Clutter – although most people have a little clutter only 2 – 5% will have the debilitating form. Pathological hoarding (or Compulsive collecting), combined with an inability to discard these articles can cause severe problems. Filling an entire house in severe cases leading to risks from fire, poor sanitation, economic concerns, adverse effects on family and friends and other health concerns.
I come from a long line of hoarders. My father collected everything. In his entire life he had not thrown away one catalogue which had arrived in the mail. Luckily we had a huge house but it was a nightmare for my mother when she came to sell. Another of his many collections was the BIC biro. After cataloging when it started and finished and estimating how many writing hours it had done he would then reduce it to its components. The brass nib would go in on shoe box, the outer plastic case would go in another and the inner small tube would go in yet another. When asked why he did this he would reply “if there is ever a world’s shortage of brass I’ll be able to help out, you can never have enough pea shooters and who knows when you might need a small piece of tubing.”
I did not think that I had inherited this family trait ( I thought my husband was just a whingeing pom) and I like many with this disorder did not realise that I was afflicted. Not until I saw the television program “Hoarders” and recognised myself did I become aware that I was well on the way. I immediately made a huge effort to declutter – much to my husband’s delight. I now follow one golden rule –
Don’t buy anything without throwing something away.
Although you may not have this hoarding problem there is one area in everyone’s life that is prone to excessive clutter. Photographs.
Do you have photo albums galore, many shoe boxes full of photos that haven’t made it to the albums, tins of slides? I discovered on looking that many of my photos in albums were deteriorating and rusting. I decided to do something about it.
I am in the process of scanning all my photos into the computer. Putting them into folders named with the event. But can I find them when I want them? No, I can’t. Does anyone look at these thousands of photos on my computer? No, they don’t. Will they be safe and last forever on the computer? No they won’t.
The Solution – Cheese 123 or one of the numerous companies on the internet which sell photo books. I use Cheese 123 (Australia) because it downloads the software to your computer giving unlimited time to pick your best photos, arrange, put in text, choose page colours, photo frames and much more whilst not being connected to the internet. When completed a choice is given to post on disc or as I do download online. Approximately ten days later, voila, your quality photo book arrives.
You store it on the bookshelf (it takes up much less space than an album) or on the coffee table for everyone to see. I then put my folder of photos into an external hard drive which takes up much less space than a number of shoe boxes. If I could seriously declutter I would discard them but I just can’t bring myself to do it.
Thanks to Cheese 123 my clutter has significantly reduced without having that mental anguish of the throw out.