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

Day 26: Two Steps Closer to Normal, One Step Back

Posted: October 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Daily Updates | 20 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…

Today’s Stats:

Number of hours spent: 9
Supplies purchased: None
Amount spent: $0
Number of (13-gallon kitchen) bags trashed: 1
Number of giveaway boxes: 4
Number of (33-gallon) giveaway bags:  2

Butt-Kick Tier 1: Bring out donation items to storage, sort through stuff on the floor of the guest room
Butt-Kick Tier 2: Finish the guest room


It’s been two weeks since I last cleaned. A series of events occurred that led to a severely depressed mood, and so I made the decision to step away from the project for a bit so I could piece myself back together well enough to actually get some work done. I’ll get into a little more detail about why I was absent in some upcoming posts. In the meantime, my sister and mom did some of their own organizing, making my return today much smoother than I anticipated.

The progress on the guest room was about 75% complete when I left, then with my sister’s help I returned to find the area about 83% done. As has been the pattern when I near the completion of an area, all I wanted to do today was just get the guest room finished.

I’m also keeping in mind that my preliminary and final deadlines (of Nov. 4 and Nov. 10 respectively) still stand. In order to be able to finish up the living room, dining area, and kitchen by the deadline, I need to finish the guest room in one day.

The “One Step Back” I’m referring to in the title of this post is this sad news: I don’t have a working camera with me. Therefore, I have no pictures for today, nor will I have pictures for the rest of the week, unless I can either 1) find the battery charger for my mom’s digital camera, or 2) find someone who is willing to let me borrow their camera for the next few days.

Not having a camera is unfortunate for three reasons:

  1. It totally kills the consistency of documenting my progress
  2. I can’t share the photos for you all to see, and
  3. The work I did today is the most visually striking progress I’ve made thus far on the project.

This leads me to the “Two Steps Ahead” part of the title. Not only did I accomplish the Tier 1 goal for the day (i.e., sorting through the floor stuff in the guest room), I also accomplished Tier 2 (i.e., finishing the guest room), AND helped my sister move in to the room. We moved in her bookshelf, filled and organized it, and she brought in her guitars and school stuff. Basically all we have left to move in to the room is her clothes.

There’s finally a “normal” looking room in the house.

Accomplishing more than Tier 2 was just the first step forward. The second step?


I’ve mentioned this briefly before, but my family has been living without hot water due to a broken water heater for years.

At first my dad didn’t want to get it fixed because he realized that having it off saved us some money and didn’t think hot water was much of a necessity. After a few winters with freezing cold showers, my mom wanted to get the heater fixed. Unfortunately by then clutter had built up around the water heater that we couldn’t get to it. Even when the heater was accessible, my family was too embarrassed to get someone to fix it because of all the mess.

Today, my mom somehow figured out how to fix the water heater on her own, saving us hundreds of dollars from hiring someone as well as some embarrassment. After seven years, we finally have hot running water again.

Guest room done, hot water, but no camera. Tomorrow I tackle the kitchen and dining area.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go take a hot shower.

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20 Comments on “Day 26: Two Steps Closer to Normal, One Step Back”

  1. 1 Ruth said at 3:28 am on October 25th, 2010:

    Here’s hoping you find that charger!! I would love to see pictures ;-).

    Awesome progress, I’m sure your sister is loving her new organized room and it’s great that she helped get it that way. Much more chance of it staying organized if the occupant participates in the organization :-).

    Kudos to your mom on fixing the hot water heater too :-) Enjoy those hot showers!

    I love your blog, you really inspire me!


    Dariane Reply:

    Yay! Thanks!


  2. 2 Boston Pinay said at 7:14 am on October 25th, 2010:

    Go go go!! Keep it up, only a few more weeks left!

    Now you’ve inspired your mom and sister to keep the change you’ve started. That’s 2 more people than back this summer!

