Two shows I always seem to end up catching on TV are Obsessed and Hoarders. Probably stemming from my desire to understand the human mind and why people think the way they do, these rope me in.
Hoarders follows the lives of people who excessively keep objects regardless of how unsanitary or worthless they are. They normally explain their collections through attachments to their ‘treasures’ or believing it will have a use in the indefinite future, many believe they can mend the items and pass them on to someone who will find them useful. The hoarders house becomes cluttered, impairing mobility and their house/apartment almost becomes like a prison both physically and mental.
It’s one of those programs where every week I can’t believe what I see. And as the focus bounces between different hoarders the conditions they live in seem to get more extreme, where you start to question ‘How can people live like that?’. One week a woman is hoarding food and she has containers of putrid liquid she is dubious about throwing away, in another home layers of debris have built up and poor dead squashed cats are found underneath the rubbish and possibly one of the worst ones – a lady couldn’t dispose of her faeces, leaving them hanging round the place in bags and eating through the floor whilst she slept in one chair among all her junk. Unbelievable.
I’m not a complete neat freak, but I love it when the apartment is tidy as it makes it more airy and nice to be in. I’m a firm believer in a house being a sanctuary and if a few days go by and my desk or the bedroom floor starts to look a bit cluttered it’s about time to suck it up and tidy. Better that than being confronted by a messy mess every time you open the door. I remember moving into a shared student house and the previous occupants had left the kitchen in a whirlwind of filth – a sticky kitchen floor (maybe ectoplasm who knows?), worktops and an oven I wouldn’t even cook or cut food on unless I wanted a terrific dose of E. Coli and, this makes me shiver just typing it, about a mile of coarse hair stuck down the shower drain. That wasn’t fun to deal with, in the slightest. I couldn’t help but wonder how it got like that in the first place.
I think in many ways every one is a hoarder on a minor scale. We all have those things we keep as they’re precious to us but questionably so to others. My big weaknesses are stationary, books and magazines and anything of sentimental value – letters, cards and photos. I have too much heart to throw a teddy bear away. Though I hasten to add, not on a crazy scale that I’m sleeping on a patch of tiled floor in the hallway, actually most of my stuff remains in (many, many) cardboard boxes on English soil and it’ll be a lot of fun rediscovering it and finding little thing I had forgotten were mine.
Something interesting I found out about was the term ‘digital hoarding’. Collecting files, images and websites for later use? Don’t we all do that? Seeing as I can’t imagine it overspilling into real life and prevent me functioning as a normal human being I will not be calling in the professional organisers…just yet. Something I’m guilty of is giving files and photos meaningless names that I will never be able to specifically recover exactly what I’m looking for without poking around in various folders. I often forget just how much I have, just like a hoarder!
(edit: Sorry for lateness getting my post off paper and onto this here electronic journal, David stealing laptop for dSLR software. We fought and he won, but failed to sabotage my challenge).