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Defining squalor

"Your website is about... squalor?!"  Many people seem bemused that I even admit to an interest in squalor. We don't talk about squalor much, like if we ignore it, it doesn't exist. We've shared some personal stories and shown the pictures as proof that squalor does, in fact, exist, even outside slum footage on the evening news. It can be found in suburbia, high rises, rural dwellings, mansions, and trailer parks. What is our current understanding of squalor? What IS squalor?

Squalor is...
  • Always being late to everything because I can't find clean socks or underwear, can't find the top that I want to wear with a particular pair of pants, can't find my shoes, or my keys, etc.... (DirtyDishes)
  • Anger. (zombie)
  • A bare-bones confession that opens up great dialog among down-to-earth (i.e, REAL) people from all walks of life. (Little Ninja)
  • Boring (Lunchlady)
  • CHAOS. (Cincyrecycler)
  • Cold and unwelcoming (Lunchlady)
  • Cringing when there's a knock at the door. (Pigpen)
  • Depression made visible. (Script)
  • Despair. (Fivecat)
  • Destruction of things that you used to put so much value in. (zombie)
  • Dirty, perishable, wet or smelly--something to do with actual decay or built-up hard-to-remove sludge. (Celery)
  • Dreading opening the front door because it doesn't feel like home. It isn't a place where you relax.  It's where you hide. (TooMuchStuph)
  • Embarrassment. (zombie)
  • Everyday the Fear I will go back to squalor. (missmaggieelizabeth)
  • Far too many objects taking the place of memories. (ramatama)
  • Fear. (zombie)
  • The fear I am going crazy because now I can NOT quit cleaning my house. I have become obscessed by the squalor I was in, into becoming a clean freak. There seems to be no happy medium for me. (missmaggieelizabeth)
  • The fear of the knowledge I am screwed up and do not know how to fix it and become normal again (missmaggieelizabeth)
  • Filling my brain with pesky little stuff so I don't have to deal with things that are important. (lunchlady)
  • Frenzied and hostile - the opposites of calm and peaceful. (TooMuchStuph)
  • Giving me lots of excuses. (Lunchlady)
  • Going to extreme lengths to make sure no one gets the bright idea to pay you a surprise visit.(MessyCowgirl)
    • Going to extreme lengths to make a person think you're not home when they decide to pay you a surprise visit anyway! (MessyCowgirl)
  • Having great balance because you've learned to dance over heaps of stuff. (MessyCowgirl)
  • Imprisonment. (zombie)
  • A "keep away" sign.  It tells the world I'm afraid or unworthy, so please don't trespass. (Celery)
  • Knowing you can always stash the dirty dishes in the oven or a box if you are expecting company because washing every dish you own would take 4 hours. (MessyCowgirl)
    • Finding the box of dishes a year later and forgetting you ever owned them! (MessyCowgirl)
  • Knowing that water becomes stagnant when it sits. (MessyCowgirl)
  • Looking around & being horrified that everything is cluttered or needs cleaning or some sort of attention—and it's gonna be me. (catcat)
  • Looking at "The pile," knowing it's destroying your life, and doing nothing but shifting it around. (Thomas)
  • Loud. The visual noise of it can be deafening. (TooMuchStuph)
  • Not being at home in your home. (zombie)
  • Not enough space for the things we feel we must keep. (ramatama)
  • Not knowing how much is enough . (ramatama)
  • Not home. It's a house filled with stuff and grime. (TooMuchStuph)
  • Only one facet of my extraordinary personality! (Little Ninja)
  • OVERWHELMING. (Cincyrecycler)
  • Pain and fear. (Fivecat)
  • The pain I caused my friends and family denying them access to me as a person by keeping them out of my house. I can never go back and undo that. (missmaggieelizabeth)
  • The pain I have now because I cannot visit my Mom because of her squalor. (missmaggieelizabeth)
  • The pain of denying myself children because I was afraid I would do to them what my parents did to me being raised in squalor. (missmaggieelizabeth)
  • Picking a few items out of the pile labeled Mount Washme so you can have clean clothes for at least the next day.(MessyCowgirl)
    • Picking a few items out of the laundry pile and sniffing to see if it's wearable. (MessyCowgirl)
  • Pushing away and killing creativity. (Lunchlady)
  • The result of countless small acts of self-neglect. (Margaret)
  • Scorned by a society insecure and superficial enough to judge us by it (Little Ninja)
  • Self-abuse. (zombie)
  • Self-hatred. (zombie)
  • Sink pudding. (atropa)
  • Socially incorrect. (rocketshe)
  • Something we have to take care of first, before we can tackle something else—even more overwhelming—that we're afraid of. (Pigpen)
  • A state of impoverishment. (Troubledmom)
  • A subjective pejorative judgment by another person who is only willing in certain cases where it is "deserved" to look beyond the surface. (Vildachaya)
  • Suffocating under a stack of something. (Inga Rea)
  • A "temporary" setback and aspect of our lives that brought us all together on common ground (Little Ninja)
  • The term that I had never thought to apply to myself.  When I found SS I did, and it changed me. (atropa)
  • Thinking in terms of just-in-cases that never happen. (ramatama)
  • Thinking  it is up to you to provide that very one thing to help someone out. (ramatama)
  • Too many postponed decisions. (ramatama)
  • A trap . (Cincyrecycler)
  • Unnecessary mess. (Mr. Fivecat)
  • A visual expression of pain. (BDG)
  • A visual representation of emotional distress and a symptom of deeper problems (Little Ninja)
  • Walking down the street catching glimpses into other people's windows and wishing you had a home like theirs. (Lorelei)
  • Wasting life. (zombie)