Blog: Organize This!
Hoarders--Does it Hit Too Close to Home?
Hello Organizing Fans, Welcome to 'Organize This!' I'm your blogger, Vali Heist, professional organizer for homeowners and businesses. This is the blog that offers practical tips and ruminations about your CRAP! CRAP specifically means clutter that robs anyone of pleasure. So, let's get to it!
My rumination about CRAP today is about the show Hoarders. As soon as someone finds out I'm a professional organizer, he or she asks me this question: "Have you seen the show Hoarders?" I watch the show because it's hard to look away. My heart goes out to these folks; the pain that is associated with this disorder must be tremendous. I think the reason we watch this show is because it scares us. We can understand how clutter might get out of control, even if it's not at that level. We have garages filled with equipment we haven't used in years with no room for cars; we have attics filled to the rafters with things we haven't seen in years; and we have basements filled with stuff we haven't taken the time to go through in years. It's a scary, fine line between a hoarder with a disorder and The Great American Consumer with too much stuff.
It's no secret that we are buying more and more stuff and the size of a new house has grown. But even though the size of the American family has shrunk, the number of rented storage spaces has grown exponentially. As of January 2008, there were 52,453 primary self-storage facilities. Many of these facilities have better security than most homes with climate-controlled units and electronic key gates. The tag line for one storage facility company is "Problem Solved". But for many folks, is it really? Many of these units are simply the result of delayed decision making and the reality is that we accumulate even more, because we've freed up space at home. It's a vicious cycle!
Traditionally, renters of storage facilities were in transition such as a divorce or relocation and were only doing it for short-term. But now, renters use these spaces for personal closets, garage and basement overflow, or their parent's stuff when they cleaned out the family home. In some cases, renters go from one storage unit to two to three.
Patients with pathological hoarding issues lose the ability to appraise the worth of things and attach sentimental value to almost everything. But how many of us have this same inclination albeit not as severe? Does this sound familiar: "I know I haven't used it or seen it in years, but…"
--I might need it some day.
--If I get rid of it I'll have to admit it was a bad purchase.
--I spent a lot/so little for it, and I don't want to have to replace it.
--I'm saving it for my kids.
--It's been in the family for years.
--I'll be able to fix it.
--I could use it in a craft or art project.
Many times professional organizers don't recommend renting storage facilities because it delays decision making and you end up paying for the delay through rent. On the other hand, coming to terms with your stuff can be difficult, emotional, and just plain exhausting. If you are going to tackle a large space, remember, if it took years to get that way, it's not going to take overnight to clean it out. I ask my clients, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!"
Let's close today with one of the 'Hawaiian Rules': He who dies with the most toys—still dies. However, I like my version better, "He who dies with the most stuff, leaves a mess for the relatives!"
Thank you for reading 'Organize This'! For more organizing tips see my new website at www.thecluttercrew.com. Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Have a great day!
posted on: 8/21/2010 2:30:00 PM by Vali Heist
category: General Organizing Tips
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Vali Heist is a Certified Professional Organizer, the owner of The Clutter Crew for homeowners, and a Certified GO System Trainer for businesses. She is the author of "Organize This! Practical Tips, Green Ideas, and Ruminations about your CRAP. CRAP stands for Clutter that Robs Anyone of Pleasure! She writes a monthly column for the Reading Eagle called "Organize This!". Vali's bachelor's degree is in Business Administration from Shippensburg University and her Master's Degree is in Higher Education from Kutztown University. Vali has an extensive background of 24 years in Higher Education including training, administration, project management, writing, and editorial production. Her passion has always been organization and how it relates to the simplification of work and personal life in order to enjoy both to the fullest. Her ultimate goal is to continue finding simple, easy to implement ideas that work in the real world and pass them on to her clients.