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Author Topic:   Living in third degree squalor...where do I start?
Kimmy
unregistered
posted 05-20-2001 01:49 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have just read Julie's book and found it makes the most sense out of all the organising books. I have had a lot of trauma in my life and as a result, I am now at what psychiatrists call "third stage squalor", which means that my house is like a tip! I am not being dramatic in saying that! Papers spread all over the floor, empty food cans, some rotting away food, animal waste not cleaned up, items absolutely everywhere, tossed as though a tornado had been through! I really want to help myself but I find it hard to start, as it is so overwhelming. I am still depressed, but want to really get this three years (yes, no cleaning in that time) of mess and filth clean and tidy. Words cannot describe the state it is in, honestly. Bags of trash in house, etc, and I cannot have anyone inside, as I am very embarrassed, even to post here was an effort.

Before this happened to me, I had a pristine apartment, so clean and tidy, not a thing out of place, so please understand, I am not just lazy or nuts!!! Just some terrible things happened to me.

Any ideas would be so appreciated...and Julie, if you have a prize for the worst case of absolute mess, then I think I've won!!

Thanks.

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Celeste
Member
posted 05-20-2001 02:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Celeste   Click Here to Email Celeste     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kimmy, you came to the right place.

Instruction number one: quit hitting yourself over the head. Instruction number two: pat yourself on the back for the courage it takes to confront this. Instruction number three: grab garbage bags (or boxes), go through the house and pick up the rubbish. Don't worry about organizing right now, just get rid of the trash. Then take the bags or boxes (including those you've stockpiled) and leave them for garbage collection.

Just getting rid of the obvious will do two things: it will give you the feeling that you've done something obviously constructive, and it will give you a place to work.

Go for it, hon. Come back here when you're ready for more. You are on the right track.

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jen
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posted 05-21-2001 02:33 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have just one thing to say, and it's not meant meanly. Think about your health. Having things with rotting food and animal waste is a breeding ground for bacteria. It can make you seriously ill. And if you think about it, if you're feeling tired, etc that may be one of the reasons why your not up to cleaning. Celeste said it well you've taken the first step, keep making them little by little. I have never had it that bad, but when I did just little by little I noticed a change just in how I felt by cleaning up. Hope your feeling better your on your way.

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Kimmy
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posted 05-22-2001 01:33 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Celeste and Jen,

Thank you so much for the replies. It really meant a lot that no one got on and started making me feel worse! I was so afraid to even read the replies, because that would have put me back ten steps if they had been mean!

I can't thank you enough, Celeste, for the advice. You know what, the great thing is I already have the garbage bags, but I was so overwhelmed and didn't know whether to clean or what fisrt, as Julie's book suggested sorting, ofcourse! So, I WILL get onto this and concentrate solely on just getting the rubbish out! It may take some time, but I will be back to post again when I have made the progress!!!

Thank you for the understanding, really, as you can imagine how scared I was to post my situation!!! Although we all have an organisation dilemma or hint, whatever, I couldn't see any the same as mine, so I was thinking, "Oh no!!"

Really, you guys are the best!!!! It has given me a direction now, so I will concentrate on the rubbish and nothing else. You are right, Jen, the bacteria, yeah, I know. It really disgusts me, and sometimes I wonder how the old me (perfectionist plus!) got so down.

Thanks for brigthening my day. I know I have a bit to do, but I will be in touch when I can say I have done the first bit!!!!

THANK YOU EVER SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!! Kimmy

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Celeste
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posted 05-22-2001 10:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Celeste   Click Here to Email Celeste     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kimmy,

I'm glad we've helped you. We all need it from time to time. It looks like you were headed in the right direction and just having us encouraging you was all you required.

As for being judgmental, we ALL know that being bad organizers doesn't make us bad people! Outside events, particularly when they are traumatic, can cause all sorts of problems; priorities change, energy fades or is spent on more essential things like survival. The fact that you are ready to tackle this tells me you are doing better now than you were, and that is FAR more important than how neat things look. Jen is right. Your health is more important to us than your clutter.

One concern I have is that your old perfectionism may rear its ugly head at this moment and tell you that your cleaning isn�t �good enough� unless everything is spotless. Ignore it. The main consideration at this point is getting started and ridding the harmful bacteria-laden rubbish from your living space. Once that is done, you�ll feel better and you�ll be ready to tackle the rest of your apartment with Julie�s tried-and-true methods.

Good luck, and keep us posted!

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Kimmy
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posted 05-22-2001 10:52 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hey Celeste,

My, that is the nicest thing I have heard in a long time! Thank you so very, very much!
Last night, I bought some bacteria-resistant trash bags ( feeding off Jen's comment in case I had to wait for next trash day!!!) and actually filled the bins I have available to me and they were emptied last night. A small start, but what a little kindness does from people to make that happen!

I will post when I get a little further!!!

Thank you again, you are really the most understanding people. Gave me strength to do what I did last night! I am SO GRATEFUL!

Kimmy

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jen
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posted 05-23-2001 12:13 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
GREAT JOB

Now I would also suggest that you were gloves for the really nasty things. Now I know it may seem like I am a little going over board, but I was a restaurant manager after the ecoli thing in washington and you wouldn't believe the things you learn in a food safety class. I even have a sort of ocd on washing my hands now...lol
anyway keep going.

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Kimmy
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posted 05-24-2001 11:41 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oh thanks, Jen!

Yes, I was just picking up the easier stuff the other day, and some of it definitely needs gloves, so I left the really gross stuff there, though, really that should come up first!!! What you are saying is really helping me to realise just how DIRTY the place is. You know, after three years or so, I am accustomed to it. Terrible!

Today I took a photo, just one photo was all I could bear to take of one room. I want to do before and after shots. It is being developed now at the photo shop.

You and Celeste are really, really helping here. I am telling the psychiatrist about how much this has helped me. You two are WONDER GIRLS!!!! Honestly!!!!!

I was thinking of you in the supermarket when I chose the bacteria-resistant bags!!! I thought, now what would Jen buy??? It is nice to seal the bags...I have one sealed in the room and it doesn't smell at all, but what is inside does! Yuk!!! Ofcourse it will go out on the next trash day!

I am keeping at it, whenever I can, as I also work, so that can take up time.

Thank you again.

Kimmy

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Kimmy
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posted 05-24-2001 11:49 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oh Celeste,

By the way, forgot to say how SPOT ON you were about the perfectionist rearing up!!!! I am ignoring it, now! That was the first thing that came into my head and I was going, "Ohhh, but that isn't clean enough yet!!!" Also, the effort you have made in posting with such understanding and insight is so appreciated by me, you have no idea!!!!!!!!

You really know your stuff!

Thanks,

Kimmy

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jen1
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posted 05-25-2001 01:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jen1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Kimmy
If you didn't notice I changed my screen name, I tried to register it with jen but someone already has it so its jen1 now.

I am glad everything is going good with you so far. Well I wouldn't necessarily go for the antibacterial bags, because I haven't seen them here. But they can't hurt. I live in an apt so as soon as a trash bag is full I throw in dumpster. Also I get the trash bags with draw strings its convenient because you don't have to touch anything.
One thing that I like to do when I clean is play a tape that I made especially for cleaning. It has 80s music on it that just wants to make you move. Also I like to light candles (scented) kind of relaxing too. You got to do something so it's not so dreadful....lol

Well hope all is well. If you would like, you can email me at gwenev9638@aol.com I have another suggestion of another website that has lots and lots of suggestions and everyone is so helpful. And it is a little more active than this website. Although I do like this website too.

