28 March 2008

baby steps

I pretty much blame Donna for my current foul mood. Yesterday she wrote a post containing a link to a quiz on Oprah.com called the "Hoarder Severity Scale". At first I said I wouldn't take it as it would probably upset me.. well I was right. I DID take it and the results basically indicate that I do have a MODERATE problem in acquiring and difficulty discarding... Ok, YES I knew that but having this third party thing confirm it made it hit home, hard. So last night and today I spent a majority of my time (no not throwing stuff out) but worrying. Worrying how I was going to tackle this huge issue, worrying about how I was going to actually get rid of stuff. I can't stand to just throw away good stuff but then its hard to discard certain stuff. Like, I have piles of Somerset magazines.. they are still GOOD and full of inspiration but since they are past a year old the thrift store won't take them. What to do? it will kill me to just toss them. Holly said to try to sell them on Etsy, so I may just do lots of them for cheap, I want them to go to a good home but not necessarily make a profit ya know?

Ok, so obviously I am talking about it. Admitting you have a problem is the first step, right? I guess now I feel more accountable because someone reading this blog might email me in a couple of months and say, "Hey how is that clutter problem going?" It'd be pretty embarrassing to say that nothing has changed. But HOW? I can't afford to hire an organizer.. I get paralyzed at the thought of tackling even one room. I walk by the same stuff every day, thinking, I need to get rid of that but the magazines are still in a pile on my floor, the shoes that don't fit are still peeking out from under my bed and there are toys everywhere. This is where Donna steps back in. We have agreed to support each other through baby steps to tackling our collective clutter and try to finish up those pesky half done little things that are in our homes. I hope I can do this. I know if I can succeed at this it will lead to other things I worry about and need to tackle.. but for now, baby steps....


  1. holly abston3/28/08, 10:04 PM

    hey Heather... you can totally do this! A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, right? Is there a 12 step program for people like us? LOL xoxo

  2. Oh thankk goodness I didn't take the test!!!How depressing the result would be

  3. I could NEVER get rid of my Somersets. I read them before bed every night! (I fall asleep and then Ray takes my glasses off and puts them and the magazine on the shelf)(every night)It helps me dream of art.....
    I'm lucky enough to have moved every year or two for the past 20 years. It makes you re-evaluate your stuff. I'm still moving tons of stuff next month. it's less stressful than getting rid of it..... As long as it's not a fire hazard, I say keep it (okay, yes, I'm an enabler)

  4. I have Somersets going all the way back to DAY ONE! I took that quiz Donna posted on her blog too and I had some higher numbers than her! Yikes! I never thought about selling my excess on etsy...good idea! But I think Martha has the right idea....moving frequently does cut down on the clutter problem. Good luck and keep us posted on your mission!

  5. Heather, if you want to make sure they go to a good home why don't you do some blog giveaways?? There are tons of women out there who can't get to those magazines, but would probably love to own one. Plus, they would get to own something that once belonged to the fabulous Heather Bluhm-Simpson (aka Goddess of Hosting Swaps).

  6. Heather, when SS issues are more than a year old, I tear out the parts I want to keep and put them in sleeves in a binder. I recycle the rest of the mag.

    If it's a special issue or an issue that I was published it, I keep it whole. This cuts down on the magaze hoarding.

  7. OKAY!!!!!!! GET A GRIP! I promise I am thinking really hard about a good solution for magazine storage. About 2 years ago I sold a bunch of Stampington's magazines in lots on ebay. Got almost $200 for them. Probably 7 or 8 lots of 5 magazines each. Something like that. I PROMISE I have never stopped regretting it. It's the only thing I've ever sold that I regret. We've just got to deal with getting it all under control. I have started throwing away Country Living. Although I can't do it if they are under a year old which is silly. I need to rip the pages I like and put them in a folder. I don't throw away Romantic Homes or Mary Engelbreight. Should, I guess. Do the rip out thing. Interestingly, I threw away 4 "O" magazines yesterday. LOL. I know most of us are hoarders, but I think the question is.....oh, I should just do a blog post about this. I will. First, I'll go watch the Oprah hoarding show (or shows) before they roll off my DVR.

  8. I just read Lelainia's comment and that's a good idea. We should probably do that. I'm getting a little keyed up thinking about it. Feeling that "severe distress."

