Book pushers

I love books. Not just to read them, but to have  them. I love the feel, the look, the smell. I think I should have been a librarian…or perhaps an archivist. Play to your strengths, I’m told.

First, some definitions:

  • bibliophile –  someone who likes to collect books, usually rare and collectible ones
  • bibliomaniac – someone who obsessively collects books of any kind, regardless of content or quality
  • bookworm – someone who loves to read (alternatively, it is also a type of insect — though not a single species. Some of them, during their larval stage, bores holes into the edges of books to pupate and then emerge in their adult form. Includes carpet beetles, furniture beetles, and other annoying little bastards)

I know what you’re thinking. I’m not a bibliomaniac. I’m a bookworm with a hoarding problem. There’s a difference, mainly that I only collect books I actually like and/or intend to read. And I’ve probably given away or thrown out more books than I still own over the years.  Still, books that I’ve read and have no intention of rereading and/or don’t need as a reference tend to accumulate. It’s an ongoing, long-term process.

Anyway, I’m watching Clean Sweep this morning (with Tava Smiley and Peter Walsh). I’ve mentioned decluttering/organization guru Peter Walsh before. So far, he’s written four books on the topic of decluttering. You get the irony there, right? You’re a hoarder, but please add my four books to your clutter. (I will say that at least he also offers free advice: on his site, on Oprah, on Clean Sweep. But you know that most people with clutter issues are going to go out and buy the books, thereby adding to the clutter.) David Bach, prolific author of such books as “The Automatic Millionaire” and “Start Late, Finish Rich”, does the same thing — pushes his financial freedom books and expensive counselling while advising people to save their money.

Way to take advantage of the behavioural problems you’re both purporting to be trying to stop. It would be like Richard Simmons selling candy wrapped in pithy weight loss affirmations.

[As a complete aside, while looking at some old David Bach posts and articles tonight, I came across one where someone made some complaints that, based on advice from a particular investment company, his father would only have $150,000 when he died instead of the million he could die with if he had different investments. Is that really what people are investing their money for, so that they can leave scads of money to their greedy offspring? Where does this feeling of entitlement come from? If the guy was really concerned about his father’s well-being, he wouldn’t be talking about how much his father would be worth at his death.]


Winter cleaning…or rehabilitating the hoarder

Thinking positively about the job interview I had last week (I WILL get one of the jobs, I WILL get one of the jobs), I decided a winter cleaning of my apartment was required. I’ve been cleaning for many hours and it’s all a little overwhelming. (Kids, this is why you should listen to your mothers and clean up regularly.)

You see, I’m a hoarder. (Oh noes! According to Wikipedia, it’s a slippery slope from hoarding stuff to becoming the Crazy Cat Lady.) Hardly surprising given my other OCD issues, I know. I’m not quite at the level of the people who have 20 years of newspapers in their front room, but, in my own not-so-small way, I’m very much like them. Books, papers, receipts, bills, boxes of floppy disks, computers and computer parts (there are currently six computers here, only two of which are actually useful at this very moment), empty cardboard boxes, miscellaneous junk…it only gets thrown out if it is broken or damaged beyond repair, if I really expect to never have a use for it, or if I do a seasonal cleaning like I’m doing now. I don’t do seasonal cleanings nearly as often as I should.

Have you ever watched the TLC show “Clean Sweep” before? If you have, picture the big tarp they use for the initial sorting, when they take all of the stuff out of the room they’re cleaning and dump it in one massive pile. That’s what my place looks like right now. There’s a five-foot stack of boxes and bags of stuff mounded on the L-shaped couch and coffee table in the living room. Haven’t slept in my bed in ages because it is covered with more boxes of stuff I haven’t found a home for yet, left over from the last seasonal cleaning. A friend of mine keeps recommending Peter Walsh‘s “Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?” (my environment and weight issues are siamese twins that reflect the mess that is my head), but do I really need another book I probably won’t read? It’s been in my shopping cart for months, but I haven’t bought it yet. (Aw,crap, my massive “save for later” shopping cart is yet another hoard, isn’t it.)

So far, so good. I’ve cleared the floor (even steam-cleaned it) and have started organizing bookcases and cupboards. (I know, you’re thinking that couldn’t possibly have taken hours and hours and hours, but it really did.) Need to finish cleaning the kitchen and bathroom and doing the mounds of laundry that have piled up (hey, cool, I have a ton of clothes I’d forgotten I had) . Then I can start on the decluttering. 

Happy thought for the day? I found  my missing citrine worry stone and some items that I’d forgotten I even owned. (Even found an eBay purchase that I hadn’t ever opened — sorry, eBay seller, I clearly never left you feedback for that item.) Sad thought for the day? I have so much work — probably several weeks’ worth — left to do. *sigh*

Living in chaos

Was talking on the phone last night to my best friend and the conversation turned to cleaning. She was in the middle of a massive house clean up. I on the other hand am wallowing on the brink of cleaning mine, unable to make a sufficient dent in the chaos to keep entropy from reclaiming the cleaned spaces, and it grows. It’s kind of like diets — you lose weight but then you gain more back, ending up even heavier and fatter.

I avoid watching Kim Woodburn’s How Clean Is Your House and Kim’s Rude Awakenings because I recognize myself too much in the people (and houses) on the show. Nik and I talked about living in mess and clutter being an outward manifestation of your inner self. (I remember my mother telling me about an article she’d read that talked about people who would clean their homes for visitors but didn’t feel they were worthy of a clean environment themselves.) We also talked about a couple of her favourite books, including Peter Walsh‘s “Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?” (I used to enjoy watching him on TLC’s Clean Sweep but I stopped watching when it became clear to me that I just wasn’t ready for that kind of brutal cleanout of my own clutter — did it when I moved up here and it was extremely painful, not mention expensive to replace the things I had thrown out that I ultimately needed again.)

Kind of funny to be flipping through the TV channels today, then, and finding that today’s Oprah episode is all about Oprah’s Clean Up Your Messy House Tour. Even funnier to see that the guest was Peter Walsh and to hear them talking about the very things Nik and I were talking about last night. The Tour consists of six monthly assignments, leading towards decluttering. November’s assignment is to sign the pledge, define your vision for your life and space, and commit to 10 minutes a day.