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Celeste
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posted 05-25-2001 10:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Celeste   Click Here to Email Celeste     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kimmy dear,

SUPER JOB!

You brought a big smile to my face, knowing you are succeeding, and that you are feeling so good. Wonderful! I�m very proud of you.

I can't speak for Jen, but I can tell you part of the reason I have insight: I've been where you are now. I can tell you what worked for me and what might work for you. I can tell you where I ran into problems and how I overcame them. And Kimmy, I DID overcome them. You will too. I can see that.

By the way, don't give Jen and I all the credit here. YOU are the one doing the work and I hope you are remembering that! The next time you walk past a mirror I want you to stop, look yourself in the eye and tell yourself �I just cleaned up debris that has been collecting for three years. I will never see it again. It is out of my life. I did it.� Stop and savor that moment! You are in control.

I like the before and after picture you took. It will provide ideal proof of what you have accomplished in your cleaning/organizing sessions. Something else I�ve used is what I call a �cleaning diary�. I write down what I�ve worked on for that day. After a while I can look back to see how a space has transformed from chaos to a warm and inviting living area. That is VERY helpful when I�m discouraged. If writing comes easily to you, you might want to try it.

Take care, dear. You are in my thoughts.

Celeste

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Kimmy
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posted 05-26-2001 04:21 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Jen 1 and Celeste,

Well, thank you again!!! I carefully read your posts!!! God, I got back the photo and I was pretty glad I only took ONE!!! Yikes!!! Talk about confronting!!!

It is so heartening to know that someone has been where I am now! I thought I was the only one in the world!!! But I wouldn't wish this on anyone!

Thank you!!!!!!!!!

Kimmy

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JacqueDeJunker
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posted 05-28-2001 10:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JacqueDeJunker   Click Here to Email JacqueDeJunker     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kimmy,
Many of us have been in your shoes, Celeste & Jen have had super ideas to get one off the dime.......sometimes it IS overwhelming.
I have used just 'looking thru the camera lens', not snapping a picture just to see what I didn't otherwise. The trashbag, get rid of the obvious is truly a great way to get started. I would add to set your timer on your stove for say 30-45 min. blocks...and take a refresher break, get a drink of water, look at your SUCCESS, before you move on. It's easy to get carried away on the perfectionist thing, the bell serves as a reminder that a break, is in order, and it's a good time to congratulate yourself on how far you've come. If it's one bag filled, or whatever. Hang in there!

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Kimmy
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posted 05-30-2001 01:27 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi JacqueDeJunker, Jen 1 and Celeste!!!

Thanks for your post Jacque! Just reading that a lot of people have had my problem makes me feel not so bad at all!!! Thank you for your advice there, too!!! I am so touched by the trouble people like you are taking to help me and encourage me!!! Yes, my photo did help a lot! Inspired me!!!!

God, I had a SERIOUS set-back, though, everyone!!! I checked my mail and had a letter re. a house inspection for six days' time!!! I was shivering and shaking and crying and going crazy from fear! There is no way six days would help me to get in order!!

So, I was up all night, trying to think up yet another excuse and the one I came up with worked like a breeze, so now I have calmed down and the inspection is for a few months' time!! But I know I will still be bolting the door from the inside, just in case they forget, but I am sure they won't.

But, God, did I have an anxiety attack! I thought, "Oh, God, just as I finally get help, this happens and I will have to post and say I was evicted!!! And how could I move anyway?!!! Ohhh!!!!"

Anyway, now I can continue on! I felt so lazy last night from the stress, not wanting to put the recycling bin out!!! But I did!!! I made myself!!! This morning it was empty and I can't wait to refill it again!!!

Thanks to all of you!! You are truly appreciated by me!!! I also bought another film for my camera, and this time, every room is getting a photo taken! I was so paranoid, I thought even the photography place would report me for having a mess!!! God!!!

OK, Back to my pigsty!!! BLESS YOU ALL!!! REALLY!!!

Kimmy x

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pigpen
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posted 05-30-2001 08:21 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Kimmy

This thread brings back memories for me, when I was at the stage you are now, I filled a 5 cubic metre dumpster! Now I have had a clean house for nearly two years, so it is definitely possible to turn things around.
I notice you've been going at it steadily for ten days, that's great! You are really making progress. Your posts sound really positive. And it's always so exciting to read posts from someone going through such a profound change. It's like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis.

Best wishes, Kimmy
from pigpen

P.S. I chose my username after the character in Peanuts. I identify with him so much! LOL

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Celeste
Member
posted 05-30-2001 12:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Celeste   Click Here to Email Celeste     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kimmy,

Wow, you're doing great! Have you remembered to take a picture of the newly cleaned area too? It is inspirational to put the before and after pictures side-by-side. The other aspect is that it may help with your landlord, proving that you really are working on it. Just a thought.

Take care, dear. We're all cheering for you.

Celeste

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Kimmy
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posted 06-01-2001 03:48 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Pigpen and Celeste!!

Thanks for your post, Pigpen!!! He eh!!! My sister is a mad Snoopy fan, so I know very well who you are!! He he!! I must be your twin!!! I am very slow at removing the rubbish, but I am still at it! Wow, congratulations on having a clean house for two years! GREAT!!!! You and Celeste give me such hope!!!! There is a way out!!!

Oh, yeah, great idea with the photos, should the landlord get in somehow, Celeste! I have taken a pic of my bathroom and laundry which are free of trash...the rest of the house is still full of it, but, hey, I laughed, because I got smart and dumped a couple of bags in the work dumpster so my bin could be filled from scratch!!!

I have a lot of other committments with work and other projects, so the removal of rubbish process hasn't been as fast as I would like, but it is diminishing slowly at least!

Kimmy xx

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tr
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posted 06-02-2001 03:41 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is the MOST inspirational thread I've seen on this site, and I usually don't read the "what's holding you back" topic board! That's because when I've clicked on this part of the board in the past, most of the responses I saw were along the line of "yeah, I know what you mean... here's my problem..." with no suggestions and just a downward spiral. It was so great to see these posts and responses back and forth and the progress being made! I'm putting you on my prayer list. GOOD LUCK!!!!!

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pigpen
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posted 06-02-2001 11:06 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hey, Kimmy!!

I have found PROOF you're not the only one! Check out these photos:
http://www.theplan.com/dmi/disp/dispframe.htm

If that didn't form a link, you can copy and paste it into your browser window. I haven't looked through every page on the site, so I'm not pushing the service or anything, but I thought you might like to see the photos. By the way, it's not my house, LOL ;-)
I think of you often throughout the day and I'm sending good energising vibes your way, lol!
Excellent news about the bathroom & laundry. I remember certain milestones, the main one was being able to sleep in my bed again once it wasn't piled high with junk (I had moved on to the sofa for over 6 months). Also seeing what the kitchen table looked like without anything on it - very unfamiliar sight!
It doesn't matter if you're not going as fast as you would like as long as you _keep on_ doing it and _don't give up_!! You're going in the right direction and it's better to go slowly but steadily than to rush at it and use up all your energy and quit cos you've exhausted yourself!

best wishes
from pigpen

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Lisa+3
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posted 06-02-2001 06:19 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dear Pigpen,
Your entries were so helpful. Also, I clicked on the link you suggested to Kimmy---what a hoot!

