How to be a Better Hoarder

It starts out small. You don’t suspect at all. One day you just have a bit more stuff than space, more stuff than time or energy. So you make a pile of it. Maybe on the seat of a chair, a stack on a shelf, a junk drawer in the kitchen or a few things tossed on your bed while you tidy up the rest of the room.

Hoarding comes along easy.

That pile of stuff on the chair doesn’t get dealt with and next time you want to use the chair the stuff is in the way. A minor annoyance so you stash it somewhere else. A temporary fix, right?

Sometimes you may get caught up and avoid the start of a hoard. Usually you don’t. I don’t. I have a stash of unfinished work on nearly every surface available in my bedroom, most of the floor space is taken up with bags of stuff to do.

The rest of the house is tidy. Right now. I don’t live alone half the year. But, that’s part of the problem too. She is a clutter freak. Anything left out bothers her. I like having my coffee pot and the coffee grinder out on the kitchen counter. Why not, I use them every day at least once. I clean up any spilled coffee grounds or drips from the pot. There is no mess, just two pieces of kitchen gadgets out in open space. It took time but I’m now allowed to have them out.

Anything else I want to keep much be stashed away. This means adding it to the other stashes, stacks and piles of stuff in my bedroom. Stuff gets lost in there. It is a jungle or piles and stacks and stashes of assorted stuff I need or at least don’t want to have taken, thrown out or lost.

Ironic that I keep things here to avoid losing them when I’ve long gotten past the point of being able to keep track and find much any more.

Hoarding happens when you need to hold on to things and run out of better options, or space.

Don’t think this is taking the easy way out. Living this way is frustrating, for me more than anyone else. They may think whatever they like and they believe the problem is me. It is and yet it isn’t just me.

A lot of the stuff here are things other people want me to do for them. Tasks and jobs and demands I have not found time or energy to do. Do you know the old joke about a round tuit? Look that one up and if you ever do find that legendary round tuit please send it to me when you’re done tuiting.

I need to say no but that isn’t so simple. I won’t get into all of that. It’s an exercise in frustration to explain my need to be perfect and fix everything, do too much and prove myself to anyone who isn’t inside my own head. So, just know that it is very hard for me to say no to family and friends who ask for simple, small favours. I add their photos, their lists and assorted other things to my hoard of to-do.

I don’t think anyone outside of hoarders can understand the pressure of having too much stuff around them. It weighs on you, it pushes against you and it limits you mentally, emotionally and physically too. I hate having just a small path trough my bedroom from the door to the bed with the computer desk being along that same path. I can’t put my clean clothes away because I can’t reach the closet. I can’t start tidying up because I no longer know where to begin. It’s all a chain. One thing leads to another and another. To pull one string means pulling another and finding a place to put the first string before I can pull the next string. But, there is no more room to put anything.

In frustration I toss a pile of papers and old photos onto another stack of papers piled up on the floor. Another task demanded and no time or energy to do it. Another weight added to the pressure. Another layer added to the stuff I already can’t deal with! It lands atop the other stuff and I’m angry because this was demanded of me and I know I can’t do more and this is just more of more.

People think a hoarder is an awful thing: dirty, miserable, derelict. I’m not any of those things. Not ever miserable. I live my life around this hoard and I try to function in spite of it all. I can’t let go and give up the things in this hoard which I actually value. I can’t give up on the things I said I would do, even the things I never actually agreed to do. I feel pressure and guilt and anger.

A simple solution is to deal with some small part of it each day.

Seems simple enough. Until you start somewhere and get caught up in one thing for too long. One thing leads to another problem when you don’t have enough space to work in. Too many things are buried and it is frustrating to know they are there but out of reach. To begin finding what I need causes the moving of the hoard which means the things which were on top (the things I could locate) will now be moved and become the things I can’t find.

Hoarding is a trap.

During half the year when I live here alone I take a few days and then begin moving things out of my space and into another spare room. I get some clearance, some room to move and work. At first the release of having space and feeling hope again is just nice in itself. I haven’t thrown anything away but I have space again. Having space makes me feel I have some control, and can actually do something about all of it.

I make some progress. The hard part is choosing where and what to start on. Last time I began with clothes. I sorted out a lot of clothes I haven’t worn in years and those which I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing now that I’m no longer 20-something. I had them all ready to go to the Salvation Army thrift store. I felt good thinking some other woman would be able to wear those clothes. But, I got caught up in road blocks.

I was stopped from giving away the clothes because other people thought I shouldn’t just give them away. You can’t just give away something that still has value! Some day you may fit into that again. That dress used to look so great on you.

Isn’t that funny? I thought I was the hoarder.

I originally wrote this for Medium but no one is reading it there so I have moved it here.

Thoughts of the Day

No man will ever have  a real appreciation for the day your period stops. They complain and make jokes about our periods, about the warm up and the start but they will never know the happy day of waking up and knowing it is over or, at least will be over that day.

