The smell of ammonia—a holdover from when the cat was sick—is the first thing I notice, before the dust seeps into my nostrils, making my eyes itch. The door doesn’t fully open, blocked by boxes in the entryway. The piles of craft projects, winter coats, and litter are pushing out from the walls, trying to escape outside. I have to turn sideways to get into the hallway, to the foot-and-a-half kept clear of debris so people can pass to the kitchen or living room. The dining room, with a hanging lamp and large oak table, was long ago lost entirely to the clutter.
There’s too much stuff. It’s disgusting. I hate it here.
But it’s home. Keep reading »
I have two big plastic bins of clothing I keep under my bed. One is full of off-season clothing, and the other is, I hate to say it, full of clothes that don’t fit. Most of those items are too small — clothes I’ve outgrown but hang on to in case I ever reach my goal weight again. Some of them are clothes I actually bought too small for me, hoping they’d fit “one day.” And there are even a few items that are too big for me now, but I hang on to them, thinking they might make great “maternity wear” eventually. According to a new study, this holding-on-to-clothes-that-don’t-fit behavior is totally normal. Researchers discovered that the average woman has 12 items of clothing in her wardrobe that don’t fit (my own figure is probably double that). Keep reading »
Have you been watching “Hoarders” on A&E? If you’re unfamiliar, each episode documents the lives of two of the estimated three million Americans who are so compulsive about accumulating crap of all kinds that they’ve lost the ability to function normally.
Until I was assigned this story, I didn’t watch it. I like crappy reality shows as much as the next lady, but this one didn’t appeal to me—I’d already lived it. Keep reading »
When my jeans start feeling tight I usually blame the dryer. And while I don’t believe the dryer is entirely to blame, at least I can comfort myself with the fact that I am not alone. According to a study by Weight Watchers, 72 percent of women own clothes that no longer fit them. In fact, the average gal has over $400 worth of threads in her closet that she’s just, well, too big for. Keep reading »
Last night was the premiere episode of my new favorite show ever — “Hoarders” on A&E. Similar to “Intervention” and “Obsessed,” “Hoarders” followed two stories of people with this OCD-related disease. Jennifer and Ron are both hoarders whose messy (ha!) ways are greatly impacting the home they have set up for their three children. Laundry, trash, and junk pack every inch of their house, causing the family to have to eat all of their meals in bed because there is nowhere to sit down or put their plates. But this couples pales in comparison to Jill, a Milwaukee woman who hoards everything and the kitchen sink, but primarily focuses her obsession on food. She’s got four refrigerators packed to the gills with spoiled, expired meat and dairy products, a pantry stocked with more couscous than your local grocery store, and, beneath all the other trash, rotting pumpkins and fruit everywhere.
It’s clear Jill suffers from a real mental illness and her recovery will be tough, but I couldn’t help but giggle at the enthusiasm the woman clearly has for food. “It was a very nice pumpkin when it was fresh,” she explains to the hoarding specialist, in reference to a barely recognizable squash. “The eggs were too pretty to eat!” she tells her sister about a container of eggs gifted to her TWO YEARS AGO. “Ohhhh! I didn’t know I had tamales!” she exclaims, after discovering a package of frozen tamales in the back of her freezer, behind a wall of disintegrating and rotting meat. Warning, this show might kill your appetite. Clip above. [A&E: Hoarders] Keep reading »
We all sort of gape in horror at the people on those home organization shows like HGTV’s “Mission: Organization” and TLC’s “Clean Sweep” but sometimes, the overcollection of stuff is no laughing matter. For some, the collection of stuff gets so out of control it becomes a legit compulsion and disease called hoarding. People can hoard stuff, food and even (sadly) animals. The new installation on the main floor of the Museum of Modern Art takes a closer look at one woman’s life as a compulsive hoarder—it’s a public viewing of her life-long collection. Keep reading »
In a study by Stanford researchers, when people were given the choice between an iPod and $100, most chose the money. But when they were given an iPod and asked whether they’d like to trade it for $100, they were more likely to keep the iPod. Clearly, the amount of money the iPod is worth wasn’t an issue, nor was how much the subjects liked the iPod, and researcher Brian Knutson calls this the endowment effect. Basically, when something is yours, you want to protect and keep it, even if you don’t really like it. This explains why I have a junk drawer of things I don’t really want or need — I haven’t evolved enough to stop hoarding. [LiveScience] Keep reading »