What motivated you to organize your house and keep it clean for two years? I KNOW what I ought to do, and desperately WANT to do, but can't get going.

All through my growing-up years, I was the most organized person. When I went away to college, the chaos began, and now it's become a lifestyle.

I think my perfectionism hinders my motivation. In addition, I'm extremely detailed.

I really, really want to re-claim control of my life.

Input from you, or anyone else, would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks,
Lisa+3

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pigpen
Member
posted 06-02-2001 10:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for pigpen   Click Here to Email pigpen     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I used to be a super messie to the point where we couldn't eat at the kitchen table because it was piled high with junk. I used to have to move cardboard boxes filled with more junk off my bed to go to sleep. Then in the morning I would have to pile them back on so there was room for me to get out of my bedroom. One night I was too tired to move the boxes so I decided to sleep on the living room sofa. Six months later I was still there.

Every day I would try to DO SOMETHING about my mess but my efforts were really ineffective - I would work all day but essentially just rearrange the mess. I read 2 of Sandra Felton's books (along with any other book on homemaking/organizing I could find) but they just didn't "sink in" right away.

During one of my rearranging sessions I decided to move my bed, took off all the boxes, gave it a shove - and it wouldn't budge. There was some big hidden forgotten treasure under there! Lifted the bed off, and there was a rolled up futon mattress I had stopped using probably a couple of years before. You know how futons are supposed to be aired regularly? Well this one had mildew growing all over it. Even worse, the mildew had even spread to the wall the bed had been up against! I will never forget the moment I stood there looking at that mildew on the futon and wall, and realised how low I had sunk. It was like a lightswitch had been turned on in my brain. I could look around the house and really "see" it. I could hardly believe I had let things get so bad. (Actually, there were plenty of other nasties in my house just a bad as the mildew, so I don't know why it was the mildew that finally made me see the way things were!) That night, after dark, I rolled the futon up in an old sheet and my daughter and I lugged it out of the house (it was kind of like trying to dispose of the body!).

First thing next morning I hired a dumpster - 5 cubic metres. It cost about $100 - it was exactly the amount I had in my bank account. Turned out to be the best money I ever spent. The man kindly hired it to me for a week - normal hire was 2 days - when I explained I was working on my own. For the next week I lugged out all the trash, broken furniture, newspapers, magazines, old clothing, mangled toys, things that might came in handy some day, things I was going to get repaired someday, and so on. I told the neighbors we were redecorating. When the dumpster arrived I thought it was so big I should have hired a smaller size, but over that week I filled the whole thing, right up till the last day I was cramming more stuff into every nook and cranny.

Every time I needed a break I sat down with a cup of coffee for 15 minutes and re-read my Sandra Felton books. She really helped my with my major problem - decision making. I kept reminding myself that maybe making a decision that later on would turn out not to be the 'best' one was still better than making no decision at all. Also, asking "What is the worst that could happen?" because I would always think "What if I need this someday?" even over the smallest, most worthless things. Then when you think about it, you realise you could probably get/buy/borrow a substitute IF you ever did need one. This helped me throw things out. Because I could always see a use for everything, even if I had no use for it personally, so I would keep it because it might "come in handy someday". Sandra's book told me that "keeper for the world" was too big a burden to bear. Also, her emphasis that everyone is a worthwhile person simply because they are and that one's worth is not tied up with one's homemaking skills was tremendously reassuring. But I didn't take too many breaks, I was too focussed on getting all this horrible junk out of the house. It helped to have the deadline of the dumpster being picked up.

I can really relate to the perfectionist thing. I was amazed to realise that it was perfectionist tendencies that were obstructing me, because to me a perfectionist would have a perfect house, right? Like the character Monica, in Friends. Whereas I am more like Pigpen from Peanuts, LOL. But I was definitely the "all of the way or none of the way" type. Unfortunately, mostly none of the way, LOL!

I've never gone back to being that messie again. I always have to fight my messie tendencies - I'm the kind of person who wants to kick my shoes off and relax when I get home with the groceries, just drop my clothes on the bathroom floor when I take a shower, or leave the dishes after dinner. But I remember that mildewed futon and MAKE myself put away the groceries, pick up my clothes, do the dishes, etc. I can't afford not to - for me I think it would be like an alcoholic taking a drink. I just don't want to go down that path again.

I'm sorry this post has been so long, but I can't emphasis enough how much this changed my life. It is really doggone TIRING keeping a secret about how super-duper-messie your house is, always being afraid that you will get found out. It is so wonderful to be able to welcome people into your home instead of pretending you're out. It is real freedom when your insides match your outsides!

pigpen

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Kimmy
unregistered
posted 06-03-2001 02:45 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi tr, Lisa +3 and Pigpen!!!

Wow, tr, that was a nice post...pray "hard" for me, won't you?!! I need it!!!

Oh God!!! The pictures on that site were just so good to look at...gulp...and so umm, comforting!!! God, Pigpen, that was so funny, yet I know it is not your house, cause it is MINE!!!! HHAHHAHA!! Really, like Lisa +3, it gave me a laugh...for once, I was laughing about it!!!! And that was strangely therapeutical!!!! To laugh at it, instead of, like Celeste pointed out, being so hard on myself!!! You know, seeing the pics of other messies, was a very useful exercise, for I saw "my mess" and the extent of it in the photos. What was very funny, was me looking at the photos and thinking, "Oh, God, they have two fans there, just throw one out". YET KIMMY HERSELF HAS BLOODY TEN OF EVERYTHING ALL OVER THE PLACE!!!! HHAHHAA!!! OH DEAR!!!!!

Lisa+3, I was the same in getting started, that perfection!!!! Pigpen's post hit the nail on the head and I really suggest taking her excellent advice. You can even use the perfectionism in a different way...e.g. when removing rubbish, I do it room by room, inch by inch across the room. A "perfect" method, but still getting the job done.

Hey, Pigpen, I sleep on the side of my second bed, after the sofa was covered in junk and my first bed was covered in junk!!! So, I got a great "laugh" out of your post!!! The futon story was so sad, yet I know I have just as mouldy or WORSE!!! Mouldy stuff in more places than one, as the ceiling leaks and yep, my $3000 sofa is a mould exhibit!!!

The last long post, Pigpen, was really exceptional....God, I was so close to tears reading that. It really touched me and I really am so damn happy for you to be where you are now!!! You bloody deserve it!! I love your humour and I tell you, those website pics were such a blast!!! I am still giggling and I feel they have done so much for me...to laugh at it after years of crying is so wonderful. Those photos of messies were so appropriate and help me to look at my place in the way I should be!! The only difference is that some of my rooms are "flatter" than the mounds they had (yet I have a few rooms like that!!!) and, terrible to say, my house is dirty on top of the mess.


