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Start with yourself

Many people living in squalor feel they are the only ones who have let their house get so bad. That's not true. Squalor is more common than you think!

(It's just kept hidden behind closed doors most of the time. For obvious reasons.)

There is a reason - it's not laziness

There are many reasons you might be, or become, chronically messy.

Some people grow up in squalor and have learned hoarding habits from their parents. Others, despite growing up in neat houses, have been messy since childhood.

Some people living in squalor were previous neat-freaks, who lost their ability to cope with their house suddenly, as a result of a personal loss. Some descend into squalor on a spiral of depression so gradual they don't even notice it happening.

Some become messy because of their neat-freak-ness; unable to meet their own unrealistically high personal standards, they learned to avoid housework all together.

You are unique so...the reason for your squalor is unique to you.

Your problem is unique - so is the solution

I'm not going to tell you I have the "cure" for your squalor. It would be dishonest! Everyone at Squalor Survivors seeking a solution to their squalor comes with their own set of experiences, beliefs, and biases. Techniques and ideas that work for one person do nothing for someone else's situation.

Rather than prescribing a programme for overcoming your squalor, I encourage you to design your own programme by picking and choosing from the ideas put forth in this site—particularly from the Community section, where all the discussion takes place.

In the discussions about squalor from people who have experienced it, certain themes keep cropping up again and again.

  • Self-worth: why you need to know you already have it in abundance
  • Perfectionism: it paralyzes you, it's not admirable
  • Guilt for past actions you can't change stops you acting now
  • Goals: how are you going to hit your target if you don't have one?
  • Indecision: why? when? what? how? [..meltdown occurs here...]

These are some of the subjects I've tried to tackle in this section.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. Marianne Williamson

Note: This quote is often incorrectly attributed to Nelson Mandela's 1994 inaugural speech. Nelson Mandela's speech can be read on the South Africa Government Online web site.