Zyra International NET //// Zyra UK //// concepts //// collecting //// mental health //// non - floccinaucinihilipilification //// help with hoarding //// Site Index
Clutterers and Hoarders
Hoarders and Clutterers are people who collect loads of stuff, hoards of interesting stuff, on the basis that it will come in useful someday. This is a glorious thing to do, and far better than the behaviour of the "normal people" who throw stuff out and then later regret losing it.
A person who hoards stuff tends to have a brilliantly good memory, and this is part of the mental state that goes with hoarding and cluttering. A hoarder can often locate an item amidst mountains of stuff by remembering what it is associated with and where it is.
Hoarding is much to be encouraged, as it is the antithesis of the wasteful behaviour of people hooked on the consumerist disposable society. Cluttering/Hoarding is like saving money, and saving up money, and is often associated with wisdom and thrift.
If you're a clutterer, and you've got a home filled to the ceilings with useful treasure which you've hoarded, you may notice the normal people tend to have a funny view of this. They may regard it as mad, or at least eccentric. But if you look at a normal person's home, you can spot straight away the spartan poverty in which they live, as seen in the sparsity of personal possessions which they have. Believe me, I have seen houses with rooms where you can see the carpet right into the corners of the room! How can people live like it?! Maybe it's some sort of minimalist fad, or possibly a puritanical hair-shirt type of thing where they feel they have to conform to a notion of depriving themselves of excessive worldly goods? Well, there's no accounting for some folks and their behaviour. Still, if they are happy like it, then it's up to them.
Meanwhile, for those of us who collect vast amounts of junk, here are some useful things which are worth knowing:
* You need to defend your treasure against various things. Obviously you need to defend yourself against the normal people who are subconsciously jealous because they dare not hoard so much stuff. However, in a free society you are allowed to do as you please provided you don't interfere with anyone else's freedom to do as they please. So, there isn't much they can do about it really.
* Rats and Mice. Clearly you need to avoid these. They can damage your stuff, and they can also be a problem on account of attracting official council rat-catchers and pest-control officialdom. Under various legalistic regimes, they are only allowed to persecute you if you are found guilty of having rats and mice. You ARE allowed to have a house full of junk. Visits by the rat-catcher tend to have an uncanny correlation to days after the previous night's showings of television documentaries about the legendary Mr Trebus, that much respected Saint of hoarding.
If you discover you have rodents, they can be ousted or eradicated by a variety of methods. Having a house full of cats is a good idea, and often goes well with the idea of hoarding, collecting loads of stuff. (Check your cat valency!). Also, setting mousetraps and rat-traps, works quite well. If these are snap-shut types, the death of the rodent is quick. Humane traps also work, but you need to check them regularly, and release any caught rats/mice at least a mile away from your home.
* Avoid collecting stuff which will go bad. Collecting perishable food that's gone way past its best before date is all very well provided it is not going to rot. However, canned food will keep for many years.
* Insects; various. Moths can be a problem, and their maggots have the unfortunate habit of eating your carpets, clothes, flags, and other things you've stored. The level of nuisance of moths can be reduced by allowing spiders to flourish. However, eradication of moths and other clothivorous pests, is best done to save your stuff. Mothballs are good, and they smell marvellously oldfashioned. Fly-spray will kill all manner of insectoidal life-forms, and it can be applied to items being stored. Flies can be a problem, but the presence of them tends to indicate a "missed steak", ie some bad meat or other food that has been allowed to go off. This needs to be sniffed out and given a decent burial.
* Mail. Post, p-mail, stuff that arrives through the letterbox. After checking to see if there's any money in it and/or if there are any nasties suing you or persecuting you by legal means, the junkmail is typically allowed to form a sedimentary layer several inches deep. However, although this may be nice and soft to walk on, it's important that it be turned over every few years, because otherwise the lowest strata can attract damp and can rot the carpet!
* Woodworm. These are tiny beetles whose larvae bore holes in wood. They are a nuisance as they eat your stuff (at least the stuff which is made of wood). Antique furniture, if riddled with woodworm, can become structurally unsound, and should be treated while the holes are merely an interesting patina of antiquity and before the furniture collapses. The best woodworm treatments are chemical stuff with well-known names. Such remedies can be bought from Home and DIY shops, often online.
* Vacuuming and dusting. There's no need for that! However, if you find you have a few vacuum cleaners, it's best to store them just in case you ever find a use for them.
* Scrap Cars may look decorative on the garden, but there are practical solutions which avoid the wastefulness of scrapping them.
