clutter war: the chronically disorganized

A rich set of links i found today. Almost every one I know has at one time or another expressed distress over their clutter, lack of organization, and inability to overcome problems in organizing, cleaning and running their household. I also feel an almost constant sense of disquiet about my house. Via the web site of a local professional organizer, I found the web site of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization.

If you feel like you’re at the mercy of your house or your stuff, you should read this stuff.

“Clutter hoarding scale.”: A tool for assessing the degree to which a person is suffering from chronic disorganization. From your typical messy house to the full-blown trash house.

“Fact sheets about chronic disorganization”:

I’ll quote from the one called “Common characteristics of the Chronically Disorganized”…

* Accumulates large quantities of objects, documents, papers or possessions beyond apparent necessity or pleasure

* Has difficulty parting with things and letting go

* Has a wide range of interests and many uncompleted projects

* Needs visual “clues” as reminders to take action

Interestingly, I can relate to a lot of the home-specific traits (such as no household calendar in use, cluttered living areas, multiple project begun but not finished) this document goes on to list, but few of the work-specific traits.

Addictive tendencies that can cause chronic disorganization:


Collection addiction (I can’t find a specific link but I think this one is fairly self-explanatory)


“Urgency addiction”:

I have seen aspects of all of these addictions in my co-workers, in myself, and in friends; it’s disturbing to find it all laid out in black and white even though i’ve suspected for years that there are identifiable _things_ going on that drive people to collect gadgets, toys, information, and other things.

it’s not that we don’t all lead functional lives, but i am completely sick of the constant state of _ack_ that i live in. i have some situational problems (half my weekends cannot be devoted to surmounting my household problems or doing maintenance chores; i have renovation work to do to my house, such as in the basement) but although i have largely curbed my tendency to accumulate junk, i still accumulate _things_ and remain adept at rationalizing everything i purchase or obtain. at the same time, the items i identify that need to leave the house often remain in a “staging area” for months at a time while i fail to get them to goodwill or on the company bulletin board for re-sale.

in somewhat related news, i met today with a basement waterproofer recommended by a neighbor who has been down a path similar to mine. it looks like i also need to get quotes on gutter repair/upgrade/replacement.