I’m living alone right now. So on this, my day of waking up to find it down to a trickle, I can put away my maxi pads and the PMS pills. Usually, I always keep them put away. But, one nice thing about living alone is not having to hide away everything connected to my being a female as if it is all a dirty secret. Not just maxi pads, but my bras, underwear and my body itself. There is something seductive and fun about walking to the bathroom for a shower, wearing nothing at all and coming back the same way, just wetter. I can flick a towel over my chair and sit right here to drip dry. It’s nice getting dressed without struggling to pull clothes over your wet skin.

I’m not a towel dry person. I prefer to drip dry when I can. Usually this means I get dressed wet and then my clothes absorb the shower water. Not the option I like best. I don’t know why I don’t like using the towel. Maybe it’s part of not wanting to put them all through the laundry. Do you know how much it costs to wash towels? A whole load of laundry (because they really can’t go in with anything else lest you want fluff/ pilling over all the other stuff).

There are other good things about living alone, even if it isn’t for very long. I don’t walk around the house naked as I’ve heard others do. But, no one will make me feel guilty for wearing my nightie past noon. I like my nighties. They feel pretty, sexy and girly all at once. I don’t get to feel that way wearing anything else at any other time of the day.

I also get to leave dishes out until the afternoon. I don’t have to keep the kitchen counters bare of anything but the essentials. I can leave the coffee out, on the counter, right beside the French press. This would drive some people crazy with the urge to put things away, not me. I like leaving it out, handy, right where I want it to be when I want to make coffee. Why is this such a hardship for some people?

Thursday Thirteen #22: Things I’d Rather Be Doing

I can think of a lot of things I’d rather be doing than going to work today. Here are just 13 in no particular order…

1. Being kidnapped for a romantic evening with someone I like even though he has awful bad breath and an oozing sore on his back.

2. Finding a winning lottery ticket even though it expired last week.

3. Shopping in my favourite bookstore, even after realizing I forgot my wallet at home and can’t buy anything.

4. Eating chocolate on chocolate cheesecake even if it means I will gain 20 pounds.

5. Backpacking through Europe even though I get chased by wild dogs halfway through the trip and never do get past Venice.

6. On a fancy, luxurious woodland retreat, all expenses paid… even though the blackflies try to eat me alive each time I step outside.

7. Being given a free year of Second Cup lattes even though I have to sit through several hours of a telemarketing time share scam first.

8. Getting up close to the wild cats in the zoo, really getting to pet them and feel all that fur… though at some point one of the cougars gets a bit too friendly and I almost lose an eye.

9. Finding a bag full of cash even though when I take it home to count (over $100,000!) there’s a deadly poisonous lizard at the bottom of the bag and I have to drag myself to the hospital for the anti venom or die in agony.

10. Riding a real, live dragon which I get to be friends with and travel around the world, free…. as long as I can hang on… it’s a really, really long way down.

11. Decorating a house of my own, my dream house and yard, even though it’s on right beside a really busy subway station in downtown Toronto where all kinds of litter blows into my precious yard.

12. Having my first book published and get a lot of great media attention but still flop mightily cause Oprah said she didn’t care for it all that much.

13. A free visit to the dentist, have all the work I need done free, for as long as I can sit in the chair while he drills into my head.

I think work is starting to sound better after that dentist thing… Hi Ho.. Hi Ho… It’s off to work I go….

Happy Thursday Thirteen!

An Exciting Day of Floor Cleaning

I spent today cleaning up things. It began with the kitchen, dishes cause I also had to make my own breakfast and coffee this morning. After that I swept and then washed the floors. I forgot however to include the bedroom and bathroom in the washing part. But, I need to get a second scrub on it tomorrow so, no big deal.

I put away things, papers and the odd book. I stacked and packed things so there is some small hope I could make my life small enough to go unnoticed. Sometimes that actually is a challenge. I tend to be a paper packrat. I keep clippings and whole magazines even. I keep books too. It’s so damned hard to let go of a good book. I think actually, though don’t tell them, it would be easier to let go of a fairly good man than a really good book. If the man was really good he’d supply a me with a bookstore to just take what I wanted. Or, a credit card I never actually had to pay. Oh, those dreams about winning the lottery! sigh

Anyway, stepping back to some form of reality… I washed dishes again in the afternoon cause no one came by to offer to make me coffee and clean the cup after. Why don’t people just come over and offer to wash your dishes for you? Wouldn’t that be a nice friendly thing. If you have new neighbours try that one out on them. Bet they’d be surprised. I wonder if they’d think you were really great or just really scary. The world is so weird these days.

