The Flip-Side

0049-got_coffee_3-3-1Hi!

There is a flip-side to the clutter issue. This was something that I read about and I believe I heard of on the news around 6 or 7 years ago when I last moved. I was researching the subject of reducing clutter in anticipation of that move.

Homeless person, with shopping cart

Homeless person, with shopping cart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my research I found something about the folks with a with disabilities that are on the road to eventually being homeless. The issue is that with each move they are forced to make — to less and less expensive accommodations — they are forced to divest themselves of possessions.

There are many exceptions of course, represented by those folks living out of a multitude of shopping carts or living in a warren of appliance boxes and crates.

Large and small skillets

Large and small skillets (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is that problem of a person basically losing a bit of themselves with every move they make. Precious keepsakes get lost, sold, or stolen. House-ware such as the basics like pots, pans and linens are reduced until not enough to sustain a household are left.

Eventually a person ends up with just the clothes on their back; the shoes on their feet; and perhaps a shoulder bag with a few prized possessions. They end up losing that mooring in life we call possessions. Writing as a person with issues surrounding hoarding and clutter I can see this sort of thing being a double-edged sword.

English: Photo of the living room of a compuls...

English: Photo of the living room of a compulsive hoarder (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the one hand, we can be anchored too soundly by our possessions. They can keep us from doing those things we most want to do by taking up every nook and cranny of our lives. “Excess baggage” is the term that comes to mind. But I have seen images fo the homes of hoarders where even the kitchen becomes a closet and no cooking can be done… or safely done. A person that might get joy out of cooking no longer has access to their stove. Too many possessions can be a burden.

On the flip-side, slowly losing everything is like cutting ties with your past. You lose the treasured photos of friends and family both alive and dead. You also lose any record of contact you might have with these people. You lose the ability to move into a place with a kitchen and be able to cook without repurchasing those pots and pans that you got rid of.

In some ways you lose your place in society.

Compulsive hoarding in a private apartment

Compulsive hoarding in a private apartment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know there are some that live quite well with a minimum of possessions, in fact people who are quite happy in a Spartan environment.

I don’t know if these are the exceptions or the rule?

I would have problems living without familiar possessions — though i think I might like being in touch with some things that those possession represent.

But, I don’t want to get rid of my Father’s portrait and his old hard hat. I don’t want to get rid of my library of books that I have collected over the years. I don’t want to get rid of the tools that I use for painting, sewing, leather-work, or computer repair.

I wouldn’t mind getting rid of some broken things and a build-up of recyclables. For some reason they keep piling up… oh yeah, if I get rid of them they won’t pile up… if it were only so simple, for me.

Dusty
D. Cluttermouse.

Weight Reduction

got_coffee_mod-4I’m still looking for the energy, or friends to allow me to implement my organization strategy for my hoard. I’ve started another course of treatment for a couple of the health issues I have that are causing fatigue.

Perhaps, with those treatments I might have the energy to work on improving things. Time will tell.

In truth, my clutter is greater than it was when I started blogging. Setbacks have led to the back-slide, but I do still hope to organize and reduce my hoard. I’ve gotten rid of tons in the past…

On a positive note, I have the clutter outside my suite under control!

Bye for now,

Dusty
D. Cluttermouse.

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Lonely in D.Cluttermouse’s Nest

got_coffee_mod-4Sometimes it strikes me that I might go for days without seeing another human being in person. I have a few people that I speak with daily, but that is either by telephone or via Skype. There is a closeness to that, to be sure, but, actually being in person with someone else, that is missing from my life.

For a large part it is because I don’t get out . Other than going out to the mailbox at the front of the house, I stay in. I see the same walls, the same clutter, the same very familiar surroundings.

A relative passed away last weekend. They were terribly close, but I remember them from childhood and playing with their children when I was little. I remember them from those large family gatherings like weddings and funerals — where family members that went to different churches than yours went to came to. There was always an interesting feeling of completeness and that all was well with the world when your extended family might come together… perhaps not for a funeral of course.

Silly Cousins

Silly Cousins (Photo credit: celeste343)

I am meaning the times when you saw Great Uncles and Aunts and second cousins and first cousins once removed and were reminded that your parents had cousins and your Grandparents had brothers and sisters too.

But with the passing of one of your parent’s cousins — not long after losing a parent — really marks a part of the whole issue behind compulsive hoarding — at least one root for many. For many the issue is that of loss. There is a fear of loss. Many start hoarding when they lose a loved one. For some it is losing a child in infancy. For some it is loss of a parent or spouse.

Arbeitszimmer einer Messies

Arbeitszimmer einer Messies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For others, there is just a need for stability and a knowledge that friends seem to move away and so many relationships in their lives change, even in childhood. There is a need to create a nest of stability where “things” create a form of emotional stasis.

I reality a hoarder would very much probably wish there was a way to keep family and friends close by. But they know it isn’t healthy or possible. They know that it isn’t right to be possessive of people — or perhaps ones that don’t understand become jealous stalkers? In any case, recent losses make me realize that essentially I have created my own little museum, which is why it is so hard to lose any “artefacts”. They all have meaning to me — even if they are broken, even if they are junk.

