Friday, 23 December 2011

channel four:Obsessive compulsive hoarder

Well its good to see the British media not falling behind in exploring hoarding as a documentary.
21st December the British public was able to have an insight into the home of Britains most notorious hoarder. Mr Wallace has actually found some unwanted fame in the past when he won a courtcase against the village neigbours who wanted him to clean his garden.
What i like bout the doucmentary with the sensititvity with which it was filmed although i think it may have been a health hazard for the camera crew!
There were parts that i recognised  for instance when came to throwing something away. My mum even recognised some stick that he had which also have- i  can't remember what it was for. My dad has newspapers too but mostly books.Our entrances to rooms are not on the same scale as Mr Wallace but i thoguhe we do have mirros lined against the walls on the floor
Also  didn't anybody else think the landscape Gardener, man who does he sound like? ..Ricky Gervais!

It did have an annoying ending- it did not tell us of what happened a couple of months after his clean up operation, or even one fo those announcements screens that are shown after programmes "if you have been affected by wha you have seen then you can contact thefollowingfor help and advice"...oh wait no thats on the BBC usually after Eastenders (British soap).It wasn't clear if ther was going to be a follow up episode.
Anyway i don't want to harp on about it but strongly recommend you watch it on 4 on demand and it is online till 18th January.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

SO as you know my dad has lots of books,CDs, floppy disks and lots of old technology. He slso some CD's with 90's pop music NSync anyone? well i have seen this website advertised (UK) for cashbee. They give you money for your old belongings and even give you free postage.  You jsut type in the barcode and it till tell you how much hey'll give you.So the CD's were worth about 21 pence. but i'm still going to try it out.So can you:


So with the intention of inviting my dad to watch the below mentioned  programme i failed to consider that my dad had a very long working day and he had already dozed off by the time it was on air.
I found it bizarre the woman who sniffs books all day and  records this-surely this must be a health hazard. I recall back in my sutdents day at the time of swine flu was declared an epidemic; librarians handling books with latex gloves.Sniffing books all day is surely going to make you more prone to catching microbes.
Anyway the programme was rather long  but informative. E-books appeal to me they are convenient and lightweigh, though i am worried about the damage it may cause to my already short sightedness.The programme presented by Alan Yentob also extends on to artificical intelligence.
He spoke to an author who ate his novel!I found the second  half very interesting form a historic point of view and as for the expresso book-can't wait to see one here.
Books:The last chapter is available online until 28th December. Not sure if non-UK residents can access it:

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

"Books-the Last Chapter?"

One of my first blogs was about the rise of e-books and the possible redundancy of physical books. There is a programme on BBC One tonight at 10:35pm and i am going to make my dad watch it.No actually i think its best if i watch it before my dad, in order for me to have my arguments ready in case there is something in there which justifies my dads book collection (which has engulfed the living room).
 Not everyone will be able to view the programme but there are some fantastic links on the programmes website about the future of books:

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Anxiety and shame

We all act differently when we are anxious and have our own coping mechanisms,  while some become quiet withdrawn, others start eating lots or smoke a ciggy. Anxiety can manifest itself as an OCD (Obsessive Compulsive disorder) and  hoarding falls under this category. When someone is frustrated or angry with life then OCD will be more prevalent. Anger is the common driver of anxiety disorders and boy does my dad have anger issues. I believe it is my dads anger and the fact education and careeers opportunities were denied to him as a growing child led to this.
In Pakistan, the teachers were regularly on strike before exams, he did not have many books.In the West we are blessed to have a free compulsory education and do not have to purchase "course books" until further education. I think my dad is compensating for what he did not have as a child and is so self absorbed an warped into his own feeling  is causing his children more harm than good. He went on numerous college courses but because of the language barrier and personality trait wasn't able to bear the fruits of his achievements- Always blaming someobody else (the blame culture) for his shortcomings i wonder if this is a universal trait of hoarders blaming others for their issues and not taking responsibility. Like many parents their frustration and anger is displaced on actions which are received by other as strange. They may mean well but not go about it the right way.
It is a fact children whose parents have been overbearingly critical are susceptible to depression i was fortunate to read this in my early 20's from a book on depression any guessing where it came from?

