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Amazed and slightly shocked.

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Deleted because the original post was meant to highlight the Personal conflict between living a certain mindset and attempting to support others whose choices are difficult for me to understand.

Based on the responses (and I haven't been here for awhile so didn't enter the discussion), I have hit a nerve for some and offended some, not at all my intention. My intention was more to communicate how difficult it can be to support someone in their choices when they are so different from your own.

In any case. I apologize for any nerves I may have rubbed the wrong way.
Edited by canadiangranola - 7/21/12 at 11:40pm
post #2 of 16

Was she surprised to realize how old some of that stuff was?  I wonder if that much waste is more common than we think?   

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
She was somewhat embarrassed I think, and I tried really hard to applaud what're work she was doing by getting rid of so much stuff today and being willing to let it go.

What bothers me is a) the waste of it all (money, food, not to mention packaging)
B) the unconscious consumption mindset that people live in
C) realizing that this is the reality for so many people
D) seeing such waste, when we as a family try to live really frugally and responsibly, etc....

I even took the candy home so I could recycle the worst of the plastic packaging instead of just throwing it all away.

It is helpful to realize that if I were ever to try and do this on a semi professional basis, I would really have to emotionally guard myself against absorbing all of the energy of everyone else's stuff and bad habits.
post #4 of 16

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by canadiangranola View Post


It is helpful to realize that if I were ever to try and do this on a semi professional basis, I would really have to emotionally guard myself against absorbing all of the energy of everyone else's stuff and bad habits.

 

Yes, and since you'd be seeing it all the time I imagine it would start to change your perception of it all.  I like the show Consumed but I've often wondered what the people working on that show think about it all!  Not the lady who runs it all, but the packers and movers who do all the actual throwing out of stuff...

post #5 of 16

Honestly, I'm not sure if this is the career path for you. Having dealt with varying degrees of hoarding with the people in the my life, the last thing they want is to pay someone who is quietly judging them. In fact, in many cases that is their worst fear. Overbuying food is rarely a sign of laziness on checking whether or not they already have an item, there is often a lot more going on and it is a symptom of something much bigger. 

 

I think being a doula would be a much better idea. 

post #6 of 16

I wouldn't care.  So it feeds the compost.  And the candy was basically valueless from the moment it was created.  The less that gets eaten the better.  Wasting sugar doesn't cause me any guilt at all.  I drop the candy handouts into the trash regularly. 

 

I just don't see how any of it is that big of a deal. 

 

So you collected three grocery bags... That's only because she had a big storage space as it took her a very long time--years-- to collect that if quite a bit was expired.  How much is that really if you divide it up by the number of months?  Only three grocery bags and those taco chips are eight years old, so less than half a bag was accumulated per year.  It only looks like a lot because it was let to accumulate. 

 

How many of us end up throwing away leftovers nobody used or extra produce that went bad?  That's what a lot of my compost comes from and I am sure you could fill more than a bag or two a year with food that goes in there that technically I "should" have found a way to use. 

 

Like the poster above suggested, I would not want help from someone who was busy thinking I had such "bad habits" and negative energy they needed to guard against.

 

BTW often people "hoard" because they are trying to avoid waste or be frugal.  They keep things that they could get rid of because they think they will use them and it would be the opposite of frugal to get rid of something now and turn around and need to buy it later.  Sometimes it's because it was free and so it saves money to hold on to something you might otherwise buy later on.  Most of the accumulators I know are more like that.  Personally I have tended to salvage building materials or resusable lumber and store it for a very long time because the new materials are so wasteful and expensive.  So I have huge amounts of such supplies stacked in my basement.  I also keep damaged clothing to reuse the fabric.  I really do use it but it is annoying to store.  Your friend may stash extra food because it makes her feel more secure if there is extra food filling up the pantry, and if she is like me she may be glad to hide and forget about all the sugary candy and hope no one finds it and eats it.  Maybe she felt like even if it was really, really old, if there were a true food emergency then it would be good to have anyway as it is in fact still edible.  I personally find it very very easy to picture how quickly food would run out in a normal household if things shut down.  It would only take days of true scarcity and hunger to make 5 year old crackers look delicious. 