I don’t quite know how to fix that though. I am working on that. First to get rid of the stuff I can. Actually I have gotten rid of a lot. However the more of the easy stuff I get rid of, the more I get down to just the difficult choices.

Bye for now,

Dusty
D. Cluttermouse.

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Dusty’s Back!

0049-got_coffee_3-1-1Hi!
Dusty’s back!

I hope I can be back a little bit more frequently than I have. At least it’s been less than a year since my last post here. I wish my blog was little bit more cluttered than my living space. I guess my workspace being cluttered makes it so that my work calendar is less cluttered.

The more things change the less is changed. Things are still cluttered, I still haven’t got those plastic bins, but I still hope to get them soon. You’ll be the first to know what I’ve got bins.

PET bottles in a trash can (Prague)

PET bottles in a trash can (Prague) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hope I still love anyone still reading me that you’re doing well. Let’s see if we can get our clutter and control together.

Bye for now!

Dusty
D. Cluttermouse.

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Cabin Fever

Dusty has been feeling a bit of Cabin Fever. It is a bit self imposed and I think perhaps it is something that goes along with the issue of compulsive hoarding. The biggest thing is that it is hampering plans to put things into better order.

Truly though there was a major life event in my life. It is one of those traumatic ones that we just have to move on from, though also at the same time one that you just don’t ignore.  It is how one copes that is important. The whole process was drawn out over months and so the process of getting through after has also taken time. But we move on and this post is a part of that process. Getting back on with life.

I know many folks actually start down the road of hoarding after losing someone important to them. For me, the hoarding always was. Depression did cause a minor glitch in housekeeping but that glitch was just a small hiccup and not an avalanche.

I know for chronic hoarders “avalanche” is a word that takes on a different meaning. I also know that I am on the less serious end of the hoarding spectrum. Dusty is just working hard not to slip up the spectrum! At one time I was well on my way to heading there towards corridors of newspaper and small nests of fast food packaging neatly stacked and folded. I still have to get a good hold on my recyclables. They are all clean — I still get my cans and most of my bottles out. It is still hard to let go of “neat looking” jars and bottles and large cardboard boxes made from cereal box cardboard or tiny boxes. But! The first thing I do with a bottle or jar is clean it!

Of course my OCD kicks in and I even rinse out my pop bottles (soda bottles for my American cousins) so there isn’t any bug attracting syrup in the bottom of bottles or cans. (even though Dusty drinks diet soda which probably doesn’t attract many bugs — smart bugs…)

However… I need to get out in order to get my plastic storage bins. I need to get out to get a new grocery cart… etc.

Soon… soon…

Dusty
D. Cluttermouse.

Hey! I’m back and it is still 2011!

DustyNot a lot of change, but I have come back to post! That is a big step, I hope.

A friend came by a few weeks ago and helped me by sweeping outside and straightening up things a bit. She also did me a great favour by cleaning my washroom… it sure takes a great friend to offer to clean your washroom. I mean it wasn’t a death trap by any means and I even do things like clean the toilet. But my friend has a little semi-professional experience at it and did it quickly and efficiently. Though I realize just how strong my OCD is when I felt very uncomfortable when some things weren’t quite in the right place. I am not so OCD that everything is always in the same place all the time. I do move things from time to time myself. Perhaps it is okay because I moved it… or because I chose where to move  it?

I was very surprised at how much that little bit of sweeping made outside.

Still much to do. Of course.

I am also trying to make inroads on my Internet Presence. I have a large “clutter” of websites out in the ether and some are basically orphaned. I want to resurrect some and perhaps drop some… though hoarding is something as hard with soft stuff as with hard stuff. You should see my hard drives. I am sure I have email hoarded from the 90’s! It is that attempt to “resurrect” some of my sites that got me back here.

I’ll let you know how things are going!

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse

The Dust Lay Thick and Deep, Like Freshly Fallen Snow

Your Host, Dusty

Hi! It seems my last entry was about an extended absense…

Gee… and that was over just short of two years ago! Depression can be like that. To start off with you don’t have energy to keep up with things and so you begin to live by triage. You start doing only what is necessary. After a while you forget some of the things you only did infrequently that were not “necessary” to life.

That is what happened to “No A’s B’s or C’s”

The depression still lays heavy upon me. I’m not sad… I wonder what percentage of people with major depression actually are sad? In any case the depression mostly takes away my energies. I say “energies” because as well as emotional energy, there are physical energy issues and spiritual energy issues. Anxiety, one of the main issues in Chronic Hoarding, also plagues me more strongly — I think. I find it difficult to get out. That restricts what I can do in my quest to put order in my life — even the small amount of order that “I” desire… and in truth I do desire an ordered environment.

People who know me and the rare few who have seen my living space comment that it is very well ordered. I think that is true of certain types of hoarders. I’m not one to obsess on pictures that are hung slightly crooked. But, if someone were to put a glass on the wrong shelf or rearrange stuff in my bathroom… I will feel uneasy.

