Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Hoarder at the Bottom of the Garden

I don't watch a lot of TV these days but one of my 'must see' shows is Thursday night's "The Hoarder Next Door" on Channel 4.

I don't watch it just to see if psychotherapist Stellios Kiossis (is that really his name? - sounds like a Harry Enfield character) can possibly get any more orange - it is a genuine fascination with these people who have taken the natural tendency of everyone to be a bit of a hoarder to such damaging extremes.

Recently, a housefire took the life a local lady. Although there were no outwardly visible signs, it transpired that she was an out of control hoarder. As well as hampering the rescue efforts of the fireservice, the hoard was almost certainly instrumental in the cause and spread of the conflagration that  killed her.

I would classify myself as  'de-clutterer' rather than  a 'hoarder' but of course, in order to have anything to de-clutter implies a basic underlying compulsion to hoard in the first place.

My husband would be the first to say that possessions weigh you down. As a young man, he was very happy to pack up his life in a backpack and head off to Greece without a plan. Opportunities presented themselves, he took them and ended up running a successful business in the Caribbean. Not bad for a man without a plan! Why then, when I entered his workshop to find a tool I needed, was I met with a sight that could easily have featured on my Thursday night's viewing.

In his defence, he has been saying for some time that his workshop needed a good sort out (understatement!!) but every time he tried to do it, he seemed to spend a lot of time taking things out then putting them back in. I always thought he was being gentlemanly and attentive whenever I said I needed something from the workshop and he would rush to get it for me. I now know it was driven more by shame and embarrassment.

After confronting him with the state of it, we tackled it together.

Loading up the back of the Galaxy

Sacks full of rock hard paintbrushes and mouse nibbled rollers

I am not going to say that it is now a neat, well organised work space but we did achieve a great deal by clearing out the rubbish (and there was A LOT) and taking it to the dump. We still have a lot of work to do to get it how we both want it but at least we can see the floor now! It is certainly going to make DIY jobs a lot easier to manage although I may find my 'chilvalrous' husband isn't quite so quick to bring me the things I need - I might just have to get used to getting them for myself!

Ready to organise

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