Kimmy xx

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Kimmy
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posted 06-03-2001 03:07 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, in just 5 hours, the real estate would have been inspecting my house, had I not cancelled their intentions with my brilliant excuse. Soon I go home and stick the same old warnings on the front and back door, "Please remember...inspection cancelled...alarms on...please do not set off!" After re-reading ALL the posts here, I have resolved NEVER, EVER to have to do that again...as Pigpen said, the keeping secret your mess is the big energy-zapper!!!

I TRULY APPRECIATE EVERYONE WHO HAS TAKEN SUCH AN EFFORT IN POSTING AND I SHALL BE BACK WITH UPDATES. I AM STILL GIGGLING AT THE PICS OF THE MESSY HOUSES!!!! GOD!!! SOOOOO FUNNY, YET SO VERY, VERY SAD AT THE SAME TIME.

Kimmy xxx

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Kimmy
unregistered
posted 06-03-2001 03:19 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hey Pigpen and everyone!!

Found these two short written articles on living in squalor! Thought I would post them, as they may be relevant to anyone else who is in trouble like I am, though I must stress my animals are overfed, not starving!!!
http://www.timesofindia.com/120300/12hlth3.htm
http://www.caller.com/1999/june/21/today/national/2206.html

Kimmy xx

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Lisa+3
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posted 06-03-2001 05:37 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dear Pigpen,
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my plea for help. Your suggestions were helpful and your stories were humorous! I'm checking the library for Sandra Felton's books tomorrow.

My main obstacle is getting started; I feel overwhelmed. I need an "eye-opener" for a catalyst (humiliation hasn't worked), as there are no hidden futons waiting to be unearthed---just mounds of rubble piled or scattered in each room.

I cannot part with anything "useful." Oh, that's not entirely accurate: I don't mind donating, recycling, or selling, but cannot discard an item unless it's broken/damaged beyond repair.

For example, I'm celebrating the purchase of a paper shredder. Until recently, I would starch and iron all tired-looking gift wrap scraps floating around the house; I couldn't bear to just discard these old pieces of wrapping paper. Never mind the cost of the starch and electricity and the time and effort involved, I was determined to utilize every last scrap! Now I shred the old gift wrap and use it for packing material when mailing packages. I can cope with this new method, because I don't feel wasteful. One teenie victory!

How do I tackle the other clutter, especially books, magazines and mountains of ironing, when I don't know where to begin? Any suggestions?

Again, thank you so much for your response, Pigpen. I hope to hear from you again as time allows.

If anyone reading this missive can shed some light on creating motivation, I would certainly appreciate your comments.

Sincerely,
Lisa+3


quote:
Originally posted by pigpen:
I used to be a super messie to the point where we couldn't eat at the kitchen table because it was piled high with junk. I used to have to move cardboard boxes filled with more junk off my bed to go to sleep. Then in the morning I would have to pile them back on so there was room for me to get out of my bedroom. One night I was too tired to move the boxes so I decided to sleep on the living room sofa. Six months later I was still there.

Every day I would try to DO SOMETHING about my mess but my efforts were really ineffective - I would work all day but essentially just rearrange the mess. I read 2 of Sandra Felton's books (along with any other book on homemaking/organizing I could find) but they just didn't "sink in" right away.

During one of my rearranging sessions I decided to move my bed, took off all the boxes, gave it a shove - and it wouldn't budge. There was some big hidden forgotten treasure under there! Lifted the bed off, and there was a rolled up futon mattress I had stopped using probably a couple of years before. You know how futons are supposed to be aired regularly? Well this one had mildew growing all over it. Even worse, the mildew had even spread to the wall the bed had been up against! I will never forget the moment I stood there looking at that mildew on the futon and wall, and realised how low I had sunk. It was like a lightswitch had been turned on in my brain. I could look around the house and really "see" it. I could hardly believe I had let things get so bad. (Actually, there were plenty of other nasties in my house just a bad as the mildew, so I don't know why it was the mildew that finally made me see the way things were!) That night, after dark, I rolled the futon up in an old sheet and my daughter and I lugged it out of the house (it was kind of like trying to dispose of the body!).

First thing next morning I hired a dumpster - 5 cubic metres. It cost about $100 - it was exactly the amount I had in my bank account. Turned out to be the best money I ever spent. The man kindly hired it to me for a week - normal hire was 2 days - when I explained I was working on my own. For the next week I lugged out all the trash, broken furniture, newspapers, magazines, old clothing, mangled toys, things that might came in handy some day, things I was going to get repaired someday, and so on. I told the neighbors we were redecorating. When the dumpster arrived I thought it was so big I should have hired a smaller size, but over that week I filled the whole thing, right up till the last day I was cramming more stuff into every nook and cranny.

Every time I needed a break I sat down with a cup of coffee for 15 minutes and re-read my Sandra Felton books. She really helped my with my major problem - decision making. I kept reminding myself that maybe making a decision that later on would turn out not to be the 'best' one was still better than making no decision at all. Also, asking "What is the worst that could happen?" because I would always think "What if I need this someday?" even over the smallest, most worthless things. Then when you think about it, you realise you could probably get/buy/borrow a substitute IF you ever did need one. This helped me throw things out. Because I could always see a use for everything, even if I had no use for it personally, so I would keep it because it might "come in handy someday". Sandra's book told me that "keeper for the world" was too big a burden to bear. Also, her emphasis that everyone is a worthwhile person simply because they are and that one's worth is not tied up with one's homemaking skills was tremendously reassuring. But I didn't take too many breaks, I was too focussed on getting all this horrible junk out of the house. It helped to have the deadline of the dumpster being picked up.

I can really relate to the perfectionist thing. I was amazed to realise that it was perfectionist tendencies that were obstructing me, because to me a perfectionist would have a perfect house, right? Like the character Monica, in Friends. Whereas I am more like Pigpen from Peanuts, LOL. But I was definitely the "all of the way or none of the way" type. Unfortunately, mostly none of the way, LOL!

I've never gone back to being that messie again. I always have to fight my messie tendencies - I'm the kind of person who wants to kick my shoes off and relax when I get home with the groceries, just drop my clothes on the bathroom floor when I take a shower, or leave the dishes after dinner. But I remember that mildewed futon and MAKE myself put away the groceries, pick up my clothes, do the dishes, etc. I can't afford not to - for me I think it would be like an alcoholic taking a drink. I just don't want to go down that path again.

I'm sorry this post has been so long, but I can't emphasis enough how much this changed my life. It is really doggone TIRING keeping a secret about how super-duper-messie your house is, always being afraid that you will get found out. It is so wonderful to be able to welcome people into your home instead of pretending you're out. It is real freedom when your insides match your outsides!

pigpen


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Lisa+3
unregistered
posted 06-03-2001 06:14 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dear Kimmy,

Read the articles you recommended and nearly FOOMCL (fell out of my chair laughing) at the first story! Not that I don't have sympathy for the mentally ill, but I kept questioning myself, "And your excuse, Lisa, is...?"

It sounds as though you are making progress on your home---congratulations! I, too, am moving, and if I don't get my rear in gear I'm going to haul this junk with me! Arrrgggghhhhh!

While house-hunting in the Baltimore/D.C. area, we are residing in an apartment and I realize how enjoyable it is to live in a clutter-free abode. Naturally, I haven't sold our house in Jersey because it cannot be put on the market in its current state.

