Reality shows like The Biggest Loser, Intervention and Hoarders are popular for a reason. Seeing someone at the extremes of behavior makes us feel better about our own shortcomings.
My great-grandfather was a severe packrat. He would go to the local dump every day looking for treasures, and his house was covered up inside and outside with his finds. He never threw anything away and dressed like a homeless man when he had plenty of money to buy new clothes. He just didn’t see the need.
This disorder spread throughout my family in varying degrees, including me. Had you known me 10+ years ago, you would have seen a garage filled with junk, one completely filled junk room, and closets that were bursting at the seams.
You would have also met one unhappy woman.
Just like overeating and abusing alcohol, latching onto everything that comes your way is a sign of a problem. As my life has improved, so has my tendency to hang on to things. And now when I look back, I can’t believe I ever had so much crap.
To this day, though, I am fascinated by shows like Hoarders and Clean House and think a lunch date with Niecy Nash would be fantastic. Watching those shows also reminds me how easy it would be for me to slip back into my old ways.
That is why it is so important for me to create a life that doesn’t easily allow clutter:
- A smaller home means less space to accumulate junk
- Walking or taking the bus to shop means lugging fewer things home
- Entertaining frequently is an incentive to keep my home clutter-free
- Being open to moving every couple of years is a great way to clear boxed clutter
- Marrying a man who despises disorder has a way of curtailing chaos
It seems weird to say that I’m a packrat when I’m getting rid of everything I own, but it is true. Given the right circumstances, I know how easily I could lapse back into it.
I don’t want to say that I’m traveling around the world to escape the lure of clutter, but in one sense it might be true.
What do you think of those reality shows? Do any of them hit home for you?