I moved my area rugs around. A different pattern for the runway since I only have one hall, the apartment is pretty much a hallway the size of a walk-in closet. I like it though. It makes you feel you could just sit in a chair with quiet (non-screechy) wheels and get to everything with just a swoosh of your chair. I could shoot myself from one end of the apartment to the other if I rigged up some kind of elastic slingshot effect. That would be kind of fun and interesting. Of course, aim would be important. Hitting the walls would not be very nice, I’m not a pinball. I doubt the landlord would go for the idea of me coating the walls with rubber to bounce off of. Spoilsport.

So, after washing floors and dishes and things the only thing left to polish off the day was a round of clothes washing. So I did. It was a day of much soap and watery things. The last load is done and it’s just sitting there nagging at me to hang it all up before I am allowed to creep in under that pile of clean clothes to my snuggly bed. Clothes piles are mean and nasty things.

But I was thinking… how lovely it would be to have a male slave. Not for screwy, silly stuff like sex. Geez… who are we kidding, women can do that better without a man getting in the way. A man slave would start his day making your breakfast and coffee and then cleaning it all up. All you would have to do is smell it and eat it. By the time you arise it’s all clean and put away. You’d never know the kitchen was even used that morning.

Then man slave would be allowed to shower and whatever, leaving the sparkling clean bathroom for me whenever I finally decide to get up.

Yes, you knew it was a fantasy as soon as I wrote about a man who leaves a bathroom sparkling clean. It may sparkle, but it’s not clean.

So that was my kind of day. Cleaning up, coffee drinking and fluffing off with the computer. I did listen to a few CD’s this morning while the male slave was being delivered. Yeah, yeah… a grrl can daydream. A grrl does daydream, I talked to the imaginary male slave while I worked today. But, that’s ok, no one heard but me.

Indie Bloggers Weekly Challenge

Weekly Challenge Prompt #004: Wednesday, March 21 – 11:59 Tuesday, March 28.

300 words regarding:
You get really drunk on a cruise and wake up alone in your room wearing a Bahamian police uniform and a red cowboy hat. The door to your balcony is open and there is a midget’s tux on the chair. Security is pounding on your door.

“You get it Henry.” I shoved the midget to the door side of the bed and pulled the cowboy hat down over my eyes, shading out the sun coming in from the windows.

“I’m not getting it.” Henry moaned.

“It wasn’t enough that you had to pee on their damned cat… no…. you had to burn all my clothes while I was skinny dipping in their pool. It’s your fault I had to walk off with the police uniform. I’m so not impressed with you right now.”

The pounding at the door continued. I wondered if they would eventually just shoot their way in. Last night was so different. ‘Yes, Miss’ and ‘No Miss’ and ‘could you take off your clothes and go for a swim so I can win a bet Miss’… Men were all the same. Snots!

“Henry, get the bloody door! They probably want to know where you left the police car and then they’ll just leave us… well, me… alone.”

“I’m not answering that. They liked you but they weren’t so sweet to me. You just want to get rid of me.”

“You took the car, it wasn’t my idea. Did you really think they wouldn’t notice? Being short doesn’t make you invisible.”

“I’m going to be sick.” Moaned Henry.

I wasn’t about to stick around for more. I’d never gotten drunk before, I wasn’t going to do it, or Henry again. My room was next door, all I had to do was transport myself there. I took off the uniform, wrapped a towel around myself, climbed out onto the hotel balcony and wished myself good luck before climbing along the ledge.

Then I had the hottest, best shower of my life.

Back to the Beaches

I think I will be back to the Beaches apartment today, tonight. I did actually miss it once while I have been away. The upstairs tenants are noisy and seem to have a fetish for chair scraping. It’s dark with only one window which the people upstairs have blocked off with a garden shed thing. But, my computer is there. Home is where the PC is, right? 😉

I would say I love my computer but I am too much looking forward to replacing it with a newer model so that’s not really love just some twisted kind of lust.

I have almost 200 pictures on the digital camera to upload. I did get out to that derelict farmhouse off the 400 highway. It was really nice up close. I especially like the main doorway. Quite fancy for an old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. I even found an old Pyrex bowl there and brought it home. It was SO stinky but after bleaching it and multi-washing it is ok and stink free. Pretty too as you will see when I post it’s photo.

I’ve been making an extensive list of books lost due to the water. I think I need to get the current prices for all of them, in order for the insurance to know how much they would cost to replace. I think that’s how it works. Nothing with paper involved is ever that simple though.

It is my neice’s birthday today, she is 3 but looks about two. Her name is Emma Jeanne. She has a new short hair cut cause her older sister gave them both a haircut a couple of weeks ago. I never did get good pictures of that. The haircuts were actually quite well done for a girl not quite four years old. I think she just wanted to get all that baby hair out of her face. Good job Roxanne! They really were good cuts, I’m not being sarcastic. Of course her Mother didn’t think so. I think it’s a parent’s job to not think a little girl can cut hair well, as if she can’t be a genius until she’s older.

I’m having kind of happy day even though things are pretty crazy. See you tonight if I get the Internet set up without any problems.