Episode 50: Does My Stash Make me a Hoarder?



Little Cabin Knits is a biweekly podcast all about knitting, mental health, advocacy, and life happenings here in the wilds of Alaska with a little bit of Hygge sprinkled throughout. I’m your host Emily. I am a knitter, crafter, mental health therapist, and explorer of my home state of Alaska


This week’s episode contains:

Admin

’raise a cuppa

On the couch

On the Shelf

Personal Skill Set

A time for Hygge

Contemplations Corner


Admin:

· Andersmillknits on IG and Ravelry

· Between Knits and Purls on Youtube

· You can find all the show notes on our website: https://andersmillknits.wixsite.com/website

· If you have a question, comment, or would like to be a guest on Little Cabin Knits you can email me at littlecabinknitsAK@gmail.com

· We have a special event coming up: Knitty Pajama Party with Steph and I will be happening November 13th at 8:30 Eastern Standard Time, so set your calendars and bring popcorn and knitting!

o I’ve made a place holder for the live stream on Youtube, and I have made an announcement in the Ravelry Group of Between Knits and Purls, with the link to actually be on the show with us (as in you will be on camera)!!!

· It’s official! We are having a knit along (KAL) in January that I am calling “Project Down Along” I had a great response from you all when I mentioned the idea last episode and not only that but a new friend to the podcast, one “knitterCat” on Ravelry has very generously started off the prize pool by gifting us 2 skeins from her stash!!!! Catt I can’t tell you how much your generosity means to me and all the participants of the PAL.

o So, Come January 1st we will all be working on finishing all those languishing projects in the “project Down Along”

o use the hashtag #projectdownalong2022 on IG and I’ll also open a FO thread in our Revelry group of Between Knits and Purls.

o PAL (project Along) will run from January 1- March 31st

o And if you know of anyone/maker or generous doner like Catt, who would like to contribute to the prize pool let me know!


Raise A Cuppa

As I sit here, writing up my show notes, snow has begun falling outside my window. I love winter but I don’t like the darkness and so I am always happy when the snow falls as it brightens up everything.

These past two weeks have been so much fun my friends! No, we haven’t gone on any adventures, we’ve been hunkered down at the house, slowly cleaning it up, going through things and either donating a lot of items or putting things away in the storage unit until next summer when camping is on the agenda again.

Mr. Radio and I had a John Candy Movie marathon this weekend. He has long been one of my favorite comedians and I miss his comedy. He died while filming the movie “Wagons East.”


We started out by watching “Stripes” why? Because this girl can’t resist the combo of Bill Murray and john Candy in one movie! Then I introduced Mr. Radio to my favorite John Candy Movie, “Who’s Harry Crumb?” we then moved on to “The Great Outdoors,” “Only the Lonely” Which turns out was Maureen O’Hara’s last movie, she had come out of retirement to film this movie and while I love the show apparently it didn’t do to well in the movie theaters back then. We rounded out the Day with his last movie “Wagon’s East” and I felt well satisfied with our endeavors. Yes, we still have many more classics to watch like “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” “Home Alone” “Delirious” (another favorite of mine) and “Uncle Buck” but my goodness we watched five movies in one weekend! We had to call it quits somewhere! Also, we are finding it hard to get ahold of some of his lesser-known movies, such as Delirious but I still hold out hope!


I’ve been slowly writing thank you cards to everyone from the wedding, it is a surprisingly big job and so I am taking it a bit at a time. My goal is to have the last of the cards sent out by Thanksgiving.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, we will be spending it with my sister’s family, and I plan on doing some knitting and diving into creating the wedding album that weekend. I can’t wait! It is my favorite holiday after all.


The work on the house continues and I did get a tad bit miffed at them today because I had asked them not to do any work on the house today because I had a big test I had to take, and I also presented to our Board of Directors all about Trauma Informed Care.


Well during the test all of a sudden, the house was shaking and there was a lot of load banging going on right outside my window. I hollered to ask them to stop but they couldn’t hear me, and I couldn’t leave as the test was timed. So, when it was all done, I threw on my coat and boots and marched out there and gave them a little piece of my mind. They apologized saying they had forgotten and that they will not work on the house the rest of today. Thankfully they kept their promise.


Over the coming days they plan on doing some last big fixes and since I will be out of the house attending an in-person training to be certified to teach the non-violent de-escalation curriculum, my hope is that it will be all done by this Saturday and we can finally have our house to ourselves again. We are currently at 2 months and 3 weeks of the construction process and I am exhausted from it all.