American hoarder show

Ill health has meant i can't contribute on here as much as i llike.
in the meantime you could check out the following:

Monday, 5 September 2011

Just as autism was little understood just over decade ago and is now known as a spectrum of disorders Compulsive hoarding is similar and belongs to the Obsessive compulsive Disorder group better known as OCD. Other types of obssesive behaviours are excessive cleaning and handwashing

Compulsive hoarding may be difficult to diagnose, firstly because the person who has it does not acknowledge they have the problems. Secondly the sense of shame attached ot it and the shame for family members. In my personal experience hoarders can be irrational and extrememly defensive and have other behaviour problems such as anger management.

According to Oprah's website there are 2 million people with compulsive hoarding as a problem in the US (unsure where these statistics come from). In the UK i am not aware of any statisitcs.

Sunday, 4 September 2011


Oprah's show may have ended but her website is sitill live. 6months ago i was pleased to see Oprah covering the topic of hoarding. Today i was impressed with the number of resources. It didn't just sensationalise hoarding by showing peoples homes but scratched beneath the surface with articles addressing that important question why people hoard. Dr David Tolin says it is a serious mental health issue and has given 12 top tips on How to Overcome Hoarding.
 I hope you find the resources here useful.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

yvette writes

Decluttering and letting of stuff is a lot more than just action and chucking things out of the way its an emotional journey for the hoarder.
Organisation is a skill that needs to be developed and taught. You are  not born knowing how bes to stay organised. Its not just about buying more storage space,  its about being aware that all this excess material things are actually draining your energy time and money. Overcoming the mental barriers is the first battle. Once this is done a plan on how to get rid of clutter and how to prioritise needs to take place. Yvette writes is a website which gives tips on how to declutter and improve your organisation. I have been receiving newsletters which have good visualisation techniques to help people decide how to declutter. There is also a mini course  "Get Myself Organized" where you can receive emails for 7 days. I would recommend it to anyone not just hoarders or people who live with hoarders.
Please visit Yvette writes.

I have not been paid to recommend the website i just like to share good tips to help others.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Its been a long time on here but my attempts at decluttering have not gone in vain. We have purchased a new house. and been redecorating BUT not moved in yet. A new blank canvas... a fresh new start free of clutter and dust.

So we made a few rules: told my dad under no cirumcstances will his clutter including books be allowed in the house. So far agreed and adhered to.

Second rule books can go into the new garage (bonus!) but things have to be thrown away before stored in the garage. This was a very difficult one for my dad and is still udnergoing. He spent over 4 hours putting books neatly into boxes (according to size not subject), and only one was ready to go as the boxes got to heavy to carry books.

As a result of the above very little has been done in the last few months as my dad clings onto his belongings. Spending hours sifting through book marathons (and sneezes to follow) and then a tirade of justifications for keeping the book. It goes something like this
"I saw this book in WHSmith for £9.99 and you know how much i got it for?"
Pause (nobody cares)
"20p! what a bargain"
and i think to myself yes and now its not worth the paper its printed on and is probably on Amazon for 1p.

Have tried explaining that books loose value and are cheaply available. But no, my dad insists on keeping them-i really don't think a GCSE Letts revision guide form 1989 will be a huge benefit to anyone. Seriously if i had an exam i would want an uptodate book not one that is 20 years old, yellowing pages, written in a boring manner, and probably before colour books were even published. Im sure the dust mites would also trigger and allergic response. Am thinking of maybe taking books to one of those recycling companies that pay for a tonne of paper...will need to look that up.

Would like to hear from any hoarders and if they moved houses how did they decide or come to terms with with what to keep and what not.
Have you helped a hoarder? what advice would you give?

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Jenga brain

Is it my imagination or when you are in a cluttered environment even your ability to think straight and do tasks properly is equally chaotic. Having a quick glance through my blog shows my incoherence in places with typo errors and sentences that are random rants that do not flow (in the writing sense). I have found draft version of posts for this blog which i completely forgot.  I only remember things if they are staring me in the face- my organisation system consists of reminders and to do lists on my phone or a post it note on my wall and even sending myself emails of tasks i must do. I have about three notebooks full of tasks to do and even my table at work is some kind of ordered tip.So last week i just put folders and boxes for every little thing- at work at least thing is i just feel overwhelmed at home.

