After many years living in a house cluttered by hoarding, I'm finally taking a stand to clean my house. Welcome.

Day 23: Attack of the Guest Room

Posted: September 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Daily Updates | 22 Comments »

At the end of each day, I post a recap of what happened and what progress I made. I try to be as detailed as possible when tracking the project. Here’s what happened today…

I’m several days behind on this post. It looks like procrastination has found its way back into my routine… or lack thereof.

I recently read a tweet that described clutter as simply a delayed decision. The statement blew my mind; it’s 100% accurate and explains so many things about my life and my own habits, like how I was voted “Biggest Procrastinator” in high school.

To procrastinate on this post and to not get as much progress cleaning as I’d like, I fear that I’m backsliding. This project is supposed to be all about confronting demons head-on, but I feel like I’m slowly feeling lazier and lazier by the day. I don’t know if this is actually the case, it’s just a feeling I have.

I gotta keep it together…

Today’s Stats:

Number of hours spent: 10
Supplies purchased: None
Amount spent: $0
Number of (13-gallon kitchen) bags trashed: 1
Number of giveaway boxes: 12
Number of (33-gallon) giveaway bags:  0

Progress:

Wednesday and Thursday got lumped into one workday this week because the guest room is kicking my ass. I’m not talking about how difficult it is to sort through the stuff in there, although that is quite difficult. I’m talking about how this room has some combination of dust, mold (I imagine), lighting, and magical powers that make my eyes itch, my muscles and throat sore, my nose to be all congested and run like a faucet, and my head feel like it wants to explode. I’ve never sneezed so much in my life.

Late Wednesday evening, I had to stop what I was doing every five minutes to remove my gloves, find a tissue and blow my nose or sneeze. When I woke up Thursday I had a lump in my throat, the first sign that I was actually getting sick. I probably put in only one or two hours of work in the guest room that day because I was feeling extremely weak.

I’m convinced that the guest room is not happy that I’ve rearranged things in there. The house is using biological warfare to retaliate. [And it is definitely NOT the change in weather or dust and pollen in the air. It just can't be. :p] You may have won this time guest room but I’m coming after you. Just you wait.

Most of the work I did on Wednesday involved clearing out the guest room closet. As I mentioned before, one of the racks that held all of the clothes broke, so we’re either going to fix it, or completely re-do the organization system and shelving in the closet.

Here’s the comparison pictures:

And a closer look:

I completely emptied the closet. Most of it went into the storage unit for giveaway. We’re keeping a few of the stuff that was in there, like a few of the collectible Barbies.

Here is what the guest room looked like on Wednesday morning:

And here’s that same area Thursday afternoon:

Can you see now why I feel so defeated? It looks like I didn’t do anything. It’s true that I didn’t do much, but still. What the heck did I do?

Then I look at the storage unit and see that I’ve added twelve boxes in a single day (including a really huge one filled with all the porcelain dolls), and I don’t feel so bad.

Right now I’ve still got a bit of congestion and a runny nose. My throat is also a little sore. For Day 24 I’ve gotta take it easy, not feel so discouraged, and JUST DO IT.


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22 Comments on “Day 23: Attack of the Guest Room”

  1. 1 lux said at 4:29 pm on September 19th, 2010:

    How about investing in a breathing mask (like the ones people were wearing to fight the flu) to block some of that crap from getting into your system?

    [Reply]

    Dariane Reply:

    I actually use breathing masks whenever I work. :/ Looks like I gotta invest in some high-quality respiratory masks.

    [Reply]

  2. 2 gretchen said at 6:11 pm on September 19th, 2010:

    don’t get discouraged or feel lazy. It didn’t happen overnight and it won’t get better overnight. You are probably experienceing what others call “burnout”!! find something to work on that will be easier for a day-soemthing that might show more progress or feel more encouraging.

    [Reply]

    Dariane Reply:

    *sigh* I feel like I’m “burnt-out” over and over again with this project. Gotta take it slow but sure. Thanks for your comment! :]

    [Reply]

  3. 3 Brandy said at 6:33 pm on September 19th, 2010:

    I would recommend NOT fixing the clothes rail in that closet! Clothes seem to make up most of the clutter in your house, and having that nice empty closet is just a temptation to your family to hang things in it rather than getting rid of any clothes they already have.