* Precariousness. It's important to make sure that any stacks of stuff higher than about 6ft are structurally good. Making sure of the good engineering of the stacks, spans (bridges over doorways), and other accumulative structures, keeps your stuff and yourself safe, and helps to avoid "avalanches". Plus, with good stacking, you can get even more stuff into your house! Be especially careful of stuff stacked on the stairways, as you don't want it to go tobogganing.
* Your long-term future, and that of your collection of stuff: Although it is a nice idea that you can live indefinitely and your stuff will carry on being collected indefinitely, you need to make practical plans on living forever, if that's what you choose. It's usually best to plan your own physical storage and resurrection separately to that of your stuff. So, to avoid the long term problems of death, Cryonics is a good option if you can afford it. Also, resurrection. Your treasure hoard of interesting stuff needs to be preserved separately and differently. Therefore, it's a very good idea to Write Your Will. If you bequeath your collection of stuff to someone who is also a hoarder, or someone who can be promoted to the exalted status of being a hoarder, then the stuff can be preserved for a long term. One way to achieve this is to leave your Will such that whoever inherits your money is also obliged to be the curator of your stuff and shall not be permitted to dump it. A splendid example of this can be seen in the form of The Horniman Museum. Mr Horniman left his fortune as a trust such that a museum was set up. Since then people have been allowed to view the stuff, free, and in perpetuity. This means that the stuff is maintained as a collection, age after age. Glorious!
* Hoarding and Cluttering in the Digital Age: The age of digital computers is good for hoarders as it means that collections of treasure and/or junk can be catalogued and the listings maintained on disc. Zyra's Bazaar was an early form of this, and Zyra's hoard of stuff was gradually catalogued using a set of unusual organisational principles and an expanding database. The result allowed stuff to be collected and simultaneously put up for sale at sensible collector prices, not cutprice online auction prices, and it also allowed reliable maintenance of the collection of stuff. Zyra, being a known hoarder and collector of stuff, had a good memory, but computers have even more precise data storage of large amounts of stuff. The digital catalogue of Zyra's collection also allowed Zyra to emigrate with a detailed manifest of over two and a half thousand "storage units" (boxes full of stuff) with quasi-random contents. The maintenance of such a database is relatively easy if you are obsessive enough.
If you take the digital storage route to junk cataloguing, you need to be aware of data recovery options if you need to rescue your data.
The digital age has also brought a new opportunity for hoarders: Digital Hoarding. In this, clutter can extend from being rooms piled high with hundreds of items of junk, to vast hard disc drives with millions of files. Digital cameras have made possible the personal collection of tens of thousands of pictures but without having to pay for any film. Moore's Law (the idea that computers get bigger and more powerful at a rate of double per 1-2 years) is on the side of the hoarder/clutterer, as a large hard disc drive full of stuff in the old days will fit on a modern slip of silicon such as an SD card. See memory shops and hard disc drive. As the future continues to unfold, larger and larger collections of digital treasure/junk can be collected. Remember to keep backups!
Zyra's website www.zyra.org.uk is an example of digital hoarding, as pages are never deleted, and the vastness of the collection continues to expand. This is profitable, as search engines respect the permanence of having a decent deep linking policy. Hence, pages at Zyra's website tend to do well. This is an affirmation of the wisdom of cluttering/hoarding. The profitability of this in association with affiliate marketing has allowed the hoarder to emigrate for tax purposes, with multiple 40ft shipping containers full of stuff!
* Philosophical Righteousness of Hoarding. If you are a collector of stuff, it's important to be aware of the correctness of cluttering. Don't let the normal people lull you into believing their minimalist propaganda. Hoarding is the right and proper thing to do.
* Usefulness of stuff. This is important. Stuff, junk, etc, is useful and should be retained and stacked up, in case it should come in useful. It's surprising how things can come in useful years after you have stashed them. This idea is also explored in Xyroth's page on applied wombling. Also see commodity off-the-shelf components
* You need to be in control of your stuff. But that can be done, and there is no need to resort to wastefulness. A good storage solution can be found, although it may require having a larger property.
* If you are afflicted by the terrible "normality" syndrome where you throw things away and are too tidy, you may be pleased to know that help is at hand. You CAN become a hoarder. You can improve your cluttering / hoarding abilities by practice. There is hope for you yet. Just start collecting things in case they might come in useful, don't be too quick to throw anything away, and get used to seeing stuff all piled up. After a while you may get to enjoy the finesse of hoarding, and it may become a habit. This is most commendable, and definitely to be encouraged.
* Update: Help is at hand! Zyra is s hoarder and has written a handy page of advice... Help with Hoarding, which should help you to store your stuff without having to part with it!
To visit Zyra's collection of web pages, see the alphabetical site index. Well worth taking some time to have a browse around.