On the Couch:

· Snowberry by Shannon Cook

o Yarn: Alaska Jude’s Yarn in her SW Wool worsted weight monster skein of 8 oz.

o The yarn doesn’t have a colorway it is soft greens, blues and whites.

o This yarn was a gift from a dear old friend who surprised me with it yesterday, July 20th by stopping by my house. I cried it was so wonderful!

o I cast this on during my birthday camping trip in July.

o I knit on this for a little bit the other day and by my calculations I am about halfway through. I can’t wait to have this done as it’s cold outside and my neck is crying out for this on my walks!


· Jelly Roll Blanket by Kay Jones of the Bakery Bears

o This pattern was gifted to me by my cohost Steph of Farmsteadknits on IG

o This is a scrappy blanket using leftovers and mini skeins.

o I am using my Merry Everything and Happy in July swap packages to knit this up.

o I am currently on the 2nd row of the blanket. The first row was all in shade of green and the 2nd row is all pinks. I am thinking of the next row being in shades of brown or blue. Not sure which as yet.



On the Shelf:

· My second cast on of the Alaska Skirt by wee_ewe_knits

o Knit with my own hand dyed worsted weight silk and wool yarn in a sky blue and purple pink.

o Knit with size 5 and 6 US needles

o Knitting size 6 of the pattern.

o Last time I was officially knitting on this was back in May of this year. Bu it’s cold outside now and I wanted my Alaska Skirt to keep me warm, especially in the mornings so I broke it back out and knit on it until it was done! At one point I felt like I’d been knitting on it forever and it just wasn’t growing, you know how that goes, you measure it at the beginning of the day and by the end it appears it hasn’t even grown an inch? Well, Mr. Radio and I had a John Candy marathon day, and I busted this bad boy out during that! I ended the skirt with 2”s of my raspberry pink colorway and then bound off using the super stretchy bind off. Then I immediately wove in the ends and plunked it into the sink to soak. Oh. My. Goodness did it grow!!!! I love the finished length though as it hits just below my knees and keeps my legs toasty warm.

o I’ve heard from a couple people since I finished this skirt that they are planning on casting it on. I want to encourage you all to go for it! I love both my skirts and honestly, I wouldn’t mind knitting another one!



Personal Skill Set

Last week I got a letter from a listener asking me if I would touch on the subject of hoarding. Hoarding is not one of my specialties, though I have researched it a bit as I have had past clients with the disorder. But it has been a little bit since I sat with this subject, so it was fun and interesting to dive back into the subject and all my past research and notes.


I bet we all wonder sometimes if we are hoarders just by our yarn stash alone. I hope what I have to say will not only shed some light on the subject but also give you some hope and direction as well.

What is Hoarding disorder exactly?


Hoarding is a disorder characterized by difficulty in parting with or discarding possession.

Here are a few of the symptoms of hoarding disorder:


– The first signs are build-up of clutter and refusal to throw away things that are not needed.

– Other symptoms include:

• Acquiring a lot of items that are not needed despite lacking space

• Persistent difficulty throwing out things

• A need to keep items

• Filling up the rooms with clutter rendering some things unusable

• Indecisiveness

• Procrastination

• Avoidance personalities


Some things to know about this disorder:


Hoarding is a response to Trauma.


– A person who feels as though life is out of control will seek control somewhere in their life.

– Current or past fears of not having enough of an item, in particular food, will cause clients to react with hoarding behaviors.

– Sentimental value is attached to items- example attaching past memories with items and thus it is traumatic to part with the item.


Hoarding is also characterized by a collection of items with a stated intent to use the item, but then that intent is never realized. Hoarding may be recognized as an absence of motivation to utilize the resources and items at their disposal.


Hoarding is not messiness. A person who is messy, leaves items around, perhaps even leaving milk out on the counter for days, does not mean that the person is hoarding, it simply means they are messy.

When I look around at the random piles of projects I’m working on, or the skeins of yarn I have yet to put away it’s not that I am hoarding yarn, because I use the items every day, I have the motivation to use them. Rather it is that I may be a little messy or in need of organizational skills, but I am not hoarding yarn.

However, let’s say that our conversation has brought up awareness in your life around hoarding concerns or someone close to you. What do you do?


Well, the number one thing NOT to do is go in there and start telling them what to do with their things, and without any regard for their feelings start going through their possessions to either throw away or donate. The show Hoarding is not reality. You can not expect to be able to go in and clean up a person’s space and expect them to a) be grateful to you for doing that and b) have the hoarding concerns taken care of. In fact, research has shown that if you do this that the person with hoarding disorder will have more than 1/3 more possessions then when you started if you come back to visit them 6 months later.

Hoarding is a complex disorder that can not be solved simply by bringing in a cleaning and organizational crew.


Okay then what are your options then?


