I watch the show with a mixture of emotions. Pity, disgust, confusion, anger, hope. And not to mention it is very entertaining. I know that hoarding is a disease. I just do not understand it. When your home is so filthy and cluttered that the Board of Health has deemed it unfit for humans to live in and Social Services has given you a deadline to have it cleaned up or they will remove your children... how is it so hard to CLEAN UP!?!? It is baffling to me. If I was in their shoes, I would just call and have a half dozen dumpsters delivered to my house and just throw everything in it except for what was actually needed. Like I said I know that it is an illness but I just want to slap these people in the head. Knock some sense into them.
I know that the therapists and professional organizers are educated in what they do and have obviously developed a way to deal with these extreme cases, but I disagree with some of their practices. Coddling these people and holding up every single item in the house and asking the hoarder if this item and that item can be donated or discarded is just ridiculous to me. I know they must do it this way for a reason, there must be proven results with this method. I do understand that if the hoarder does not feel that they had total control over what gets tossed than they will just go right out and start their hoard all over again. In almost every episode the hoarder is like no, I need that. I can't part with this bin of bottle caps. No, I can still eat that rotten pumpkin and yogurt...REALLY?! WHY is this even an option?! LADY, your home is going to be demolished, your children will be removed from your custody and you will be homeless if you don't clean up within the next 3 days! Is the clutter worth all of that to you? Again I know hoarding is an illness but seriously, it is just insane to me that people are having such a dilemma in deciding to keep or toss a bowl of rotten liquefied fruit that was discovered under two tons of clothing in their kitchen and an old ripped nightgown that they remember wearing the first time they saw Gone with the Wind in order to keep their family together and avoid eviction from their home??!!
I have developed my own system of depleting my homes clutter. My plan involves not even looking in boxes or bins that I have not opened in over 2 years. If I have not had any reason to open these containers in 2+ years, then the contents obviously are of NO importance to me. Why even bother opening them up and going through every item and making a decision as to what will stay or be tossed? I have no interest or time to bother with that. Last year I did a partial clutter clean in my basement. I had 4 huge Rubbermaid tubs marked Maleeka's clothes. I do recall packing those bins with clothes when I had gained a lot of weight and they no longer fit me. (story for another post.) I gained the majority of my weight over a DECADE ago! I moved those bins with me to THREE apartments!! Never opening them once. I finally woke up while I was sitting on the stairs to the basement. It became so evident that I will never wear this shit! First of all, I am still too big for these clothes. Second, these are fashions from 10-14 years ago! Even if I was able to fit into them, would I even wear them? Hell no! We're talking late 90's - early 2000's fashion here, hahaha! I dragged those Bad Larrys to the backyard and went online to Big Brother/Big Sister and scheduled a donation pickup. OUTTA HERE!
Since then, I have stuck with this plan. I have made a major dent in my clutter problem. I have donated over 15 trash bags, 5 boxes and those 4 huge Rubbermaid containers full of items to Big Brother/Big Sister Association and hopefully they will be useful to someone else . The boxes/bags that I do go through I only take a second to make my decision if it will stay or go. I ask myself, "have I used this item in the past 6 months to a year?" If the answer is no, then I decide if I will donate or toss in the trash. If I decide to keep the item than I need to find a home for it immediately. If I can't find a home for it, then I ask myself again, "Self? Do you really want to keep this?" 9 times out of 10, I decide to toss or donate.
I have no fear of tossing important documents or sentimental items as I do actually put those things in a particular place. I'm not saying that these areas are organized but there is no chance of documents or items of utmost importance being tossed or donated since I do not just jam them in random boxes. Cleaning my file cabinet is on my to do list.
Not sure if my way is the right way for anyone else, but it has worked wonders for me. I don't make much progress when I am coddled. Tell me what to do to make these changes and MAKE ME DO IT! If I fight you with excuses, FIRMLY explain to me how stupid my excuses are and redirect my attention to the big picture...Dutch Aunty style.
Now if I could just develop a plan for weight loss that works as well for me as my decluttering plan.