I'm disgusted with the insignificant progress I've made toward this transition. Time is running out, which is intensifying my feelings of urgency, but I still lack motivation.

I wish you well in your endeavors. Keep up the good work!

Sincerely,
Lisa+3


+3

quote:
Originally posted by Kimmy:
Hey Pigpen and everyone!!

Found these two short written articles on living in squalor! Thought I would post them, as they may be relevant to anyone else who is in trouble like I am, though I must stress my animals are overfed, not starving!!!
http://www.timesofindia.com/120300/12hlth3.htm
http://www.caller.com/1999/june/21/today/national/2206.html

Kimmy xx


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Kimmy
unregistered
posted 06-04-2001 02:27 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Lisa +3,

He he!!! I laughed at your comment about wondering what your excuse was!!! HA HA!!! Do not worry, I still think that about myself, yet I know I definitely have the mental illness happening!!! God!! Not good!! Especially when you feel so normal and yet you know something is so wrong!!!

I have piles of books and mags, too. Even if you just piled them in categories, like all cookbooks together and all National Enquirer's together, etc, then that is a start! Then, you could sell them on www.ebay.com as some people pay heaps for what we see as our problem we can't let go of, or you could just go through them, a few a day and then donate them to charity. ALL magazine articles are eventually reprinted in an updated form!!! Keep the ones really important to you and file them.

I think your problem sort of has a touch of the obsessive compulsive perfectionism!! Like me!!! I used to iron wrapping paper, too!!! I know you have stopped that, me too!!! God, I have stopped everything, haha!! But, what I realised is that it is more perfect to shred/throw the paper out, then to waste energy on ironing it!!! TIME AND MONEY are sometimes what prefectionists forget and they concentrate on the ACT OF DOING RITUALISTIC PERFECTION!!! But it is not perfection to do that all the time!!!

Another tactic is to pick up 100 objects per day. Once a thing is in your hand, DO NOT PUT IT DOWN until it is put in its correct place!!! I find the 100 rule to be helpful, because that fulfills the perfectionism urge! Slowly, you shall make progress...pick up the item from anywhere and do it.

Anyway, Lisa+3, WHO AM I TO TALK?!!!! HAHHAHA!!! But, geez, yeah, I am laughing so much at Pigpen's picture show. I thought that was so funny!!! He he!!! I want to post up some on my own later, for it will help people I think!!!

AND GOOD NEWS!!!!! The real estate did not come around and I have hidden my chaos yet again!!!!

I know it is so daunting, the situation you have, Lisa+3, and believe me, if I were in your country, I would come around and help you!!! We could do a swap, you do my jungle and I do yours!!!! Or we could look at doing them together!!! How much more effective we would be!!! Maybe play the role of someone else and try to detach from the emotional and do it that way!!! God, it is so hard, isn't it?!!!

Kimmy xx

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pigpen
Member
posted 06-04-2001 05:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for pigpen   Click Here to Email pigpen     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kimmy:
You bloody deserve it!!

You're right, Kimmy, I do bloody deserve it! AND YOU DO TOO !!!

It's good that you can laugh about it. I hope that means you are getting to a place where you can be kind and gentle to yourself. And, forgiving of yourself as well.

I haven't replied until now because I have been cleaning up my own little patch of 2nd degree squalor aka The Garage! (Roaming dogs got in there on Wednesday night, cos I didn't shut the door properly, and spread my garbage all over the place! Lesson learned: shut door properly every time, no matter how tired.)

I have so many thoughts from your posts and I wanted to arrange them all in perfect logical order and post the perfect reply post and then I realised I was falling back into bad perfectionist habits, so now you will just have to take them as they come, lol!

"Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order." -Anne Wilson Schaef

We must stop abusing ourselves! We don't expect other people to be perfect, yet we lay this unbearable burden upon ourselves. Perfection PARALYSES us.

Kimmy, you said "terrible to say, my house is dirty on top of the mess." Well, that's not terrible at all. In fact, it's only to be expected. Of course, it's dirty! There's too much stuff in it, LOL! No one could keep it clean and organized. It was a lot easier to keep my house clean once I had thrown out 5 cubic metres of stuff that was 95% landfill. Think about it. If you heard someone say to me, "Pigpen, we're going to assign you 400 square metres of landfill and we would like you to clean and organize it - without removing anything from it, mind you!", you'd probably think that was an impossible task. You would at least be feeling terribly, terribly sorry for me! And you'd be right! So do not do this to yourself! You deserve better.

Lisa, I don't know if the +3 in your username refers to 3 children, or 2 children + DH, or something completely different, but assuming you do have children (if not, just use your imagination!) - if you were in an accident and someone else had to move in and look after your children, would you tell them, Oh and BTW, don't forget to "starch and iron all tired-looking gift wrap scraps floating around the house"!! Nooo! You would be satisfied if they kept the kids fed and clothed and happy! Well, treat yourself AT LEAST as well as you would treat other people! (If not better, lol!!!) I am glad you have dropped that form of self-abuse.
The way that I look at it: Starching and ironing giftwrap would require an investment of time and energy way out of proportion to the pay off, in terms of improving the look of your home! You have to look for that magic 80/20 - the 80% of the improvement that's going to come from just 20% of your 8 page To Do List ( I just know you have one!!) You said, "How do I tackle the other clutter, especially books, magazines and mountains of ironing, when I don't know where to begin? Any suggestions?" I suggest you start with what's bugging you most, and since you mentioned books, magazines and ironing, start with those. BTW, I am posting some specific suggestions re clutter as per your request, in a separate post in the OFTIOAtHome forum.

It just amazes me that we do things to ourselves that we would never do to others, things that we would be jumping up and down having a blue fit if it was being done to our friends or family.

I think, in the end, it comes down to believing that we really do deserve to be treated well. And by ourselves, most of all.

love, pigpen

[This message has been edited by pigpen (edited 06-04-2001).]

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Celeste
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posted 06-04-2001 12:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Celeste   Click Here to Email Celeste     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by pigpen:
[QUOTE]It just amazes me that we do things to ourselves that we would never do to others, things that we would be jumping up and down having a blue fit if it was being done to our friends or family.

Pigpen,

Thank you SO much for all the wonderful posts you've been giving us. It is very helpful and inspiring.

I had to speak up on your last message regarding perfectionism. So many of us suffer from it, and I don't use the term "suffer" lightly. We have to give ourselves permission to lower our standards to make our lives mangagable. I thought your post did a nice job of putting it in perspective. Good analogy.

Keep writing! We need you.

Celeste


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Celeste
Member
posted 06-04-2001 01:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Celeste   Click Here to Email Celeste     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kimmy,

I was away for the weekend and just got back to read this message board.

I'm so impressed at all the progress you've made since we started trading messages. Have you taken a look? You've are much kinder to yourself and more hopeful (rightfully so -- you've already got two of your rooms CLEANED!). You have noticed that you need to distance yourself emotionally from the mess and learned how to do it with laughter. It was wonderful to see your suggestions for helping Lisa. They were good ones.

You've learned a lot in the last few weeks and your posts have shown it. You're doing a TERRIFIC job, Kimmy, and I hope you know how much we appreciate you.

