Some time ago, I did a post on hoarding and another one on animal hoarding.
It will soon be the time of year to do your Spring Cleaning and I wanted to remind you of how out-of-control we can get if we don't take the time to de-clutter and clean up. You may need to do a Clean Sweep of your own! Clean Sweep is just one of the TV shows that motivates you to really let go and get rid of it! Other TV shows about hoarding are popular right now. These kind of shows can be good kick-in-the-butt motivators.
If you are disabled in some way, it is understandable that things can get out of control. Maybe you can't take out your own garbage or use the vacuum cleaner or bend over a bathtub to clean it. It's getting harder for me to do it too. But, I hope you can afford to pay someone to come in once a week to take your trash out, clean your bathrooms, change your sheets, do some laundry, do a dusting and run the vacuum cleaner for you. There are many people out there who can afford it but are too tight with their money to spend on paying a housecleaner. And, yet, they are incapacitated enough to be unable to do for themselves. If this is you, I encourage you to re-think your priorities. A clean environment is necessary for your health, wellbeing and peace of mind. For those of you who can't afford to pay for a weekly cleaning service, consider paying for help during your Spring Cleaning. Sometimes there are teenagers who want to make some cash and are willing to help you. It's a good way to train them how to clean at the same time. Check with your teenager's friends or a church youth group. I have used kids that I taught in Sunday School and have known their families for years so I felt comfortable with having them in my home. I worked right along with them and I made sure to pay them a fair price. I would make lunch, provide drinks and make sure that I paid them an extra hour for their gas.
There are people who just aren't interested in cleaning and organizing. Sometimes it's laziness, sometimes it's busy-ness, sometimes it's a mind block that results in constant procrastination, and, sometimes, it's because you grew up in a mess and don't know of any other way to live. I'm not trying to judge anyone... but I would suggest that you hire a housecleaner to come in once a week. This dreaded job can be placed on a professional and you can stop worrying about it. If you can't afford it, then there's no way around it, you are going to have to do it. There are many websites that can give you tips on how to organize, clean, make routines that help you do it in little bits each day, suggestions, etc. Check them out by doing a Google search on "organizing your home", "clean your home", "cleaning tips", "household tips", etc.
There are very logical reasons why this kind of clutter is bad for you and your family!
1) In case of emergency like a fire, tornado warning, etc you have too many obstacles for you and your family to make it out of the house quickly. Doors and windows may be totally blocked by junk and it could cost you your life! Such tiny walkways through stacks of junk could result in someone getting hurt or dying! Do a Google search on "Hoarding" and you will find stories of hoarders who literally died by being crushed, suffocated by falling detritus; or, dying from some other cause but couldn't get out of the house or find the phone to call for help; or, caregivers/neighbors/paramedics couldn't get in the house and find them fast enough before they died.
2) You can imagine how rodents and bugs could live freely in messes like this. I certainly wouldn't want to eat/sleep/live in a place infested with rodents, bugs, spiders and their waste. You could catch diseases. I've read of bugs crawling in children's ears and becoming cemented in their with ear wax. Thinking the children were deaf, doctors were able to open their ears by removing the bug and ear wax and the child could hear.
3) Mold and mildew. It's very easy for mold and mildew to grow in conditions like this. People are very concerned with the mold/mildew issues in their homes and what it does to their health and allergies. Having a mess like this is asking for mold/mildew and then you breath in those spores. The dust would play havoc on allergies.
4) A waste of your money. If you are so concerned with money that you won't hire help to clean your house, why would you waste money by acquiring stuff you can't use. Some people buy just to be buying and have clothes stuffed in closets that still have price tags on them because they haven't had time to wear them. I saw a TV documentary on hoarding and the woman hoarded food. She had refrigerators and freezers full of rotted food she had bought and they hadn't eaten. She resorted to putting food in plastic bags on the porch to keep it in winter months. A waste of money! She purchased extra refrigerators and freezers, the electricity to run all that besides all the food, and it was such a waste of money. And, even though, she recognized that the food was inedible, she wouldn't throw it away!
6) In a mess like this you lose important things like birth certificates, wedding rings and certificates, vaccination records, warranty manuals, receipts, income tax stuff, the gift you bought for your husband's birthday, gift cards, etc.
7) You are passing on your bad example to your children. They won't learn essential life skills such as how to clean, how to organize, how to live your life without living in a rat's nest. You may very well pass your bad habits or idiosyncracies or OCD behavior to them. You are the parent and it's up to you to teach them how to clean a bathroom, how to properly wash the laundry, how to pick up after themselves, etc. If you don't teach them, no one will and they will live the life thereof.
There is no excuse for ignorance any more. With public libraries (free books), book stores, Internet, magazines, TV shows, you have all kinds of ways to learn how to do things properly and we have no end of cleaning supplies and tools available to us in America. Even if all you can afford is a shop vac and some vinegar...you can clean almost anything.
I realize that there are people who seemingly have no control over OCD behaviors that result in the messes that you see in the photographs. But those people are probably fewer and far between than you might think. Most of us have more control over ourselves and can do something about the mess we (and our untrained family) leave behind. This could be the year of change for you. Your family may not like it, they may grumble, complain, pitch a hissy fit, cry...but you can, and should, stick to your guns and get everyone involved. It really teaches them a lot!!! It's worth the headache they give you.