    Does anyone in your family have a camera phone you can use to document your progress? Grainy crappy pics are better than no pics.


    Dariane Reply:

    I tried taking photos on my own camera phone, but for some reason it’ll take the picture, but it won’t save it. :(


  3. 3 Wendy said at 7:36 am on October 25th, 2010:

    Yay hot water!!


    Dariane Reply:



  4. 4 Jay said at 7:39 am on October 25th, 2010:

    Just use MS Paint next time for pictures next time, haha!


    Dariane Reply:

    Silly Jay, I don’t have Microsoft or Windows.

    But if I were to do an illustration, it would just be a sky view rectangular box of the room, and the pieces of furniture.


  5. 5 Chocobi said at 7:58 am on October 25th, 2010:

    Hooray!!! You’re back! I was worried about you! And I bet your sister is thrilled!

    Don’t forget to put those boxes out to storage into your tally. I don’t think you ever added them last time, did you?

    Here’s to hoping you get a camera soon!


    Dariane Reply:

    Thanks Chocobi! Yes, I did add the boxes in the tally. I’ve been numbering most of the bigger boxes, and I’m now at #104!


  6. 6 Chocobi said at 7:59 am on October 25th, 2010:

    And major kudos to Mom for getting the water heater going! Did she just relight the pilot light?


    Dariane Reply:

    She drained the water heater of whatever sediment had built up there over the years (we’ve never cleaned it out), and she re-lit the pilot light.

    I hope the hot water lasts and we don’t have to spend a lot on getting it repaired.


    Ruth Reply:

    Considering that most recommendations are to drain the hot water heater every year or so, your Mom probably has fixed the problem ;-). Just put a reminder on the calendar to do it again next year.


  7. 7 Rosa said at 8:11 am on October 25th, 2010:

    oh, your sister having her own room is FABULOUS. I’m so glad this is going so well at this point.


    Dariane Reply:

    Thanks! Yeah my sister LOVES her new, clean room and that the only things in it (save for a handful of heavy objects) are things that belong to her.


  8. 8 Flitterkit said at 12:25 pm on October 25th, 2010:

    Wooohooo! You go girl!! :) Yay for accomplishing MORE than you hoped for, and hot showers are AWESOME! I am glad you are feeling good enough to get back to it and blog! I missed your posts.


    Dariane Reply:

    Thanks Flitterkit!


  9. 9 Thalia said at 4:21 pm on October 25th, 2010:

    Okay, I can’t not say it, but this:

    “my dad didn’t want to get it fixed because he realized that having it off saved us some money and didn’t think hot water was much of a necessity.”

    makes your dad an asshole. I mean, congrats and all, and trust me, I know how much of a relief it is, but that attitude just… what a selfish prick.


  10. 10 Thalia said at 3:07 pm on October 26th, 2010:

    I’m sorry, that was really harsh of me. It’s a button-pusher for me, that’s for sure. We didn’t have hot water for, well, decades, from before kindergarten till sometime in my late 20s or early 30s I think. My father didn’t think it a ‘necessity’ either. It is a selfish attitude.

    I don’t know how you are cleaning your house with the hoarder (I assume your father?) still in it. Hoarders don’t typically like it when people touch their ‘stuff.’ Mine would have freaked out and raised high holy hell if we even hinted about cleaning. I don’t know how you do it.


  11. 11 Judy said at 2:11 pm on October 27th, 2010:

    Woot! Woot! :::doing the happy dance:::

    I’m so excited for you! The fact that your sister is helping is definitely a bonus, but the fact that your mom is in on the action now seems even more promising! And kudos to her for fixing the hot water heater! Even if it’s not a permanent fix, you have hot water!! That has to help on so many fronts!

    You’re doing great! And the whole depression thing? Yeah. It happens. But guess what? You didn’t let a momentary setback turn into a negative lifestyle! You pulled yourself up by the bootstraps, and you’re on your way again. Way to go!


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