  9. Yikes - test to avoid. Me, I have been trying to organize for the last year (trying is the word) with a great friend. We split a set of "fairies" who motivate us, lol - we know for sure when we don't "have them".
    Now on the positive side a great artist friend of my parents walked into my workroom once and her comment was "what a great creative space" so I always think those organizers don't quite get us, you know?
    However, being organized enough to USE what you have is important also. And UFOs - ah I have learned that after a decade I can either "release" them or finish them - something about that time works. (UFO - Unfinished Object)

  10. Relax, friend. I've been to your house and it's really not that bad. You have an artist space and an artist way of looking at things. This means you value your things and isn't that the way it should be? Who wouldn't love to have evidence of friendship and love all around their house in the form of gifts and swaps? You live in a small home so of course stuff piles up quickly but you also keep a CLEAN home- you don't have piles of trash every where and a kitchen full of dirty dishes, ya know what I mean? I really think there is a difference between a hoarder and a collector. I think your issue mainly has to do with space and organization. Be realistic and set easy to accomplish goals for yourself. If you haven't worn it in a year, donate it. If H hasn't played with it in 6 months, donate it. Etc. Don't buy any more craft supplies (other than adhesive) for the next 6 months. Challenge yourself to use what you have. I like the binder idea for magazines or do the blog giveaway or "blog sale" of crafty goodness. Don't STRESS about it. Try to let the process be a cleansing one.

    And trust me, you're in good company. Moving does NOT help.. I just seem to cart the same boxes of shit from house to house and never fully get moved in. But, I'm a whole 'nother story. ;)

  11. Just know you are not alone;)


  12. Well, now that we are all airing our dirty laundry so to speak. I will admit it too. I have seriously been having trouble with this for the past year or so. When I show pretty organized photos, they are done very strategically. I won't even tell you what my score on that test was. I have actually really been having some problems with this and it is affecting my life in all sorts of ways.
    Yesterday I tackled our kitchen..and I mean I scrubbed it, threw out junk, etc. Still need to do the fridge. But just that amount made me feel so much better.
    It's really sad, I have a huge studio space, wonderful things, but I can't even use it because I can't get it all organized! My shipping area is good, but the rest? It's just a path!!
    I cried watching the video of the lady on the oprah website. Then I made Loren watch it, telling him I was going to end up just like that.
    Sheesh, and we were having a happy day here! LOL
    It really is sad...do you know, I receive packages almost every day? Yep. I really do have a problem.
    I hope you figure it out, then maybe you can tell me. :0)
    ~Cerri xo

  13. find a different thrift store! most thrift stores take magazines older than a year old - so maybe you just need to find a different place. or drop them off at a hospital waiting room, a doctor's office, a woman's shelter, etc. don't feel bad about yourself in this journey - just take action and know that you aren't alone in "possessions". adopting bring something in new, old with something old is very helpful! take old linens, blankets, towels, sheets, etc. to animal shelters. it's easy once you start!
    good luck,

  14. Heather ~ I've been on this journey too! A couple years ago, I still had every issue of Country Living, Country Home and several others. Boxes and boxes of really heavy magazines! (among other large 'collections'!) I started by going through every single magazine and tearing out the things I liked. Then I sent what was left of them to the recycling center. Now, two years later, I have one large storage container of pages. I'm slowly organizing them into categories and discarding the ones of things I don't like as well. Slowly the pile decreases and one day, it will hopefully all fit into a dozen notebooks.

    I've also been going through my house and storage locker with the goal of getting rid of the storage locker. Having my sister provide a non-emotional eye to whether I should keep or get rid of things, basically playing Devil's advocate, has really helped. I've gone from a packed tight and high 10x30 locker to a 10x10 loosely low packed one!

    One of my the things that has helped me is that if I'm undecided about something, I box it up and keep it for 6 months to a year. If in that time, I haven't had to go get it out, then I know I can safely get rid of it and won't regret it later.

    Keep up the hope and don't give up! It really can happen!

    Lisa / IvoryBlushRoses

  15. Getting rid of stuff is so freeing. Don't look at the big picture, just choose a shelf or drawer or cupboard at a time, too much is overwhelming. I sold a lot of magazines on Ebay too and did well.
    I have always torn out pages of other magazines and kept them in a folder. It's interesting to go through a couple of years later to find the things that were heart stopping once, just seem slightly interesting later! These are then tossed to make room for new pages. Love your journal!

  16. Oprah bores me.