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Purpose Statement

The primary purpose of Squalor Survivors is to be a reputable online safe haven and resource

  • for people with personal experience (past and/or present) of living in squalor
  • to communicate and share ideas, information, insight and inspiration with each other,
  • in order to support, encourage, and empower people taking ownership of their squalor
  • towards purposeful action which improves their living environment.

An atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding will create a basis for friendships and reduce both the shame we feel and the energy we expend in keeping the squalor secret, which frees us to redirect that energy towards leading happier, more rewarding lives.

Community Participation Policies

The Purpose Statement is the driver behind the following policies:

I would like to thank the two forum members, AngelinaHedgehog and Script, who help out with forum administration as a labour of love.

Any banninations, however, should be blamed on Pigpen the Banninator!

Our privacy policy can be found here.

Participating in the Squalor Survivors community implies that you have read and agree to the following:

Appropriate language

The right to free speech does not equate to an entitlement to a free press. The Community Server software we use censors a number of inappropriate or offensive words (plus "lazy"), replacing the offending words with three asterisks. In addition, the forum administrators can edit or delete inappropriate or offensive content not picked up by the software. "Inappropriate or offensive content" is obviously a subjective term— nevertheless I would rather use trusted and esteemed forum admins to make these judgements than use no judgement at all.

If we write in vulgar/obscene/violent ways about our selves and our life situations, we internalize even MORE self-hatred. Which is probably what led to the squalor in the first place. "I think therefore I am" (Descartes). "I think and say garbage about myself and therefore I am garbage" (Auntie Script).Script

I ask that you please be considerate of yourself and other members in the forums when posting your messages.

Post placement

Each forum has a different focus, so what is appropriate in one forum may not be appropriate in another. Please keep your posts relevant to the focus of the forum to which you are posting. Forum admins can move threads and posts between forums. They can also split a thread which seems to have derailed, and move the resulting threads as they see fit.

  • The Squalor Survivors forum is the main forum for discussing issues which contribute to squalor (i.e. "Why do I...?", squalor hypotheses), as well as factors which enable de-squaloring and household maintenance (i.e. "How do I...?", "How to..."). Introductory posts should go in this forum.
  • Although the first rule of ListZilla is that "there are no rules", ListZilla is an action-oriented forum centered around To-Do and Ta-Da lists ("I will...", "I did...").
    ListZilla is not the ideal forum in which to discuss philosophy of clutter, cleaning techniques, or anything remotely like Theory. Script
  • Byways is the off-topic forum, provided to allow members to share stories about their lives without having to conjure up a squalor angle ("body squalor", "family squalor").
  • Oh, Pigpen, the only forum which doesn't require users to be logged in to post, is for discussion of the website Squalor Survivors, not the issue of squalor. This is where you can post a suggestion for making this site the bestest, most excellent resource for squalor survivors on the web evah, or request technical help with the site. We'll help where resources (time, finances, skills) permit. To improve the likelihood that you'll receive a helpful answer to a technical problem, you need to include as much information as possible about the problem, such as:
    • What page you were on (copy this from your browser's address bar.)
    • What you were trying to do.
    • What you expected to see.
    • What you actually saw (copy and paste error messages if possible.)
    • What browser you are using and the version number (found under the Help menu, select About).
    • What operating system is installed on your computer.


As Squalor Survivors is a support forum, members are not permitted to troll. For our purposes, trolling can be defined as posting specifically for the purpose of deriding the forum's topic/members, and/or baiting its members into endless arguments.

This does not preclude genuine debate based on differing opinions. A diversity of ideas allows you to try out different methods and modify your approach based on your own results. Follow the golden rule, treat others' opinions with the same respect that you would like to receive. There is a difference between challenging issues or ideas and disrespecting people. While ideas can be challenged, people should and will be treated with respect.

Again, categorising a post as a "troll" is a subjective opinion but, as explained above, the forum admin's judgement is the one that counts. Troll posts will be deleted forthwith and, at Pigpen's discretion, the account permanently deleted. If you see a troll, do not respond, it only encourages more trolling. Contact an admin, or click the Report link within the post.