    And I totally agree about procrastination being a decision deferred. I’m a willful procrastinator. I have time and COULD do the work, but I keep putting it off, so there. And I DO try to NOT create more clutter by deciding right away with any new item I bring in, as well as deciding to NOT bring in new items many times!

    You might try a Neti pot or other sinus rinsing item to get all the icky dust out of there. Or maybe spray Febreeze to help settle some of the tiny particles and reduce the allergens in the air? And drink a LOT of water! Please stay well!

    [Reply]

    Dariane Reply:

    Thanks for the tip on the sinus rinsing stuff. I’ve been drinking TONS of water.

    I agree, I don’t think I’ll actually fix the railings or install a brand new closet organizing system until after the entire house is mostly clean. The thing is, clear space is clear space… that may can get filled up regardless of railings. :/

    And it is one thing to buy a lot of a certain item (e.g., 15 cases of soda at once), but it’s another thing to buy a nail clipper, lose it in the mess then have to buy another one. Neither is good.

    [Reply]

  4. 4 Leah said at 12:55 am on September 20th, 2010:

    I think you need a mask too, mold is so dangerous, dust very irritating.

    12 boxes is an awesome amount of stuff!!

    [Reply]

    Dariane Reply:

    Thanks Leah! I’ve been working with a mask since day one, so I’m a little annoyed. Going to upgrade to a better mask.

    [Reply]

  5. 5 Ruth said at 2:47 am on September 20th, 2010:

    Hey, I see where your progress is — an empty closet! That’s awesome.

    Be kind to yourself until you start feeling better. I’ve been sick for over a month and my bug started exactly like you describe yours (except I also lost my voice). So the dust and mold could have weakened you but may not be the entire cause of you getting sick.

    I say think about the configuration of the closet for a bit before you change it. As you proceed, you will know better what you want to put in there.

    [Reply]

    Dariane Reply:

    Thanks Ruth. I’m sorry you got sick and lost your voice. I hope you’re feeling better now. (Did you get that sexy raspy voice while you were sick? I think that’s my favorite part. :p)

    As far as the closet configuration, since we’re thinking of turning it into my sister’s bedroom, I think we’ll get her say in all of the organization also. She’s smart AND organized. :]

    [Reply]

  6. 6 Jo said at 7:41 am on September 20th, 2010:

    I am proud of you for what you are doing. I, too, am in that situation. Not only am I disabled, but I have been hoarding for quite some time (many years). To top it off, I was paying for a storage room packed to the edge, and could no longer afford to do, so .. it had to come home. Now I have two bedrooms and part of the kitchen with tubs and tubs and tubs of “stuff”. The closets were already full. My office is unreal .. it’s not my office right now. I am using the dining room table for writing.

    I watch “Hoarding” and “Clean House” on TV and cry, as I know what they are going through and it hits home. Turning loose of some things is a real problem, but I am conquering it. But things like – I have three dining room tables – well, there’s one of my problems right there.

    I have been posting things on Craig’s List, but the going is slow. I am unable to have a yard sale (limit two a year in my city), but my disability keeps me from that overwhelming task. I am willing to let go of things, but I need the money and need to sell it, not throw it away.

    I am taking it day by day, little by little, and will keep up with your posting. You are inspiring and maybe I can get more of mine done! Keep up the good work!

    [Reply]

    Dariane Reply:

    Thank you so much for your comment Jo.

    Watching those shows on TV make me feel the same way. I can only stand to watch one episode every few months, if even that short.

    Simply acknowledging that there’s a problem is a HUGE step, then actually doing something to help fix or alleviate the problem is an even BIGGER one. You are so brave to even begin the process of “decluttering.”

    My city is the same also with the “two a year” rule. If you can and are willing, I highly recommend you get people to help you. Maybe you can ask family members or close friends to help you with a yard sale.

    Little by little is definitely the way to go. If you can, take some pictures along the way to keep track of your progress. When you feel like you barely made a dent, the photos will help show you how far you’ve come.

