Saturday, August 29, 2009

Step 1 - Operation: Clutter Clean-Up


Wow! Quite a bit accomplished in 3 hours. Ain't gonna lie to ya - I'm pretty amazed.

Though exhausted, I slept fitfully last night. I was up around 5a, watching The West Wing; not paying attention, just distracted enough to keep the edge off the anxiety. Around 8a, I decided to channel that energy into cleaning: cleaned the litter box, the toilet, the bathroom sink, counters and cleared out clothes from a drawer in the dressing room. The drawer wasn't too bad as it was mostly t-shirts and shorts I don't wear. Figured that was a good sign of things to come once B showed up.

She got here around 11:30a and went right to it. She had a plan, she was very systematic, pushed when I needed it and backed off at the appropriate times. In order to get through the tossing out, I had to do a lot of pre-emptive striking: before she could say "Do you really need/wear/want this/that/the other?" I had to do it. That helped and hurt; I threw out clothes without thinking. I didn't want B to say anything, I wanted it to look easy; like I was okay with it. I wasn't.

So, B had a plan: attack the closet first. Ai yi yi! We went through all the items, one by one. Some stayed, most didn't. It was so empty. That was the first painful twinge - you just threw out X-amount of money! Pushing that aside, we continued. I wasn't going to share this part because it shows my warped way of thinking...but that's why it should be shared. :::exhale:::

In my closet sat a white hamper. This white hamper used to sit in my parents' bathroom. Then, it was passed to me while I was in high school. This white hamper moved with me in and around Riverside then out to L.A. This white hamper sat in my closet, stuffed. I didn't know what it was stuffed with or how long it had been since I opened it (to me it was another flat surface on which to pile more things). B told me I had to get rid of it. Ohh, easy, Turbo! I had to go through it - what if there was a top I could wear? Or towels? Or something, anything I could wear in there?! B said if there is something in there a) I probably already bought one to replace it or b) it just doesn't matter now. So, sight unseen, the whole hamper was tossed. Without me looking in it. And that brought about another twinge - although I KNOW that was exactly what should be done.

We moved from the closet to the trifecta - the 3 places in my living space in which I pile clothes: the rolling rack, the stacked bins and the unstacked bins. The rolling rack was easiest as the clothes are on hangers already. We moved those into the recently cleared out closet. Then we tackled pile A - clean clothes. We put each piece onto a hanger then into the closet. Then, pile B - did the same thing. Clothes in the closet. Amazing.

3 hours, 3 trips to the trashbin, 4 bags to Goodwill, 2 baskets of laundry & dry cleaning, clothes on hangers in the closet. Not too bad for Step 1, eh?

To my credit, I didn't cry until B left.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

i see the edge, i look, i fall

Like some glutton for punishment, I've been watching the TV shows Obsessed and Hoarders on A&E. Good grief. I really want to know and understand how & why I became a hoarder. I thought the shows would be interesting, obviously fascinating and, hopefully, insightful or at the least inspiring.

Yeah, right.

I watched the season one finale of Obsessed about Richie, an excessive compulsive hoarder. For that hour, I was anxious and upset and crying. Richie was speaking his truth; in it, I heard my own: how difficult it is to throw out a piece of paper, how emotionally attached he is to most everything in his home (paper, books, magazines, stuff). It was heart-and gut-wrenching to watch.

Then, Hoarders started. Good grief. The first show focused on a couple who were on the verge of having their children taken away because of the clutter/hoarding in the home; the other segment was a woman who is a food hoarder threatened with eviction. Let's just say it was horrific, at best. Thank God I'm not a food hoarder! But her 'logic' or reasoning for the clutter aligns with mine - throwing out stuff is throwing away money. Boy is that a thought I struggle's my Mom's voice ringing in my head: don't waste this or that, money doesn't grow on trees, etc. The one good thing about these shows is that I've opened up to people, shared my 'dirty little secret' (no pun intended). The more I share, the more I expect people to judge me. However, the more I share, the more accountable I feel; the more compelled I feel to do something.

Several weeks ago, I opened up about my hoarding/clutter to my friend B. She shared her experience with hoarding - her aunt is a compulsive hoarder who slept in a chair because it was the only place with no clutter. B offered to help clean up/clear out. I (as usual) thanked her profusely and politely declined.

Last night, I started to watch the new episode of Hoarders...that anxious feeling returned; and so did the tears. I asked B for help. Her first piece of advice? Stop watching those damned television shows! "You're emotionally cutting. The shows aren't helping you." I deleted them from my DVR.

B is coming over on Saturday. I/We are starting the process. :::exhale:::

My goal? To have people in my home by the end of the year. For the first time.