Users of the site will have quickly realised that they can read the forums without having an account or being logged in, thus enabling lurking. Lurking is actively encouraged for several reasons:

  • Not everybody is an extrovert online; squalor survivors who are online-introverts should be equally able to benefit from the experiences of others. And the online-extroverts amongst us feel spurred on by their presence.
  • Lurking before posting allows potential posters to get a feel for the culture of the community (nice, friendly, supportive, quirky); like checking out the water before jumping in.
  • In accordance with the idea that people living in squalor benefit from receiving understanding from others, I'm in favour of psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors, and interested non-squalorous third parties educating themselves about the realities of living in squalor.

If you don't like that last reason, don't post personally identifiable information. Search engines are excluded from the Community section, but it is your responsibility to refrain from posting details you don't want others to see online.

Posts by non-"squalor survivors"

If you grew up in squalor, you may feel the term "squalor survivor" applies to you too. However, the term "squalor survivor" on this site refers to people who are taking personal ownership of a problem with squalor - clutter and/or dirt. Our squalor survivors realise that their messiness is sufficiently out-of-control that it is interfering with their ability to lead the life they want to live. And they want to change. Helping people who have identified someone else's squalor problem is outside our scope. You can show this site to the person you want to help, you can offer to help, but you can't motivate someone else (the motivation has to come from within), or force them to think like you do.

If you're here because you have a relationship with someone else who lives in squalor and you want to talk about your own isssues with that, try these mailing lists:

The last mailing list is associated with the Children of Hoarders website, about growing up in a hoarder's home. I don't read these lists so I can't give any additional info, the addresses are just here in case it helps.

You may not post any content that is copyrighted, unless you either hold the copyright or you have the expressed permission of the author or owner of the copyright on that material (e.g. works with a CreativeCommons licence.) This includes posting the entire text of news stories, articles, etc. It is acceptable to provide a link to copyrighted material, to post brief excerpts, or to paraphrase other works, though I would like you to cite the original source whenever possible. Accessibility issues such as "the original is in frames/requires a subscription/is written in another language, so I can't link to it" do not change the fact that reproducing other people's copyrighted material on these forums is illegal.

You can repost material written for Squalor Survivors' static pages, but again, it's considerate to include a link back to the original page—some of our members are not aware of the site beyond the interactive Community section.

Advertisements and solicitations

Squalor Survivors is intended to be a safe haven for the exchange of ideas, information, insight and inspiration related to overcoming squalor. Members should not post for the purpose of advertising a business with which they are affiliated.

  1. A brief blurb in the signature on posts which genuinely address the issue of living in squalor is fine.
  2. Product review messages that include general information on where an item can be bought are fine. (Product website link, "bought mine at -----, so almost any housewares/hardware/grocery store should carry them")
  3. "Vote for my recipe/cat/bird/photo/whatever" messages on Byways are fine. (If Byways gets too cluttered with these, then we may need to rethink this.)
  4. Outright "selling my stuff" messages are not fine on any of the forums.
  5. Continued "send money to member X" messages (or one message that's bumped repeatedly) are not fine. Suggested alternative: post ONE message, with a very simple request "Trying to raise money for X, for more information please contact me at username@domainname.com, thank you." Inform an admin, who will sticky the post for a day and lock the thread, meaning no replies. Once that post ages off the stickied area, that's it. Any attempts to open up new messages ("Gee, fundraiser, I saw your post about helping member X and I think it's a great idea, but I couldn't answer your post, so I'm starting a new thread so we can talk about this") will be summarily deleted.

Suspension of accounts

Squalor Survivors reserves the right at its sole discretion to restrict, suspend, or terminate your login's access to any part of this community. If you violate the policies of this community, the offending messages will be removed. Any member who violates and/or refuses to comply with the policies of these forums may have their account permanently banned.

...If you've read this far, I appreciate your attention. I hope you find Squalor Survivors helpful in some way!