 

Just to say that you do not know why people do what they do--you are seeing it through your values and making assumptions that it is

 

 

post #7 of 16
I agree with some of the others. It's important to be able to look at the situation without placing judgement. If you do decide to go into professional organizing, I think it would be imperative to study what brings people to the point where they need help. Maybe it's just being overwhelmed. I'm convinced different people are wired differently when it comes to organization. But it's important to be understanding and realize that most people don't end up with clutter out of laziness or because they can't be bothered. There is something that led her there. I don't think being organized and clutter-free (or close) makes someone a good professional organizer. It's more about being able to see a person who isn't happy about the status quo and helping them feel at ease and open up so you can help them come up with a plan that will work for them. Maybe her issue is that she needs to see things and her pantry is too deep. Maybe she is coming out of a rough patch. Could be any number of things, but if she feels judged, she may not open up and it'll be harder to help.
post #8 of 16

It would likely be different working with some stranger than with a friend, as well.

post #9 of 16

I have just started doing precisely this for a side business. I don't sell myself as a organizer, more heavy on the decluttering side. I really love it! It actually feeds my soul to help people clear out and make space in their homes. Although not a hoarder myself, I did have waaaaaay too much stuff at one time and ALL of it came into my life with good intention. I love the way my home feels now with the room to breathe, my life is differant and I want to offer this to other people. I am workig with a friend right now, that is soooooo grateful everytime I come to help her and although we throw out much of what we discard, I now that it came ito her house and stayed because she had good intentions. I get so charged while working, the people I work for usually need to quit way before I do.

There is waiste.... but I know there will  be no matter what. I am hoping i my business to spread the good word of simplicity and minimalism and the positive effects this life style can have on individuals and the world.

 

Kathleen

post #10 of 16
> What bothers me is a) the waste of it all (money, food, not to
> mention packaging) B) the unconscious consumption mindset that
> people live in 
 
I think that you may be misunderstanding the mindset. If she didn't _over_ value her stuff, give it excessive respect, then I doubt that this stuff would have still been around. I don't know your friend, admittedly, but most of the hoarding types that I've known or known of would have had this stuff for reasons like:
 
1) "It's perfectly good - it's a sin to waste food even if it's a little past the expiration date."
 
and then
 
"But it might make us sick. We'd better not eat it."
 
Round and round and round. Even an organized household once in a while loses track of an item and lets it expire, but in that house that one item is tossed promptly. Hoarders are likely to keep expired items forever, so the pile up.
 
2) "I really need to clean out the pantry, but I'm not quite sure how to do it right. First I should get those entertaining dishes out so that I have more pantry space. But before I can do that, I need to clean out the laundry room to make room for those dishes. But before I can do that, I need to get all the laundry and mending done. But before..."
 
The hoarding-prone struggle to take any action unless every action has a perfect place in a perfect plan. Just digging into the pantry, tossing everything on the counter (if there's any space on the counter), identifying the near-expired to eat and expired to toss, and putting it all back, isn't perfect enough for them - they feel stupid that they spent some time and didn't make things perfect. When that happens, I suspect that their brains are calling them stupid, lazy, disorganized, worthless, a loser. Some of them got those voices from their parents. Some were born with them.
 
To content that brain, they need the perfect plan that will make sure the pantry is perfect forever. And that is impossible. And so the problem goes on.
 
So, your friend being willing to take an imperfect action? Fabulous. _Wonderful_. Throw a parade for her.
 
3) And at the grocery: "It's a great bargain! It would be a sin to waste money by not buying it."
 
The idea that they might get home and realize that, yes, they _did_ have a use for that multipack of chips at half price, is genuinely frightening to them, because it would mean that they made a mistake. I don't know exactly what monster the realization "I made am mistake" causes to form in a perfectionist's mind, but from the evidence of their beahvior, it's utterly terrifying to them.
 
> Ive thought of trying to start an organizing and cluttering
> business, but feel a bit like I might feel trying to be a doula
> at hospital births, if that makes sense. Trying to offer
> alternatives in a capitalistic, wasteful, hoarding society can be
> emotionally exhausting.
 