I must say that many things are more organized. I must say that my shed, while a success in giving me the storage space I needed, has become a black hole. I have not even looked into it for over a month except when some sneak thief opened to doors to check it out for valuables. I checked that nothing was missing… strangely I could tell what had been shifted even will all that is in there. But that is a sign of the order involved. I do still have a half dozen or so moving boxes in my living area in addition to the file boxes I have stored in my bedroom semi-permanently. It is difficult… I do need help to cope with the clutter and I am just barely coping.

Perhaps starting back in with my writing is a good sign? We shall see. You will probably be able to judge by the duration between this and whatever post will follow it.

For now, that is the ending of this entry.

~ Dusty

D Cluttermouse

Three “R”s to Decluttering…..

For me it is very difficult to get rid of things. It is virtually impossible to throw things out, but I have found that those “Three ‘R’s of Recycling” to be very helpful!

  1. Reduce
  2. Reuse
  3. Recycle

I have applied these to my problem of “compulsive hoarding”… or is that “obsessive hoarding”? I always forget… anyhow, I apply them to my hoarding problem.

First, I “REDUCE”:

I am very careful not to take in anything that is not necessary. One of the early steps I took was not to take any physical Newspaper. That means I won’t subscribe to either of our daily papers no matter how much I love to read them. I simply found that I had problems getting rid of the papers. There were many reasons including being worried that I might have missed an article or coupon. Even with the option to recycle newspapers it was nearly impossible to keep up. I will admit that it is far far easier for me to “recycle” than “throw out”, but I’ll get back to that. I found that I can not even take in the weekly, biweekly, or tri-weekly papers – even just the fliers or catalogues. I just can not bear to get rid of the ads… So I do not take them in and instead I take advantage of services like Google’s News search service which will scan the net for local news of interest to me and to be able to scan fliers online. …I just have to make sure not to download, print or otherwise save the electronic fliers.

That is one area of reducing. I also make sure I don’t start buying any collectible items. I know I will want the whole set and will be unable to part with a single, even broken or duplicated item. That includes the wee toys you might get free in cereal boxes.

Second I “REUSE”:

If I do find I simply must buy something neat or keep something that might not seem of value. I realize now that I simply must find a use for it. For instance. I was keeping those very large spaghetti sauce jars. They are the large ones — the 4 litre/4 quart glass ones that you really can’t find now — that have been replaced by plastic. I find they are so very… hard for me to part with especially now that I can’t find sauce or other products sold in them. For a long time I used them for “bug proof” rice storage. I bought the large sacks of rice as a way to economize for a while, but with living in older basement suites… well bug proof was important. Anyway the rice storage was a way to “reuse” the bottles. I also used them for iced tea and for juice in the fridge. Their biggest flaw was the metal lids with the very thin plastic lining. They really weren’t intended for long time reuse. I’d love to find a source for more reusable lids for them.

I have found that since that time I can not use so much white rice. My blood sugar can not handle the refined starch in the white processed rice. This summer, I shall figure out something for iced tea and Koolaid. I make it myself and add my own diabetic friendly sweetener — sometimes very little sweetener at that. However, I have taken to reusing the jars now for things like…

  • My marble collection
  • My dice collection
  • My plastic toy collection — like the little things you get in Kinder Eggs and cereal boxes

Third I “RECYCLE”:

This might seem a “no brainer”. Perhaps it is, but before easy recycling I had very difficult problems getting rid of things that “should” be reusable or recyclable. I mean metal, plastic, glass, and that sort of thing were very hard for me to just throw out — unless of course they were soiled so that they were difficult to clean. I guess some of my favourite toys were the broken ones. I also used metal, wood, and plastic bits as accessories to my toys and to help build and fix my toys. It wasn’t that we were really poor, but we didn’t go buying toys all the time and I tended to be happy making do. I guess it led to where I am in other areas too…

I have belonged to, and in my spirit, though I am not currently active, still a member of a medieval recreation society and the keyword to that group is “participation”. Being that medieval gear and equipment just could not easily be purchased, we ended up making and creating our own. Of course with my typical “Church Mouse” budget I would have to often improvise and would use old clothing, blankets, discarded furniture, and drapes for resources to make clothing and items for medieval implements and garb. That is cool… but you end up keeping nearly everything on the hope that you can make use of it and not toss something that would be of value and use to you in your hobby — especially when you have seen others using such things in their own equipment. Part of what I am going to be getting rid of now are things I have saved to use for that hobby. I know I will be able to purchase or otherwise find for nearly nothing the equivalent or better.

It would have been difficult to get rid of that stuff other than now knowing I can recycle the materials.

Recycling and reducing are probably the more important to me as I have too much stuff at the moment. I imagine selling and donating are as important or more important than the recycling bin to me. Or for that matter finding friends and family who could actually use the things I do not have a need for and do not have room for.

I guess “3 R’s” sound better than “3 R’s, S, D, & G”  (Sell, Donate, & Gift)

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse.