Tuesday, 27 December 2011


During my house sitting stint I got to watch satellite telly and although I caught a few favourites, like Law & Order and CSI and a movie or three, I gravitated towards some shows I'd never seen before. I took a shine to 'What not to wear' and 'How do I look?' on Style and also found 'Clean House' (also on Style) and 'Hoarding: Buried Alive' on TLC. OMG!

Occasionally, while out running, I catch a car going into or out of a garage and some of those garages... they need a visit by 'Clean House'. What I find most incredible is how partners and children put up with the collecting / messy / don't-throw-out tendencies of their partners/parents who seem to control the household. Sure, they finally crack and call 'Clean House', but that they live for so long under and on top of stuff...

As for the Hoarding show... goodness. I think the only difference between the people in Clean House and those in Hoarding is that the latter are usually alone - partners and children have left - and the stuff has accumulated for in excess of 10 or 20 years. They end up sleeping on top of piles of stuff because their bed becomes buried and they can't sit on their couch, sit at a table or even prepare meals in the kitchen - there's just wall to wall piles of stuff.

Ja, it's an addiction. People just can't let go of stuff and having and being surrounded things 'feels' like security or some kind of safety.

What I have enjoyed about Hoarding are the psychologists, who help people to let go and deal with the emotional issues, and the professional organisers, who work through the stuff with the hoarder around what to keep and what to discard. It seems to me that the Clean House crew just move in and clean, which I like too. There's something very satisfying in the transformation of the homes and the lives of the people concerned.

I'd quite fancy to be a professional organiser. I remember years ago when I was working for Let's Play and I had to sort, organise, count and pack a huge amount of donated sports equipment (see photo; click on it to see bigger). It was such a kick.

I regularly clear out at home too. Magazines, papers and such accumulate so quickly! I've recently been doing cupboards too. Over time I find that there will be items that I don't wear for a year - they go bye-bye. People I knew had a small place with limited cupboard space for clothing. They had a rule; if you buy a new tee shirt, you must throw one out. You can have new stuff, you've just got to trade an old item for it. I like and have been using this approach for some years.

A friend passed me on to this website - The Minimalists. The posts here, written by two guys, are about "minimalism and living a meaningful life with less stuff". This is a great post from one of their archives about a guy who reduced everything he owns to 288 items.

 On that note, my fingers are itching. Need to dig around for more stuff to throw out...

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