House is still crowded and is a like the game of Jenga with instead of blocks, books falling from hallways and  "neat piles" in the living room.Last night insomnia kicked in and so i decided to look at one of my to do list-out of 15 i had achieved two and then my brain went on a roll of other to do lists and creative ideas- it was like my thoughts were on a reverse jenga.Talk about mimicing my surroundings!
HOARD REPORT:Since i last blogged there are now 3 bulky camping bags making a home in the living room,Deluxe BBQ set stull resides in my room as a temporary table. :(

Uh oh i've just remembred i can spot my typo errors courtesy of my new glasses....yeah anyway cluttered surroundings=clutter brain.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

How old is old?

My dad doesn't even throw away letters that come throught the post and is even reluctant to throw away leaflets/flyers "just in case" because they have "information". Up until recently we had bills from the last 15 years stashed away in my bedroom! I can't understand the logic to keeping them when you have paid them off unless you are seriously going to sit there and analyse the house phone bill form 10 years ago! (Sad!).
 I wasn't allowed to throw them away (irrational logic of a hoarder) but i got so annoyed with them taking up my precious inches of shelf space i shredded every single one, except my electric shredder was unable to cope  (i think the sharp bits have gone blunt) so i sat there for hours tearing away with my hands- well there wasn't much else to do in December with outdoor snowed under and indoors snowed under with paper.
But it felt good kind of like having a facial..clean and refereshed

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Divine inspiration

Whether you believe in God or not i'd like to share a verse from the Qur'an with you:
"Verily Allah does not change a peoples condition until they change what is in themselves"

People whinge some say its a British thing to moan about everything from the weather, the cost of living, space and the list is endless. But i reckon it is a human condition. What i like about the about the above verse is the implication you yourself have to take the action by start from looking deep inside yourself and try changing that first. For example you're always angry so you look at what makes you angry and think is it really worth your energy? Solution: Anger management strategies and patience as a developing characteristic. I could write about what Islam says about controlling anger but that would be another post. Now i'm not a religous scholar so i don't know in what context this verse is written but i often remember these words when i am in whinge mode. In terms of my dads hoarding in particular the books, i tell myself to just endure it, a little bit of dust might irritate my nose and lungs but it's not going to kill me for now. I actually don't bother cleaning my dads bookcase on the landing in the hope it might prompt him to get rid of them it didn't work but at least i've stopped imposing responsibilites on myself.
I guess if my dad really wants to get rid of the excessive material belonging that hinder our everyday living space (especially when it inconvenieces him) then he should try to find out why, and once that 's clearly established start taking action.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Happy New Year!

It's been just over a year since i started this blog as a rant....but did i get anything out of it?  Know is the time to look back and reflect.
Well  i didn't write regularly but i have perfectly valid excuse-lack of internet connection.
I've had quite a bad flu and then my laptop lasts about 10 minutes where it gets hotter than my oil filled radiator and switches off. Even though kind brother has a laptop my dad the resident hoarder started hogging the laptop over the holiday period.

The hoarding has got worse. My dad even got me to buy a book about gliding of Amazon- he has been going through an obsession about gliding as his childhood dream was to be a pilot! My dad went through a camping phase and bough lots of sleeping bags simply becasue they were going cheap. One permanently lives at the top of the stairs-*HEALTH HAZARD*!!
I didn't share any pics did I? Honestly its my family home and i guess putting up pics of the hoarding crimes will be infringing others privacy.
The BBQ boxed set is still being used as dressing table.
Before making this years new resolutions why don't we look at last years below:

1.BE more organised with storing MY belongings- it sets an example-ACHIEVED- BOXES AND BAGS!


3.continue to persuade to dad to get rid of useless books-who needs a book on idioms from 1956 or "A dummies guide to Windows 95"-nobody wants them! apart from a computer book antique collector? (if one exists) FAILED-"get out my house" was the usual response

4.Continue to state how the book collection is causing extra dust mites- which is bad for my health. :(
FAILED, what happened when little brother had a nose operation and needed a clean space- dad left the books in his room and even went and bought some more.

5.what junk does not belong to mine should not be in my room-however small or large. ACHIEVED!!

6.sell/donate any of my junk and encourage others ACHIEVED

7.write every month ANY ACTION taken and RESULTS achieved . NOPE


Now i think thats an achieveable set of resolutions don't you? I GOT 3 OUT OF 7 MY MATHS AIN'T GREAT BUT THAT'S NEARLY A HALF. The glass is half empty or half full depending on my mood.