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.

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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

Anchorless

Where does cluttered life come from?

I don’t know all the reasons in my own life — let alone anyone else’s — but one aspect of my own cluttered existence might have clues in a need for an anchor in this turbulent life. Perhaps others can work without a net and can launch out on their own without a firm anchorage or base camp. But I am not that sort.

I have heard that a person who was insecure in their relationships; and who had low self esteem; might end up turning to toys as friends when other children do not become that emotional outlet. This lack might increase if for some reason that self confidence doesn’t develop during school years. Deep within, objects take on the position of friends. That means that to get rid of an object that has long been in your possession is like abandoning a close friend. Someone who might already be a bit sensitive would have problems with that.

I think that this would be how they felt as a child and so getting rid of their possession feels like they are abandoning someone — even if they never really had been abandoned.

I was insecure and had little self confidence — this is true. I also feel an emotional attachment to objects. I always have for as long as I can remember — even from before I was 5-years-old.

Now the rub is that even with this self realization, I feel nearly helpless. This is because the feelings are real and I am tortured with the thoughts of giving up prized possessions. I dreaded being given the family couch when my parents bought a new living room set. This is because I knew it would be very, very difficult for me to get rid of.

It took a monumental effort to cast off that couch and I was nearly at a break-down point at the time. Other issues happening with regards to the move I was being forced to make at the time had me at the breaking point already.

I simply didn’t have a place to put a couch in my new suite. I could at least keep the armchair rocker from the living room set. That really helped — along with me bracing for the separation for weeks.

I don’t know how to separate those feelings I attribute to objects. I try. I am also very logical — as well as emotional — and it is very stressful trying to cope with the illogic of the whole situation. Objects do not have feelings and I should not be attached to objects — especially when the attachment is harmful and the emotions attributed to the objects might even be painful ones.

Anyhow, that is a glimpse into some reasons behind clutter. It is hard not to gain clutter when objects become friends. Objects become anchors that hold us to our lives… other people could anchor themselves to friends… or some could anchor to locations. But when we are taken from our safe locations, our possessions become our anchors… makes you think about the homeless with their shopping carts, doesn’t it?

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse.