs of having stuff, yet takes up very little actual space, only virtual space.

While I was downloading books to make up for getting rid of my physical books, I ran across a few (a lot) of decluttering, home organization, clean up, self-help type books.  Mostly they were the same, and involved buying plastic shoe boxes or other storage to be able to put your stuff in to organize it.
I'm not interested in buying more stuff, to organize my stuff. I need help gettting rid of my stuff.

This book, Stop Clutter from Stealing Your Life: Discover Why You Clutter and How You Can Stop by Mike Nelson was written by someone who honestly, you could tell, had a real cluttering/hoarding problem, and not just some BS unorganized messy house crap.

How many helpful-home-blogs did I read where they attempted to help people like me by advising, "Start small. Start with a closet, or a drawer."
Mike said, "...attacking something that I walk around or push aside everyday has more immediate impact than a drawer I won't see once it's closed. Our hoarding is an outward manifestation of our inward feelings. By leaving the visible clutter for later, we just keep reinforcing our feelings of powerlessness. So clear a spot of floor or a square of desk space and then stand back and admire it. Seeing wood or carpet is often a clutterer's first phase of recovery".

Know what's crazy? I don't have a clutter/hoarding problem inside my cabinets or drawers.

The book talks about the Traits of a Clutterer and quotes a psychologist who explains about the different types:
“There is no single cause. It would be easier to treat if there were one cause. You have addictive savers, similar to people who are addicted to alcohol or overeating. They do it to numb out bad feelings....Another type of clutterer is frugal. They have a strong rationale for everything they save....   [The third type] are people who have an enormous problem making decisions and they can’t
stay focused....The fourth type suffers from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.”
—Lynda Warren, San Bernadino psychologist,
in a 1994 Long Beach Press-Telegram interview

I am apparently the second and third types: frugal and I have a huge problem making decisions and staying focused (ADD).

It goes on to explain a lot of things as to why I collect/won't/can't get rid of Stuff, and how to work on the problem. It's helped me a lot already. The week before Christmas I went through several large boxes of the boys' old toys. I never thought I'd be able to part with their toys, but I did good at parting with at least half of it. I needed a little prodding at the end but finally gave in and let J take the rest of it to the Helping Hands thrift store for donation.

If you'd like to borrow the book I have it in PDF format (and can convert to other formats), send me your email at missi at bellsouth dot com.


Cheap&Sweet: Life on the scales said...

I am 1 and 2. I emotionally shop, and always think my junk is worth something. But I never get around to selling it.

Melissa said...

Me, neither. I have several things in the floor by my chair currently that I took pictures of and planned to list at ebay or Craigslist before Christmas but never did.

Got a half a room full of yard sale stuff. I'm probably not going to have a yard sale. Been saying it for like two...three years now.

You were doing good selling stuff on ebay. What happened to that?