First things first: protect your relationship with that person:


Loving conversation about your concerns. Use empathy and “I” statements when talking to them. Let them know How this behavior is affecting you, those around you, and the person themselves.

Listen to them without judgement. Instead of coming into the situation demanding to know what is wrong with them, instead wonder “What happened to them to cause this condition?”


Back to empathy for a moment. Put yourself in their shoes: How would you feel if someone came into your home and started telling you what a filthy place it was, or even just started throwing your belongings away?


In other words: Explore the WHY behind the behavior.


To test the waters, as they say, you may invite them to giveaway or discard and item to ascertain the level of distress they exhibit but DO NOT FORCE THE ISSUE.


Let’s talk for a moment about methods you may use to Explore the WHY behind the behavior. There are many methods to engage the conversation to find out the reason behind the gathering of items:

Like I said previously, you may express concern: “I remember you used to have less items around you. It appears that these items are making it hard to navigate around your space. Can you tell me what happened?”


Or you may take a more directive approach and say something like any of the following, “Tell me more about why these things are here.” “Tell me about these things.” “I see you have new items…tell me more about that.”


Important!!! Repeat that you are concerned about them. “I’m concerned about you. I am worried as I can see that there are a lot of items piled here and I am concerned that this is a significant risk to yourself and others as we try to navigate this space.”


Even if the person replies with “Oh I’ll move that right away” or “I’ll take care of it tomorrow” you come back and ask, “how can I help you with that?” and “What would be useful to you? Because I won’t be able to leave today if I see this is still here. This is going to be a problem that I will continue to be concerned about.”


In the end though what is needed is professional help. The most important step to take in situations like this is to advocate and encourage professional help from a mental health therapist in your area.

In closing. The next time you look at your stash you may wonder if you have too much. That is a fair question. Will you be able to use it all in your lifetime? Are you actively engaged in knitting or crafting with your supplies, or, like my stamp collection, are they taking up valuable space that may be used more effectively?


For me, I know my stash is large, however, I also know I am actively engaged in using the items I have collected. Some of them hold great emotional value to me, like the yarn I bought while on my honeymoon. But others I hold onto because I thought I might use them someday, like the yarn I unwound from some sweaters I got at the secondhand store. Or the stamp collection I got at a garage sale that was a great deal, but I am not a paper crafter at heart and really, I have few intentions of ever using them. These things I can readily let go of and so can you if you take a moment to contemplate your intentions and motivations around the items you have collected.


Hoarders help Group:

Hoarding Support Groups and Help for Families | Hoarders.com

Support Groups - Hoarding (iocdf.org)


What is Hoarding?

What Is Hoarding Disorder? (psychiatry.org)

Hoarding: The Basics | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA


A time for Hygge:

I think a lot of us see the Hygge movement as surrounding us with comfortable things. Our goal is to create a feeling of comfort all around us. This may mean that instead of acquiring things, we actually relieve ourselves of items that may be stifling our ability to find comfort in our spaces. At its core, hygge is simplicity. It values simplicity in possessions, time, and anything else that may clutter up our lives and provides stress rather than relief.


Here is one simple method to start decluttering your possessions to create a more stress relieving environment in your home.


If you are feeling overwhelmed invite a friend or loved one over to help provide support and encouragement during this process. But make sure that they will not pressure you with their engagement.

Collect three large plastic bins.


Label each of the bins as follows:

1) To keep

2) To donate

3) To throw away


Then chose 1 space in your house to go through. Only one mind you. If that is a larger space, like the kitchen, divide that space in half and only work on that one half today.


To give you extra help in this process, it may also be helpful to set a timer for 15-minute intervals. Every 15 minutes you take a break and do something else, like knit or watch a few short YouTube videos.

In addition, I may also help to put a time limit on your activity for the day. Say a total of 1-2 hours. You’d be surprised how much you get done in that time frame.


As you go through your room, you will simply pick up an item and determine if

a) Have you used it in the last 3 months?

b) Does it have a purpose in your home? (even if that purpose is to provide you comfort or joy)

c) Would this be better off in someone else’s space?


As you go through each item place them in the appropriate bin.


When all is said and done, take the trash bin to the trash, put the donate bin in the car, and, if you are not to tired, you may now put back the items in your keep bin in its rightful place in your home.


A last note: one thing that I always find useful is to take the donate items to the donation location the same day. I find that if I leave them either in my house, or my car I will find an excuse to go through it and take out items I think I need.


I also always reward myself. Usually by taking Mr. Radio with me and we go out to eat after dropping off the donated items. This way I get a treat, but I am not bringing in new items into the home after all the work I just did.


Contemplation Corner:

“All Joy reminds. It is never a possession, always a desire for something longer ago or further away or still ‘about to be’.”

-C. S. Lewis

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