Skip to main content

Oldie, 7/24/10: More Orderly, Less Hoarderly

I absolutely love shows like Hoarders, Hoarding: Buried Alive and Clean House.  Not sure why, since I don't have bulging closets, narrow aisles of stuff throughout my house, or even a cluttered car.  I guess what intrigues me is the mindset that gets someone locked into that type of behavior.  My father had a bit of that tendency.  He got it into his head, in his early 60s, to start trying to recycle aluminum cans.  But since he worked full-time during the week and drank full-time on the weekends, he didn't have a lot of time for separating them from the rest of the trash.  And it is quite telling that no one came up with a better installing a "Recycle" bin for cans only, or having my mother or me take on the task of sorting out the cans.  The result was a growing pile of plastic garbage bags in the garage, which were eventually discovered by field mice.

Thankfully, my dad gave up and let the sanitation department deal with it.  But he also had a fair amount of junk accumulated in the house, and I think he was prone to what I often see in male hoarders:  As youngsters, they see their fathers or neighbors turn salvaged building materials into efficient sheds, or build a bank of storage cases in the garage.  They grow up thinking "this is what a man does."  Buying it at a store is for sissies.  So they keep accumulating random junk, but it never translates into that elusive skill at repurposing anything and everything.  Admitting this shortcoming goes against the macho ethos, too.

But I'm pretty good at getting rid of things.  Having moved five times within an 11-year span, it was logical and reasonable to thin out the possessions so that everything could fit in the truck.  At this point, I'm pretty lean and mean.  ...though I often think about all the books I've parted with and wistfully visualize what my library would look like if I'd held onto them.  Some were real treasures.

Oh, well.  Yesterday, however, I found myself in need of a large 3-ring binder, and noticed that there were several on the bottom shelf of a bookcase.  They were full, and I knew what they were.  They were clipped pages from magazines, stored in sheet protectors.

Five or six years ago I subscribed to a variety of periodicals, mainly in hopes of winning some publisher's sweepstakes or other.  They piled up pretty quickly, and I never really had time to read them.  I'd skim an article and think "This is something I could use in the future."  [cue the ominous pre-hoarding soundtrack ... it sounds a bit like the opening theme from Jaws.]

So I got very organized, or maybe OCD is a more accurate term.  I remember spending hours with back issues of my magazines piled up, the binder, scissors and sheet protectors at the ready.  I'd patiently tear out the pages, sometimes complaining silently when an article that started on page 11 broke off, to be continued on half of page 77, with the other half being the continuation of some other article I was saving as well...  It was a lot of work, and took a lot of time, but I was sure that "someday" these articles would be "just what I needed."  And while I never had boxes and boxes of magazines piled in the living room, I do have an entire bottom shelf of a bookcase filled with these binders...which I have NEVER ONCE taken down to thumb through.  I've never needed any of the articles I so lovingly saved.

Yesterday I was somewhat dismayed at this wasted effort.  I took the pages out of the binder, but then thought maybe I should go through all of them [yes, more ominous Hoarders music, a little louder this time!].  Since it was late, I stashed the binder and the loose pages under the bed, but thought about it all day today and tonight.  An episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive had its typical effect on me -- I started thinking about clutter and wanting to do something about it.  During the show there was an ad for that "Neat Desk" scanner gadget that's supposed to "eliminate paper from your life."  I'm not planning on buying one because I have a scanner already.

I also have something called Evernote, which is nothing short of miraculous for preserving things out there in the Cloud.  I use it several times a week, just clipping web pages off the Internet.  Someday, maybe I'll go back and read all this interesting stuff, but until then it sits, paperless, out of sight, out of mind, and completely out of the way.

So, as I indecisively sifted through those loose pages in their slippery sheet protectors, I resolved to check out each article, and if I decided it was a keeper, I'd scan it into Evernote and throw away the paper.

And then, I had an even more wonderful epiphany.  One that would save me even more hours and labor.  Instead of scanning the hard copy into Evernote, why not just do a Google search and see if the article is online?  Then I can click my little elephant (Evernote's icon) and it would be saved just like that.

What a breakthrough.  The very first article I tried this with (something called "How to Order Wine Like a Pro" -- and now you know something about how my mind works), sure enough was right there, full-length, when I searched for it.  It now resides among my ever-growing "hoard" of indispensable online how-toery.

I imagine most of the other articles I supposedly need to keep will be found there too.

And I don't have to buy any binders.  Or sheet protectors.


Popular posts from this blog

A Subway Journey Home

by The Urban Blabbermouth. Comments are welcome! ~ There is a ritual to theNew York City subway system. Once there, you lose your humanity.  You are transformed into a savage, brutal and selfish automaton.  Savage in that you push and shove other riders out of your way to get into the subway car.  Brutal in that you never excuse yourself for any atrocities that you commit to get in the subway car.  Selfish in that you never give up your seat to anyone, no matter how crippled or old or pregnant they are.  Automaton in that you never look at any one else as a human being.

Now there are certain strategies that you can employ to be a successful subway rider.  You can stand by the door and obstruct the way just to be selfish and ornery.  That strategy is designed to increase your standing with your fellow passengers by impressing them with how vicious you can be pushing back at people trying to push into the car.  Whenever I see this strategy employed, I immediately piggy back on it.  I move …

Gone Shopping

by The Urban Blabbermouth
Dracula escorted his newly created undead aide into the store.

"...and you need to sleep in the daytime," he explained.

"But what are we doing here in Sleepy's Mattress store?" asked his aide. "I thought we slept in coffins."

"We are modern now," replied Dracula. "We use a mattress like anyone else. I tell you, after two hundred years of sleeping on rock and dirt, this is a joy. So much more comfortable and you don't have to haul it around from place to place."

"Amazing," said the aide.

"For a newbie like you, maybe you want to go traditional. Sleepy's has a Posturedic that will fit inside a coffin."

"What do you use?" asked the aide.

"I have a sleep-number bed. I love it. Mrs. Dracula can toss and turn and I don't feel it on my side."

"Now that you mention the ladies, I think I will skip the coffin. A moo…

Girl Fantasy

by The Urban Blabbermouth
I am binge watching Lost Girl on Netflix.  It's a fantasy television show where the main character is a succubus.  A succubus is a demon who feeds on sexual energy.  You can imagine, with a premise like that, why this show was on TV for five years or so.  It's a light show, not much heavy drama or violence, but then I have only watched three episodes.

There are issues with Lost Girl.   Let's start with the obvious.  The succubus is a woman, not a man.  If the demon were a man, we would be uninterested in the show.  As we all know, men have that famous second brain that controls them.  It's just men being men to like, want, and actively pursue sex.  That's boring. 

There is a another reason that the succubus is a woman.  This implies that women who like, want, and actively pursues sex can only be demons.   I've got news for you, women have that second brain too.  It's just tiny compared to men's.  Maybe that's why …