Celeste

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jms
unregistered
posted 06-04-2001 09:57 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kimmy

It sounds like you are really facing this and doing a good job. I spent a day working with a friend who has similar issues letting things he thought were useful things go. If I could give you a word of advice, that if you listened to me would make a huge piece of your clutter dissappear. I know you are a good person who actualy cares about the envirnoment, and I want you to know that, I am probbaly the greenest person you will ever meet. I would like you to know that I will not judge you if you passed on recycling to get your house in order. Once you clear out the old magazines and papers, recycling won't really be a big deal. Throw it out, don't go through any of the stacks, thats a big timesuck. Even if the stacks have some value, sifting through them, will suck your time and zap your anti clutter efforts. Perhaps you could, fill your car up and drive it to the dump, and congradulate youselfe after each trip with a treat. From what I could see of my friend things he thought should go to good will, should really go to the dump. Wrapping paper, gone. If the answer is it would be ok if it were fixed, pitch it. Unworking appliences gone, furnurture you would not let a guest sit on, gone. I have been described as an eco-natzi at work for making people recycle, but there are times when you really should just let all the stuff go, and this sounds like that kind of time.

Good luck and keep us posted.

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Kimmy
unregistered
posted 06-05-2001 06:18 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dear jms, Celeste and Pigpen!!!

My God, Pigpen, you are so, so funny!!!! You make me laugh so much!!!! We all love your posts!!! I really read your latest one carefully and will be taking that one board, too. So true, I wouldn't treat my worst enemy like I do myself!!!! Your words have hit me on that one!!

Thanks for the lovely post, there, Celeste!!! Your encouragement does wonders for my self-esteem, really!!!

Oh, and jms, wow, that was something I had not thought of regarding the recycling!! You are right and I shall follow your advice for sure. God, so much I have never thought of that keeps me back!!


JUST A GENERAL UPDATE TO EVERYONE:

Well, went to the psychiatrist today again. My God, I had my list of latest traumas (I feel able to share with you now, that I was in the Police Force, which is why my life has gone sour...too honest for my own good amongst a bunch of rotten eggs!!! Long story!!) I told her about ALL of you and what you are doing for me!!!! I told her about Pigpen's piccy show and we both had a laugh!!! She says I have major depression and post traumatic stress syndrome.

Good news is, YES!!! OH MY GOD!! You are right at how far I have come...I SHOWED HER MY PHOTO!!! Holy ****!!!!! She immediately said I had to come every week now!!! He he!!! Yikes!!! But I am glad. I need it and YOU GUYS HERE, ALL OF YOU HAVE GIVEN ME SO MUCH STRENGTH TO FIGHT THIS AND SHOW HER THAT PICTURE!!!! Had I not shown her my own picture show, then I would not be getting more intense help, that I need. IT WAS THANKS TO YOU MAKING ME LAUGH ABOUT THIS, THAT I COULD DO SO AND I THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY MESSY HEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, I am so happy today!!! So much lighter and feel able to get into the trash with renewed vigour!!!

THANK YOU - I'll check back later in the week!!! Love you all,

Kimmy xxx

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Celeste
Member
posted 06-05-2001 01:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Celeste   Click Here to Email Celeste     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lisa+3:
...If anyone reading this missive can shed some light on creating motivation, I would certainly appreciate your comments.

Lisa (and everyone else),

Having read your posts carefully, I would like to suggest that your problem isn't lack of motivation. You obviously have several reasons why you don't like living the way you do and you want to change. I would suggest that the reason you hesitate is because the whole process seems overwhelming. Does that sound reasonable?

I'm a perfectionist too, so I know this stage REALLY well!

Please don't forget that this whole process really isn't about CLEANING. It is about rearranging your surroundings to give you access to what you love, and to make it easier to live your life the way you want.

Pick an area of your house or apartment that tends to bother you a little more than the rest. Pick something visible so that you can see the difference immediately. I suggest going with something small so that you get results in a short time, but the point is to find SOMETHING. If nothing particularly strikes you, I'd start with the bathroom. It is self-contained and small. Grab Julie's book and use it for a guide and go to work.

As you tackle this DON'T ask yourself what you have to clean, instead ask yourself what you have to do to the space to make yourself happy. If you find yourself getting too bogged down in details, write out a to-do list for future projects and prioritize it. What needs to be done right away? What can wait until later? Having the list reminds myself that I WILL do them, just at a later time. (I found it hard to ditch the guilt that comes with NOT doing things perfectly right away.) Feel free to drop projects if you decide you don't really need to do them.

You may find this bizarre, but once I started I found this FUN! Do things to make it fun: listen to music you like, share cleaning tasks with a friend and talk while you work, give yourself rewards, and stop to see what you are accomplishing along the way.

Sorry for the long post, but you sounded a little stuck. I hope this helps.

Celeste


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pigpen
Member
posted 06-05-2001 08:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for pigpen   Click Here to Email pigpen     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
WARNING!!! LONG-WINDED!!!!! AGAIN!!!!

Dear Kimmy,

Congratulations on opening up to your psychiatrist! It's good to be honest with her so she can better help you. (Let the poor woman know what she's got on her plate, LOL!) I am thrilled that you were so happy in your last post. I have been meaning to say to you, do not feel you will have to wait until you have cleaned up your house before you will deserve to be happy. Be happy right now. Enjoy the process of ridding yourself of that trash and junk. Every time you send another bagful out the door, bless it. Thank it for the purpose it has served in your life so far, because make no mistake, Kimmy, there had to be some payoff for keeping it all, or you wouldn't have done it. Then tell it, the new, happier, more hopeful Kimmy doesn't need it anymore, so you are sending it on its way, out of your life. And you will not be requiring its services anymore! LOL!
It is kind of like losing weight. I have read many people who were successful in losing weight say that while they were losing it, they kept looking forward to the day when they would be at their goal weight. And now they wished that they had also taken time to enjoy the process while it was happening. Because they only got to go through that process once. And it will be the same with you, Kimmy. You can't live in the future, nor change the past. So enjoy the present moment.

I think you have hit the nail on the head when you say: "so much I have never thought of that keeps me back!! " (and BTW, I agree with the not recycling bit). It is a matter of taking old, ineffective thoughts and replacing them with new, more helpful ones. And here is the 2 ways I use to recognise an unhelpful thought:

1. Anytime a thought leads to me feeling bad about myself
2. Anytime a thought leads me to inaction.

If I catch myself thinking these sorts of thoughts I say, "Hold on! That is the sort of thinking that LED me to my mess!! I need thoughts that help me to feel BETTER about myself! I need thoughts that lead me to ACTION! And, since I am in control of my thoughts, that is what I am darn well going to think!!! LOL!

Now, I want to thank you, Kimmy, for helping me. It was really brave of you to start this thread and I am so glad it has helped you. It will also help the lurkers, both those who are super-messies, and those who aren't, to have an understanding of us. And it has helped me, because, although I have learned to manage my messie-ness (I don't think I will ever be cured, lol), I haven't felt ready to talk to anybody about going through this process. I have felt quite alone in it. I don't have a mess to keep secret anymore, but my messie history is still a secret in "the real world". It will probably be a long time before I will be able to look someone in the eye and tell them what I was like. And a lot of people wouldn't understand. I go into other people's houses and they apologise for the "mess" because there are a few toys and some junk mail lying about and they haven't folded the laundry yet...and I think, "Boy! You ain't seen nothin' yet!" So it is a great relief for me to be able to come on the net and TALK to someone about it, someone like you who understands that you can get to a place where you cannot find your bed!

