oh, hello

NYTimes, 1/1/08:

A Clutter Too Deep for Mere Bins and Shelves

Excessive clutter and disorganization are often symptoms of a bigger health problem. People who have suffered an emotional trauma or a brain injury often find housecleaning an insurmountable task. Attention deficit disorder, depression, chronic pain and grief can prevent people from getting organized or lead to a buildup of clutter. At its most extreme, chronic disorganization is called hoarding, a condition many experts believe is a mental illness in its own right, although psychiatrists have yet to formally recognize it.

Ms. Johnson says she often sees a link between her client’s efforts to get organized and weight loss. “I think someone decides, ‘I’m not going to live like this anymore. I’m not going to hold onto my stuff, I’m not going to hold onto my weight,’” she said. “I don’t know that one comes before the other. It’s part of that same life-change decision.”


Dr. Peeke says she often instructs patients trying to lose weight to at least create one clean and uncluttered place in their home. She also suggests keeping a gym bag with workout clothes and sneakers in an uncluttered area to make it easier to exercise. She recalls one patient whose garage was “a solid cube of clutter.” The woman cleaned up her home and also lost about 50 pounds.

“It wasn’t, at the end of the day, about her weight,” Dr. Peeke said. “It was about uncluttering at multiple levels of her life.”


9 Replies to “oh, hello”

  1. oh, for realllll. my x, having been made insane with undeserved beatings as a child when his jackass stepdad literally white-glove inspected any cleaning he had done and inevitably found some imperfection, was totally incapable of doing any housecleaning. i also see family-o'-origin issues play out in this stuff for me. it is remarkably helpful to be reminded that stuff like healthy living and clean-house-having and financial-togetherness are all threaded through with the common theme of self-care, and that when that self-care theme is fucked up, self-care behavior is extra challenging. hmmm…

  2. daaaaaaaaammmmmmmnnnnn. how is it I have gone so long without any knowledge of the collyer brothers?? it is a crime, I tell you. I just spent a gruesomely delicious 10 minutes savoring that wikipedia article. I am herewith adding them to my personal pantheon along with henry darger and big and little edie bouvier beale.

  3. ouch. families have such varied and inventive ways of turning us into utter loopheads. thanks on the new look– the old one was feeling a mite tired and summery– plus I needed a little something to externalize all my inner blackness. ;)

  4. mmmm, imagining a tea garden with marble statues of the gods in my personal pantheon… of course, there'd have to be a good few rusting car bodies round about the place to establish the correct atmosphere.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.