Monday, March 8, 2010

"I'm Pregnant and... I'm a Hoarder"

We're done with the first part of taping the show. The next two will be when I am giving birth, and then a followup like a month later to see how it's going. The episode will be called "I'm Pregnant and... I'm a Hoarder", but I don't know when it will air or anything yet.

It feels weird to even say it - with all the shows about it and all, it's easy to admit to being messy or having a clutter problem, but hoarding seems like such a strong word after seeing people living in much worse conditions than my own, with sanitation problems, no power etc. the thing is, I realize that I am/was setting myself up for that if things had continued - we went over a year with a badly damaged roof because we didn't want to let a work crew in [ended up letting the damage get much worse, and costing about 3 times as much as an early repair would have], have several non-working phone jacks because of mouse problems several years ago when the house was at it's worse, and don't even want to picture what things would look like with 10-15 years more clutter [my big advantage over a lot of hoarders is that I am still young, haven't lived here very long, and realized there is a problem in time to get it under control with a reasonable amount of effort].

I've been doing a more detailed breakdown of the filming and my progress over on the FlyLady forum, so I'll just do a short recap here, and link to the forum thread for those who want details.

We filmed this whole part over the course of about 2 1/2 days, which was pretty tiring. I got a call Wednesday afternoon to confirm that we were doing the show, and to let me know they'd be here Thursday morning at 10am. Thursday was mostly getting acquainted, both with the crew and the television viewers - we met, I let the dog get comfortable with everyone to try to keep him under control, then we went through on camera and I gave a "tour" of the house and a brief history of how it got so cluttered. They also went to a midwife appointment with me, and filmed part of that plus and interview with my midwife - we did a short discussion on waterbirth during the appointment, to help educate viewers, because that particular program has never shown one.

Friday was when we did most of the actual decluttering. Marla Cilley [aka FlyLady] came over to the house with her assistant [who my dog insisted on following obsessively for some reason, until I put him in another room or outside], and helped advise me on what things to tackle first and how to get things decluttered the best way for me. I cannot express how nice they both were, and how she really seemed to care - I'm just impressed, because you can tell when someone is doing something from the heart, and she is one of those rare people who is. I gave her a quick tour of the house 7 we talked about how & way things got that way. My husband came home from work partway through the day, and she also talked with him some, then both of us went to work on the clutter. It was easier to hurry and sort, instead of deliberating over each item, with someone there to talk me through it and knowing I was on camera. It did get easier as I went, but there were a few things that gave me pause, and it was too much to start going through clothes and all on camera, so I mainly stuck to the sides of the room and the computer desk area. I was really surprised at the progress my husband made in the other room, and the amount he got rid of that I figured he wouldn't ever do anything with.

Friday evening, I had an appointment with my therapist, which was also filmed. It was different than normal, because my husband came with me, and because we mainly focused on issues around the hoarding. I'm glad we did it though, because it got my husband and I talking about things we never had really been able to before, and I feel like he understands me more now and I can ask him for help when I need it. I also think it would be a really good idea for us to look into more sessions as a couple, especially with a the new baby coming, to help us deal with this and some of our other issues [mostly related to communication and stress].

Saturday morning, they filmed the interview part of the show, and the voice-overs and things they're going to use to introduce different parts of it. Since they were filming us one at a time, my husband loaded up the truck and hauled off some of the junk we had gotten out of the house while was doing that. We spent Saturday evening & Sunday still working on the house - him finishing up the bathroom remodel so I could clear the tools & things out of the nursery, and me continuing to declutter, then starting to set up the nursery. We've gotten so much done this weekend, but it still seems like there's a lot left to do. I feel like it's more manageable now, because I don't feel so alone in it anymore. I just hope I am able to get everything done, and that I can keep things straight and not accumulate more.

I'm still a little anxious over the show itself, and the idea that people will see my house and my junk, but I am hoping that it will help other people with the same problem realize they are not alone and they can change things. One of the biggest things for me was realizing that I had a real problem, and wasn't just lazy or a bad housekeeper, but that I had to deal with the issues and things causing me to hang on to everything before I could stop and get things straight. If this show helps at least one person realize that and they get help, or if it helps one spouse or family member be more understanding & helpful and less judgmental of somebody in their life with a clutter problem, then it's totally been worth doing.

2 comments:

  1. Wow, sounds like you achieved a huge amount, physically as well as mentally:) Well done:) Jen.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bravo to you! I, myself, am coming to terms with the fact that I have hoarder tendencies. I was really getting a good hold on learning to discard, and then I broke my damn leg. =P Best wishes on continued progress!

    ReplyDelete

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