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Fandom vs. Clutter

No one except me can see who answered what on this poll, and I won't be looking. If you'd like to comment, discuss, or elaborate on your answers in the comments, please do.

Poll #1238274 Fandom vs. Cluttered Houses

Do you consider yourself a fan or part of fandom, and is your home or personal space markedly cluttered?

Yes, I am part of fandom; no, my space is not cluttered.
Yes, I am part of fandom; yes, my space is cluttered.
No, I am not part of fandom; no, my space is not cluttered.
No, I am not part of fandom; yes, my space is cluttered.

If you said your space was cluttered, how would you describe the clutter?

Many of the available surfaces are covered, but the floor and furniture are clear.
Many of the available surfaces are covered, and there's some stuff on the floor, but the furniture is clear.
There are large piles on the floor, but there's plenty of room to walk and the furniture is mostly clear.
There are large piles on the floor and paths are starting to form, but there's still space to walk and the furniture is mostly clear.
There are paths through the piles on the floor, but the furniture is mostly clear.
There are paths through the piles on the floor and the furniture is starting to fill up.
There are paths through the piles on the floor and parts of the house are inaccessible.
Much of the house is inaccessible.
My main living space is relatively uncluttered, but I have more than one junk room (not counting traditional junk rooms like the attic, basement, etc.) or have otherwise lost part of the house to clutter.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 10th, 2008 06:19 pm (UTC)
Actually, the floors are mostly clear. But not the furniture.
Aug. 10th, 2008 06:32 pm (UTC)
*grin* Weirdo outlier.

Srsly, I wrote the escalating series of options based on my own experience of clutter, so if your experience doesn't match it, choose whatever strikes you as the closest equivalent. I considered using the four-point squalor scale, but it passes far too quickly through the kinds of clutter most people are prone to (stages one and two) and gives unequal attention to horror-house conditions that aren't even represented in this poll (stage four: much of the house is full or has only paths cleared, feces or rotting food are routinely present).
Aug. 11th, 2008 03:25 pm (UTC)
I would say that my home is a bit like a farm at the edge of the jungle. From time to time, I am overcome, with piles and boxes and stuff, (at the stage where there are paths through the piles) and periodically, I beat all that back, and have a few shining moments (weeks, even) of cleanliness and order, before entropy begins to nibble at the edges of my life.

Now I will argue- it is not all me, I do live with an SO who seems to think that clear horizontal surfaces are unnatural, and must be covered.

Edited at 2008-08-11 03:26 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 12th, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC)
Interesting answer. I think of the fandom subculture, not just fanaticism, but there's a generation gap--older fans are more likely to be part of a formal fandom, younger fans don't feel the need to clump together in the same way. It sounds like "fan" is slowly sliding back toward its old meaning of "fanatic."

What do you mean by being a fan of things/people?
Aug. 12th, 2008 09:18 am (UTC)
Can I ask why, in the second question, the furniture appears to be sacrosanct? Do most people honestly clutter their floors before they dare set things on the couches or end tables?

The furniture fills up way before the floor, with me. I went with "paths through the floor piles and furniture starting to fill", but really it's the other way round -- the couch and loveseat are hopeless, the tables are full up, the counter is covered, and the floor is starting to accumulate small piles" (though there are exceptions -- I don't count the kitchen table's liberal layer of paints, brushes, water bowl, and stuff-in-the-process-of-being-painted as clutter, because I pretty much long ago decided that the kitchen table would be the official painting place). When I had a queen-sized bed, I slept in an area smaller than a twin bed, the majority of its surface being devoted to the stuffed animal collection and books (and occasional papers and craft supplies and clothes).

Maybe because I live alone -- I'm the only one using the furniture, so there's no one to argue about not having a place to sit with? But one would think that would apply even more strongly to floors; everyone in a household uses those!
Aug. 12th, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC)
I wrote it that way because my own experience of clutter is that stuff that lands on the couch, bed, or any other large piece of furniture I use frequently, winds up on the floor when the furniture gets too close to being unusable. My couch and bed *have* to be relatively clear, or I feel like the house is uninhabitable. Meanwhile, my floor could head merrily toward "paths between the piles" stage, and I'd only register it as ARRGH SO MESSY.