Thank you also to Celeste, for the kind and wise words in your wonderful posts. Pardon me, but I think your beautiful soul is showing!

love, pigpen

[This message has been edited by pigpen (edited 06-05-2001).]

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Lisa+3
unregistered
posted 06-05-2001 10:33 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dear Kimmy,

Oh m'gosh, I'm so relieved to learn I'm not the only one who ironed gift wrap! Thank you for sharing that tidbit, Kimmy! I finished shredding the remaining scraps of wrapping paper today (there were many pieces), and now have two large, fluffy bags of packing material! (My half-Siamese kitty, Phoebe, thinks these bags are her new pillows, so the shredded gift wrap may not remain fluffy for long!)

It was so very sweet of you to offer to help me organize. I wish I were able to help you, too. I have a hunch we would have a blast cleaning together!

Also, thank you for your insightful tips. You are correct about articles being updated and reprinted. I will keep this in mind when "purging."

You've been in my daily thoughts and prayers. Best wishes for continued progress, Kimmy.

Your friend,
Lisa+3

quote:
Originally posted by Kimmy:
Hi Lisa +3,

He he!!! I laughed at your comment about wondering what your excuse was!!! HA HA!!! Do not worry, I still think that about myself, yet I know I definitely have the mental illness happening!!! God!! Not good!! Especially when you feel so normal and yet you know something is so wrong!!!

I have piles of books and mags, too. Even if you just piled them in categories, like all cookbooks together and all National Enquirer's together, etc, then that is a start! Then, you could sell them on www.ebay.com as some people pay heaps for what we see as our problem we can't let go of, or you could just go through them, a few a day and then donate them to charity. ALL magazine articles are eventually reprinted in an updated form!!! Keep the ones really important to you and file them.

I think your problem sort of has a touch of the obsessive compulsive perfectionism!! Like me!!! I used to iron wrapping paper, too!!! I know you have stopped that, me too!!! God, I have stopped everything, haha!! But, what I realised is that it is more perfect to shred/throw the paper out, then to waste energy on ironing it!!! TIME AND MONEY are sometimes what prefectionists forget and they concentrate on the ACT OF DOING RITUALISTIC PERFECTION!!! But it is not perfection to do that all the time!!!

Another tactic is to pick up 100 objects per day. Once a thing is in your hand, DO NOT PUT IT DOWN until it is put in its correct place!!! I find the 100 rule to be helpful, because that fulfills the perfectionism urge! Slowly, you shall make progress...pick up the item from anywhere and do it.

Anyway, Lisa+3, WHO AM I TO TALK?!!!! HAHHAHA!!! But, geez, yeah, I am laughing so much at Pigpen's picture show. I thought that was so funny!!! He he!!! I want to post up some on my own later, for it will help people I think!!!

AND GOOD NEWS!!!!! The real estate did not come around and I have hidden my chaos yet again!!!!

I know it is so daunting, the situation you have, Lisa+3, and believe me, if I were in your country, I would come around and help you!!! We could do a swap, you do my jungle and I do yours!!!! Or we could look at doing them together!!! How much more effective we would be!!! Maybe play the role of someone else and try to detach from the emotional and do it that way!!! God, it is so hard, isn't it?!!!

Kimmy xx


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Lisa+3
unregistered
posted 06-05-2001 11:14 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dear Pigpen,

Anne Wilson Schaef is right---perfectionism IS self-abuse. I don't hold others to high standards, but find it impossible to let myself off the hook.

The "+3" in my username is for The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost. I only have one child (unfortunately), and a terrific husband---and you're right---if I were suddenly incapacitated, I wouldn't expect anyone to iron limp, wrinkly gift wrap! (You are hilarious, Pigpen, and I do appreciate your humorous viewpoint!)

Thank-you for the other suggestions as well. I'm beginning to alter my thinking: Organizing is gonna be fun!

You are a good friend, Pigpen, and I'm grateful for your insight.

Your friend,
Lisa+3


quote:
Originally posted by pigpen:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Kimmy:
[b]You bloody deserve it!!


You're right, Kimmy, I do bloody deserve it! AND YOU DO TOO !!!

It's good that you can laugh about it. I hope that means you are getting to a place where you can be kind and gentle to yourself. And, forgiving of yourself as well.

I haven't replied until now because I have been cleaning up my own little patch of 2nd degree squalor aka The Garage! (Roaming dogs got in there on Wednesday night, cos I didn't shut the door properly, and spread my garbage all over the place! Lesson learned: shut door properly every time, no matter how tired.)

I have so many thoughts from your posts and I wanted to arrange them all in perfect logical order and post the perfect reply post and then I realised I was falling back into bad perfectionist habits, so now you will just have to take them as they come, lol!

"Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order." -Anne Wilson Schaef

We must stop abusing ourselves! We don't expect other people to be perfect, yet we lay this unbearable burden upon ourselves. Perfection PARALYSES us.

Kimmy, you said "terrible to say, my house is dirty on top of the mess." Well, that's not terrible at all. In fact, it's only to be expected. Of course, it's dirty! There's too much stuff in it, LOL! No one could keep it clean and organized. It was a lot easier to keep my house clean once I had thrown out 5 cubic metres of stuff that was 95% landfill. Think about it. If you heard someone say to me, "Pigpen, we're going to assign you 400 square metres of landfill and we would like you to clean and organize it - without removing anything from it, mind you!", you'd probably think that was an impossible task. You would at least be feeling terribly, terribly sorry for me! And you'd be right! So do not do this to yourself! You deserve better.

Lisa, I don't know if the +3 in your username refers to 3 children, or 2 children + DH, or something completely different, but assuming you do have children (if not, just use your imagination!) - if you were in an accident and someone else had to move in and look after your children, would you tell them, Oh and BTW, don't forget to "starch and iron all tired-looking gift wrap scraps floating around the house"!! Nooo! You would be satisfied if they kept the kids fed and clothed and happy! Well, treat yourself AT LEAST as well as you would treat other people! (If not better, lol!!!) I am glad you have dropped that form of self-abuse.
The way that I look at it: Starching and ironing giftwrap would require an investment of time and energy way out of proportion to the pay off, in terms of improving the look of your home! You have to look for that magic 80/20 - the 80% of the improvement that's going to come from just 20% of your 8 page To Do List ( I just know you have one!!) You said, "How do I tackle the other clutter, especially books, magazines and mountains of ironing, when I don't know where to begin? Any suggestions?" I suggest you start with what's bugging you most, and since you mentioned books, magazines and ironing, start with those. BTW, I am posting some specific suggestions re clutter as per your request, in a separate post in the OFTIOAtHome forum.

It just amazes me that we do things to ourselves that we would never do to others, things that we would be jumping up and down having a blue fit if it was being done to our friends or family.

