Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Stuff

There are big changes that may be happening soon in Casa Eero + Fromage. Packing up, pulling up roots, new horizons and new adventures! All will be known over the next week or two. Regardless of uncertainties, we're behaving as if we'll be leaving. Step #1 is to purge a lot of stuff for a big, fat, juicy garage sale. We've been in our house for five years and although it is relatively small, we've accumulated quite a bit of stuff. (I mean, who doesn't?) Turns out this is a great opportunity to clear the decks. I'm having a great time going through closets and bureaus and choosing stuff to let go of. It's a feeling of freedom---more space, less clutter, less burden of ownership.

Naturally, I've been thinking a lot on this subject of "stuff." It's led me to look at a lot of websites on hoarding and cleaning. I've fallen in love with one BBC 'reality' show I found on youtube called, "How Clean Is Your House?" Two women, Kim and Aggie, are professional cleaners and they are called to help an individual or family clean their totally disgusting, disorganized and dangerously filthy home. It's pure voyeurism, of course! Kim and Aggie first get a look at the house to be cleaned and pick, scratch and sniff at all manner of stains and goo, laughing and gagging all the while. They then teach the occupants how to clean (the UK version of the show is all household products, the US version has product placement, wouldn'tyajustknow...) and the finale is the Big Reveal of the newly clean, healthy and organized house to the homeowners. It fascinates me because I love order and cleanliness---within reason.

I can also admit to enjoy having Stuff---within reason.

(I've been walking around my house wondering what Kim and Aggie would think...)

Most of the people whose houses need cleaning would definitely fall under the catagory of hoarders.


photo from Flickr: Dragonarium

Hoarding is the compulsive accumulation of stuff. The subject of hoarding and hoarders seems to be 'the new black' in the media these days---even Oprah and Dr. Phil are hosting shows on the phenomenon. New names are given this...mental disorder? Social disorder? Stuff disorder? "Syllogomania" is one word. "Disposophobia" is another. Whatever label, it's fascinating. I don't personally know any hoarders, but I know we have some here in our small town. I know people with far too much crap, but that's their business.



Unlike the previous photo, this image came up when I googled 'hoarding.' (Source unknown, but it was attached to some story about an actress who is apparently a hoarder....) I don't think I would call this hoarding, per se. I would call it rather fetchingly organized and pretty. Having some serious OCT (obsessive compulsive tendencies), I tend to think this perfect stacking of cans (labels facing out!) on evenly measured shelves downright sexy.


An interesting art show on the phenomenon of hoarding/saving was by Song Dong (LOVE THAT NAME! YES!) a Chinese artist who created an analytical representation of his mother's 50+ years of hoarding in her Beijing apartment. The exhibit, "Waste Not," was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in NY a year ago. The article at TreeHugger is excellent. I wish I could have seen this exhibit in person.



The article author discusses China's economic hardships engendering the virtue of conservation and recycling in a certain generation of its people. I think the clean display of articles lends a great poignancy to the collection. One has the impression that hoarders tend to live in squalor and disarray, so this preserved accumulation of stuff is rather an homage to his deceased mother.

Strangely, when I googled "hoarder" and the name of the part of town where I know one to live, hoping to find some web images....
I got this picture of Matthew Fox (of Lost fame) and Jimmy Kimmel in the shower together. Hmmmm....