In retrospect, that was a bad metric. If I rewrote the poll, I'd find a way to describe stages of clutter that didn't rely as heavily on the exact location of the mess. (At least until the end stages. There's a major psychological step between "bed is half-covered" and "bed is covered, I sleep elsewhere.")

Maybe because I live alone -- I'm the only one using the furniture, so there's no one to argue about not having a place to sit with? But one would think that would apply even more strongly to floors; everyone in a household uses those!

I live alone, too, so I can spread out at will. My stuff accumulates at the edges of the floors first because I need to use the furniture, and if the couch fills up, I don't have another one. Floors, well, they're everywhere, and one patch is like another as long as it's not where my foot needs to be.

It's always been that way with me. Even when I was a kid, I'd rather stack my things on the floor than shove them randomly into a cabinet. Cabinets, drawers, and shelves are meant to be organized; I hate seeing a row of books with a row of knickknacks and clutter in front of them, or a drawer filled with random garbage. The floor isn't supposed to be a holding place at all, which means it's only temporary, which means it's okay that it's not organized, and--well, I didn't say my brain made sense.

So what kind of clutter bothers you most? Is there some kind of mess that symbolizes to you that the place is officially Too Far Gone and it's time to clean?
Aug. 16th, 2008 02:18 am (UTC)
See, as long as the floor is relatively clear, the rest of it is just "stuff I can put away any time" -- it's my surfaces that are temporary, for me. I mean, if the floor's clear, I could walk the stuff to wherever it goes anytime I like. :) Counters/tables/whatnot are supposed to hold stuff, so it's okay to cache things there as a "deal with later" designation -- it's out, so I'll see it and eventually handle it, right? (Answer: yeah, right. Someday, several years from the time of deposit.)

I used to quote that teeny poem of Shel Silverstein's to my parents when they demanded I clean my room:

I thought my floor
Was a drawer.

I would shove everything to the edges of the room and call it clean (hey, there's a big free section of floor in the middle, it's clean!), and it drove them nuts. :)

I don't mind shoving things into cabinets, either; out of sight, out of mind. As a kid, of course, tossing everything into the closet was the second line of defence against the Parental Inquisition, after the walls were vetoed. Now it's pretty much the same -- cabinets/drawers are where stuff goes, so if it's in a drawer it's put away! Never mind that there's pencils in the pyjama drawer, at least it's out of sight and the surfaces look nice and clean.

what kind of clutter bothers you most?

I didn't mention it in my comments before, but food stuff is Right Out -- I don't mind a pile of dirty dishes in the sink, but they must be at least marginally rinsed, and nothing that will attract bugs is allowed to sit there OR on the counters. Mess is one thing; bacteria another.

Other than that... the floor is generally what bothers me first. If I can't walk, I feel like a slob -- like I'm careening toward becoming one of those horror houses you read about or see on tv, where whole rooms are filled with detritus. Really, really messy counters will eventually drive me crazy -- the fifth or sixth time a pile teeters over and falls on me/the floor/spills/whatever, I get vicious and start clearing off stuff. There's just so many times I can have old biology tests fall into the food I'm preparing, or knock over the water for the painting -- messes that try to make MORE messes must be killed.

After that, it's kind of like what you said about the bookshelves, but more general: any "decorated" area, where I've made an effort to make it look nice (bookshelf of sorted books, surface where a collection is displayed), I hate to see clutter overtake, and will eventually get round to fixing, even if it's only to pile the stuff on some more multipurpose surface. (My father would say, if I hated it that much the clutter wouldn't be there, but ppplllbbbt! to that. Clutter happens.)

I dream about living in one of those beautiful, "modernistic" homes where everything is clean angles and stainless steel -- I think it's absolutely beautiful, and I wish my living space could look like that. Unfortunately, I seem to collect standards of beauty that I can never meet, and that's just one more of them. I think paper lives to stalk me. And as long as I have this many hobbies, to say nothing of collections, it's a fair guess that my surfaces will always be under siege.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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