I think, in the end, it comes down to believing that we really do deserve to be treated well. And by ourselves, most of all.

love, pigpen

[This message has been edited by pigpen (edited 06-04-2001).][/B][/QUOTE]

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Lisa+3
unregistered
posted 06-06-2001 12:32 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dear Celeste,

Yes, yes, yes---that's it---I feel overwhelmed! If you could see my home, you'd understand why getting organized seems daunting! I have oodles of books and magazines that are stacked in almost every room, and piles of "miscellaneous" stuffed in corners.

Isn't perfectionism a pain in the derriere? It really helps when someone can identify with the pitfalls of this idiosyncrasy. Did you see the thought-provoking quote Pigpen forwarded? "Perfectionism is the highest form of self-abuse."-Anne Wilson Schaef

Okay, Celeste, I'm going to tackle the breakfastroom in Jersey. (The apartment in Maryland is immaculate.) I'll start in the corner where the empty Rubbermaid containers (for storing---surprise!---wrapping paper rolls) are stacked. This room, as you suggested, is a highly visible area. I'll keep you posted on the goings-on.

Oh, Celeste, please don't apologize for a lengthy post---I love hearing from you! You, Pigpen and Kimmy are so kind-hearted and compassionate to write with suggestions for overcoming this "albatross-'round-my-neck" syndrome! Please keep in touch as time allows.

Your friend,
Lisa+3


quote:
Originally posted by Celeste:
Lisa (and everyone else),

Having read your posts carefully, I would like to suggest that your problem isn't lack of motivation. You obviously have several reasons why you don't like living the way you do and you want to change. I would suggest that the reason you hesitate is because the whole process seems overwhelming. Does that sound reasonable?

I'm a perfectionist too, so I know this stage REALLY well!

Please don't forget that this whole process really isn't about CLEANING. It is about rearranging your surroundings to give you access to what you love, and to make it easier to live your life the way you want.

Pick an area of your house or apartment that tends to bother you a little more than the rest. Pick something visible so that you can see the difference immediately. I suggest going with something small so that you get results in a short time, but the point is to find SOMETHING. If nothing particularly strikes you, I'd start with the bathroom. It is self-contained and small. Grab Julie's book and use it for a guide and go to work.

As you tackle this DON'T ask yourself what you have to clean, instead ask yourself what you have to do to the space to make yourself happy. If you find yourself getting too bogged down in details, write out a to-do list for future projects and prioritize it. What needs to be done right away? What can wait until later? Having the list reminds myself that I WILL do them, just at a later time. (I found it hard to ditch the guilt that comes with NOT doing things perfectly right away.) Feel free to drop projects if you decide you don't really need to do them.

You may find this bizarre, but once I started I found this FUN! Do things to make it fun: listen to music you like, share cleaning tasks with a friend and talk while you work, give yourself rewards, and stop to see what you are accomplishing along the way.

Sorry for the long post, but you sounded a little stuck. I hope this helps.

Celeste


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pigpen
Member
posted 06-06-2001 04:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for pigpen   Click Here to Email pigpen     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kimmy, I have been thinking about what you said to Lisa earlier:
quote:
Originally posted by Kimmy:
I know it is so daunting, the situation you have, Lisa+3, and believe me, if I were in your country, I would come around and help you!!! We could do a swap, you do my jungle and I do yours!!!! Or we could look at doing them together!!! How much more effective we would be!!! Maybe play the role of someone else and try to detach from the emotional and do it that way!!! God, it is so hard, isn't it?!!!


That is so caring of you, Kimmy, to be thinking of helping others, and you're right about detaching from your mess. So here is my idea - instead of playing the role of some one else, pretend the mess is someone else's! Pretend it IS Lisa's mess you're cleaning up!! LOL!! Go stand outside your front door and say to yourself, "Here I am arriving at Lisa's house to clean up her mess because she needs my help." Then maybe you will be able to go inside and roll up your sleeves and get to work without the emotional attachment that makes it so hard. Like I said, it's just an idea and it may not work for you, but it is a little mental "game" I have used myself from time to time, when I am having a bad day messie-wise, and have left the house in a bit of a state...
On these days, when I come home, as I walk down the street, I pretend I have just won my house in a raffle! I have never seen it before, and whatever is inside is mine to do with as I please, but whatever I find in there is not my doing. Then I can walk in and go, "Tsk, tsk! What a state the previous owner left it in. Hmm, this is not good enough for me! Let's put this to rights!" You are probably laughing at me right now but it absolves me of the guilt for creating the mess!

love, pigpen

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Kimmy
unregistered
posted 06-08-2001 01:45 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hey everyone!!

Oh Pigpen, we all LOOOOVE you so much!!! I read your two posts so carefully and you just hit the nail on the head with the idea to BLESS the trash as it goes. That is my problem, it has surrounded me for three and more years and I think I am IN LOVE WITH IT!!! Yes, it was a shield from the outside world and I am afraid to let it go, for fear that all bad things will get to me without it protecting me like a cocoon!!! You are a bloody miracle, Pigpen!!!!! God, if ONLY you still had that mildewed futon for me to wrap myself in, I would feel better!!! He he! WHY OH WHY did you throw it out?!! HA HA!!

I also found it so sad...I didn't know you had no one to talk to about this, but I understand the total embarrassment factor!!! It IS so humiliating and a dark secret!! Hell, I'd rather tell someone I had killed someone I think!!! It's that bad!! But, like my doctor said to me, your REAL friends will accept it. True, JUST THAT THEY WON'T WANT TO EVER EAT AT YOUR HOUSE AGAIN!! HAHHHAHHAA!!! But, hey, I am glad I am somehow helping others here. You have ALL turned my suicidal tendencies into a place to come to and laugh and not feel SO ALONE IN THIS!!!!!! Hey, Pigpen, you have ALL of us here, that accept and know your past and LOVE you all the more for it, you are so funny!! I say THE REAL WORLD is missing out on your FANCY secret!!! Ha!! Yeah, we all want to guard you and keep you here for ourselves!!!!!

I also am taking on board the SOMEONE ELSE'S MESS fantasy!! My God, that is BRILLIANT!!!! Walk in as though you are organising someone else's place!!!! God, Pigpen, you are soooo good!!!! This is my main problem, the emotional attachment, my GRAND LOVE AFFAIR with my protective trash-lover!!!!!

I think we should give Lisa+3 (that was so nice about the Holy Trinity!!) a Wrapping Rolls Factory this Christmas!!! He he!! That was so funny about the wrapping roll thing!! I used to use my large ironing press and get it all perfectly straight and think how wonderfully perfect it looked!!! I thought I was so good!!!

Anyway, back to the house, but, hey, THIS TIME, it ain't MY house, it's one I won in the lottery and it has obviously some treasures and some trash, so that trash can go first, then I can select which treasures I want to keep for myself, and NO DOUBT I will find things I LOVE!!!!!

Bye for now!!! Kimmy xxx

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bettiepgirl
Member
posted 06-08-2001 12:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bettiepgirl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kimmy and friends,

I sat here last night and today reading through this thread. I just want to say to you ALL that I am darn proud of you! You are an inspiration as well as motivation!

Congratulations on the progress you are making and have made!

Luv,
Steph

------------------
I do not regret the things I've done, but those I did not do!

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