But the _start_ of enabling people to accept alternatives is to make the stuff less important, not more important. By condemning (yes, I understand, totally silently; I'm not saying you did anything bad) this person, you are IMO condemning them for the wrong thing. It's not that they don't respect that food; I'll bet you almost anything that the problem is that they respect it too much. They respect it too much when they see it in the store at a bargain price and feel obligated to buy too much of it. They respect it too much at home and they won't get rid of it. Throwing that food out is, dethroning the stuff, is, IMO, a _very_ good thing. 
 
Yes, the final good thing is to not buy it in the first place. But you can't take all the steps at once.
 
> She was somewhat embarrassed I think, and I tried really hard to
> applaud what're work she was doing by getting rid of so much
> stuff today and being willing to let it go.
 
And that was completely appropriate, because letting stuff go is an important part of the process and for her to do so was _great_. It's a step that she absolutely has to go through, before the steps that interest you more - the ones where she stops buying all that junk and makes her own iced tea and bakes her own cookies, for example. But she can't make tea and bake cookies until her kitchen is functional, right? And her kitchen won't be functional until she pushes Stuff off its throne.
 
Crayfish
post #11 of 16

Thanks everyone for the posters who explained the mindset. That's me - and I KNOW that I want to work with a professional organizer and not just a well-meaning friend. The perfect example of why.

 

Alas - I fear I'm falling into Crayfish's trap - I can't afford the professional organizer I selected right now - so I'm like - not doing anything. I wouldn't want to use the wrong person - some silently critical "friend."....

post #12 of 16
I think it's better that she threw it away rather than feeling compelled to consume it all. Maybe a lot of it was given to her and she didn't feel good about eating or serving all that processed crap.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by elsie View Post

Honestly, I'm not sure if this is the career path for you. Having dealt with varying degrees of hoarding with the people in the my life, the last thing they want is to pay someone who is quietly judging them. In fact, in many cases that is their worst fear. Overbuying food is rarely a sign of laziness on checking whether or not they already have an item, there is often a lot more going on and it is a symptom of something much bigger. 

 

I think being a doula would be a much better idea. 

 

yeahthat.gif

post #14 of 16

True confession: I recently found a box of generic Jell-O from when we lived in Texas. We lived in TX 3 years ago.

 

Even funnier-- we actually have a decent pantry (we move often) but somehow that just kept sneaking by-- guess because I saw Jell-O and didn't think twice about it.

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by litlwons View Post

I have just started doing precisely this for a side business. I don't sell myself as a organizer, more heavy on the decluttering side. I really love it! It actually feeds my soul to help people clear out and make space in their homes. Although not a hoarder myself, I did have waaaaaay too much stuff at one time and ALL of it came into my life with good intention. I love the way my home feels now with the room to breathe, my life is differant and I want to offer this to other people. I am workig with a friend right now, that is soooooo grateful everytime I come to help her and although we throw out much of what we discard, I now that it came ito her house and stayed because she had good intentions. I get so charged while working, the people I work for usually need to quit way before I do.

There is waiste.... but I know there will  be no matter what. I am hoping i my business to spread the good word of simplicity and minimalism and the positive effects this life style can have on individuals and the world.

 

Kathleen

 

I think you have a great attitude, and your emphasis on decluttering, rather than organizing, is just right.    And I like your point about good intentions. 

 

 

I identify with those descriptions of the thought process up there. Indecision paired with 'perfectionism' just makes for a horrible combination.  Nothing gets done. 

post #16 of 16

I've recently been cooking (& eating!) lasagne with lasagne sheets that were nearly 3 yrs out of date.

In my defence, I used to make lasagne often but suddenly DC refused to touch it so i gave up for a while.

Suddenly DD was begging me for it & the other DC & me+DH have all enjoyed it.  Yrs out of date or not. :)

 

I lurk on these minimalist threads because I'm fascinated but repelled.  I hoard a bit for frugal reasons, but I am also baffled by high order hoarders.

Am trying to become less attached to my stuff.

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