Is your house messy?
I'm Pigpen and I used to live in squalor. I spent much time and energy trying to hide the true state of my house - clutter and mess - from people. Finally, I realized I had a real problem. I worked to change how I thought about, and kept, my house. My house isn't messy any more.
Is it a problem for you?
Squalor is a confronting word. It's a degree of mess that goes beyond untidiness. The state of the house deteriorates, small piles become big piles, then even bigger piles. Sometimes beds can't be slept in, tables disappear under clutter. Appliances and equipment can't be used. Perhaps they broke down, but you fear a repair person will report the mess, or access is blocked by other items.
The mess costs. You pay extra in late fees because you lost the bill in a pile. You pay twice, or are denied a refund because you can't find a receipt. You risk being evicted. If you have children, you fear losing custody.
You go to great lengths to conceal your living conditions. It's a very draining, stressful way to live. Keeping your mess a secret is tiring. Every interaction with another person is a chance you'll get found out.
What you'll find in this site
In the Squalor section we have a scale for assessing the seriousness of a squalor problem, and information on hoarding. The Stories section contains the real-life experiences of people who lived in squalor (some are now free of squalor, some are still on the journey.) The Photos section documents the transformation of house in varying degrees of squalor to no squalor at all. The Overcoming section provides techniques and tools for freeing both yourself and your house from the prison of squalor. The Community consists of a Forum and Chat room where you can communicate with people who know what living in squalor is like, where you can drop the mask and be yourself. Recommended organizing books, articles and web sites are in the Resources section, the Junk drawer (none of which is actual junk) contains creative works by past and present members, and finally, the It's not me page is for people who do not have a squalor problem themselves, but know someone who does.
If you are faced with cleaning up years of hoarded clutter, you are almost certainly feeling overwhelmed and asking, "Where do I start?" Maybe you feel like you're the worst housekeeper ever.
You're not the first person to struggle with this. Squalor has been beaten, and some who preceded you on this journey want to help those who follow on the path to freedom from squalor. It's not an easy cruise, but it's worth it. We won't judge you, the person living in squalor. Being a bad housekeeper doesn't make you a bad person. I'm not saying living in squalor is okay. We come to bury squalor, not to praise her. You deserve better than to live in squalor.
Quit hitting yourself over the head. Pat yourself on the back for the courage it takes to confront this. Celeste, wise woman and recovered Messie
Copyright © 2001 Kimmy. All rights reserved.
"My Pastor was preaching about hospitality—that God gives us homes so we can be hospitable to others. That hit me hard and I knew it was time to change me. I knew it wasn't the house that needed change, but me." An inspiring account from Maizy.
JojoP has added her squalor experience to the Stories section. At the bottom you will find a link to her article, Survive squalor and learn to tidy, which was published by Canada's The Globe and Mail earlier this year.
A powerful story was contributed by one of our newest members—Centime. Well-worth reading.
A totally awesome story was contributed by Fivecat. In television voiceover words, this story is "The... Episode... You...Must...Not...Miss!"