Sunday, September 20, 2015


apparently after 999 they
they stop counting
In the middle of all my research I've found a new type of hoarding.
Digital Hoarding, aka e-hoarding.
It's when your inbox, folders, pictures, or whatever digital media you can think of becomes as cluttered as the junk drawer in your kitchen, or worse.
I hate email because you get so much junk mail. Spam filters aren't perfect, no matter how good they are. And, all the social media? Good grief, it's giving me a headache thinking about it.

So, what's the deal with digital hoarding? Why should people worry about it?
From what I've read:
1. storage costs--personal and private. Someone has to pay for all these Clouds.
2. stress--having to look at and deal with all the stuff.
3. carbon footprint--who knew, right?

Hoarding is often a sign of other problems: anxiety and OCD especially.
For me it's an out of sight out of mind. My physical surroundings are in my face. I can stress over it. My email, digital files and pictures, they all live on tiny flash drives and clouds. So, I only have to stress for as long as it takes to read and reply to what I need.

But after reading the carbon footprint thing, I'm going to have to rethink this strategy. It makes sense, though, because technology has to be powered. It takes energy for this. And, storage plans for individuals and companies are not free. It takes effort to keep all this information safe and accessible.
I've gotten the wild idea to clean out inboxes and photos before, but I got frustrated sorting through so much. No sooner had I gotten rid  of one email when ten would pop up.
I gave up
And it all built up again. The most I've had is close to 5,000 emails. Sounded like a lot to me until I read of people having numbers like 25,000 in emails, ten of thousands of pictures. Wow!
Right now my big things are texts, pictures, and emails. I'm bad about not deleting any old things.
Maybe I'll have to consult an e-hoarder specialist.

So, my plan, should I be able to accomplish this is:
1. Daily look at email.
2. Figure out folders.
3. Delete any pictures I don't need.
4. Spend ten minutes at day doing this.
5. Don't get discouraged.

As adults, we worry about kids, but we should really take a lesson from the American Academy of Pediatrics  --adults need limited time as well, for our own health and well-being. We have to get over this idea that we have to be connected 24/7. Some think they're doing okay. Some look okay.
But, try turning off their devices, let the server go down, let rain knock out the DISH.
Then see what happens.

Are you a digital hoarder? What strategies do you have to organize your email, ebooks, and other digital media?

For more on e-hoarding:
Wikipedia--also has some good links to other sites.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Change Lessons from Hoarders

finished my stone walkway
In my last post I mentioned two favorite organizing people. The first is Donna Smallin Kuper.
Who's the other person? Matt Paxton
Hoarders anyone? It was the freakiest, coolest show. Aired on A&E, it chronicled the attempt to help hoarders when they were against the wall due to whatever—landlords, city ordinances, health, whoever. And the weird thing is, they weren’t all crazy cat people—though many had a few hundred cats. They were just people. Most were people who had bad stuff happen to trigger the hoarding.
Matt (and others) cleaned out their houses but the crew also helped sort their lives as well. They cleaned but the hoarder had to make the decision to let things go. It was the only way to break the cycle. 
I like Matt because he’s real. He knows what needing help is all about. He’s a good cleaner, but he's also got his own interesting story of addiction. As he alludes to, all he’s done is trade one addiction for another, but at least this one doesn't get his kneecaps broken intentionally.
Another sad lesson from this is many of the people who hoard have others in their lives—family and friends who suspected but didn’t jump in. Oh, that’s not an indictment. It’s just a comment. I always wondered “how did they let it get that far?”

So, what’s this all about?
I find it ironic that Matt’s who I wanted to post about on Wednesday and now I find myself on Sunday evening still trying to get this posted. I'm so far behind!
It’s about perseverance and fortitude to make the changes you want. It doesn’t matter how far you’ve gotten into the rut.  You can do it!
Change means sacrifice and letting go. On the show some people just couldn’t do it.  But some were able to change their homes and their lives.
So, even though I’m late, I’m still going to hang in there.  I’m still posting this.

Lessons from Matt and Hoarders
(don’t try to Google them—I’m making them up)
 1. Don't forget your friends and family--especially those who live alone.
 2. Be patient with yourself. Nobody's perfect and on time every time.
 3. We all need a little help from our friends sometimes.
 4. But sometimes we will be alone, no matter who we call.

cleaned out my truck--
does anybody know this pony?
5. In the end the decisions are ours alone.
 6. There are ordinances on the number of cats you can have.
 7. Nobody allows coyotes to be kept. (well, that was my discovery)

Lasting change takes time.
The two questions we have to ask ourselves:
1. Do I want to change?
2. What am I willing to let go of for it?

p.s.--my house is not a hoarder house, but Clean Sweep would have fun in it.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Action! Listening to the Voice(s)

In the first few posts I was thinking about why I want to clean. What's the point of home organization? I'm single. I should be out doing stuff. (I guess if I want friends over....)
I could expound on all the touchy-feely stuff until the cows come home but I still won't be where I want to be and I'll have cows in my yard.  Plus, I'm bored with that right now.
Here's my plan for actually organizing. I don't remember what words I used.
Home discovery. That's right.
the  jar is in  the center
Wow, don't I sound pretentious?
So, anyway--Action, yeah.

My Home Discovery Plan.
I gave my rooms spiffy names and wrote them on some paper. Then I put them in a jar.
Each day I'll pull a name out and work on that room for one hour. It doesn't have to be a full one hour at a time. It can be broken into intervals, especially since some days I don't have a whole hour time block, but lots of 5 or 10 minutes here and there.
Some people like to go room by room. I thought about that. But, I get bored easily. So I thought this way I can work with my self-proclaimed ADHD and not have to focus for long in one spot.
(I know it's not really ADHD, but it sounds as important as Home Discovery!)
My plan for this mission is to post on Sundays and Wednesdays. I won't give the boring low-down, but just update everyone on my progress.

If I can, I'll find a link to some other cool cleaning or organizing site or some touchy-feely kind of something.
Today's link will be brought to you by one of my two favorite organizing people: Donna Smallin Kuper at DeClutter Your Life . Check out her books and her blog. I love this month's unclutter tips, but going through the history is so worth it, too.

Recently I think Donna has taken up residence in my head. When I want to buy something she says "Do you really need that? Are you really going to use that?"  Sometimes I just say What Would Donna Do?
Yesterday apparently she would put back two writing magazines, three books on creativity and --irony--organizing, two Dr. Who comics, and a Sandman Graphic Novel. The last killed me because it was a special edition.
But Voice Donna said "Don't you have that one already? In fact, don't you have them all?"
I left Books-A-Million without so much as a coffee.
You're killing me, Donna! 

So, today's room was the Wild and Sunny Room. (Aka--the dining room) I was surprised that I found enough things to do that it took me a whole 57 minutes to finish straightening it. This worries me since that's my smallest space! Had to go through lots of papers on the table, but there's more than one place in my house that's got lots of papers. EEEK!

If you're reading this, any thoughts on organizing for those who don't have much time and nobody to delegate to? Any favorite decluttering sites?