    I hope to hear more about your progress! Best of luck!

    [Reply]

  7. 7 MrsL. said at 11:24 am on September 20th, 2010:

    As someone who has asthma, I urge you to invest in a good respirator mask, one that has filters attached. I won’t lie, they are pricier and they can be annoying, but the paper dust masks just won’t cut it for what you are doing. I really want you to protect your lungs. I’d also suggest that you take something like Zyrtec daily while you’re taking on this task. Even if you’ve never had allergies before, it will help cut down on the stuffy head.

    Please know that what you are doing is inspiring to people and we are here cheering you on. Take care of yourself.

    [Reply]

    Dariane Reply:

    Thank you so much for these tips! It sucks because I’ve never had allergies before. I think I might just do that Zyrtec thing.

    [Reply]

  8. 8 Judy said at 10:38 pm on September 20th, 2010:

    Dariane,

    Please don’t get down on yourself! You are doing an amazing job!

    One thing that can be so discouraging about dehoarding is that it often makes such a mess as you’re doing it that it’s hard to see your progress. But look at that closet, girl!! That’s awesome! And 12 boxes in the pod? Beyond awesome!

    I agree with those who have suggested a mask. Often a dust mask is enough for me, and I have asthma. Other times, it’s almost not enough. I have noticed that doing Sinus Rinses helps tremendously. It clears the dust from the day out of my sinuses and nose, and it makes all the difference in the world. I highly recommend it!

    Vitamin C and Vitamin D are good to help keep your immunity up, too, plus Vitamin D helps with depression amongst other things. Just a thought…

    [Reply]

    Dariane Reply:

    Thanks so much Judy! I’ll definitely look into those sinus rinses as well as vitamins. I think I just need to start eating more fruits and veggies. :p

    [Reply]

  9. 9 sethra007 said at 5:54 pm on September 22nd, 2010:

    I just want to say {{{hugs}}}

    Take care of yourself, girl.

    [Reply]

    Dariane Reply:

    Thank you! :]

    {{{hugs back}}}

    [Reply]

  10. 10 Catholic Bibliophagist said at 1:56 pm on September 24th, 2010:

    At my previous home we had a huge upstairs room that was our library. (We had thousands.) But it also became a “Stash-it” room. Everytime we had to clean up for company we’d stash anything we didn’t have time to deal with up there. And of course we never got around to dealing with it. So when it came time to move to another house, that room was filled with junk — you could hardly walk around in there.

    And because it was so crowded, it was very dusty because the room had been too full for me to regularly go in there to dust and clean. Anyway, here are two things that really helped me:

    1. A really good dust mask.

    2. A vacuum with a HEPA filter. I vacuumed every book in that library as I packed it. I also vacuumed every piece of furniture as it was unearthed. I vacuumed every square foot of carpet that I cleared.

    If I could make some suggestions about the guest room:

    If you think that there is an allergen in that room, perhaps you should wash all of the clothes that were stored there so that the allergen doesn’t spread to other areas. (I think you said that you put the clothes in the garage?)

    Consider that you may have to replace the carpet in there.

    Would it be worth the money to invest in one of those HEPA filter air cleaners? You could put it in there with the door shut and run it overnight to help clean out the alergens that you stir up during the day.

    Anyway, I hope you do everything you can to take care of your health. You are doing an amazing job with your family’s house!

    And you are really encouraging me to work on some of the stuff here in my own house.

    [Reply]

    Dariane Reply:

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    I’m not sure that there’s an allergen in the room, for all I know I got sick from the weather change or some bug that may be making the rounds.

    I will DEFINITELY get that vacuum with a HEPA filter real soon though.

    [Reply]

  11. 11 Personal Update From the Ant-ridden Bed | The Stuff Project said at 5:40 pm on September 24th, 2010:

    [...] you’ve been following you’ll know that the last full work day I had was not really a full work day, it was a few hours from two days combined. This was because I [...]

  12. 12 Deadlines and Difficulties | The Stuff Project said at 10:13 am on October 23rd, 2010:

    [...] Illness – Sore throat, runny nose, migraine = no bueno [...]


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