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What is a Pig Sty?

Michael Pollick
Updated Feb 22, 2024
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Housekeeping habits can vary widely from person to person, ranging from completely antiseptic laboratory "clean rooms" to squalid rooms piled high with food containers and the food they once contained. On this end of the cleanliness spectrum lies the messy house conditions known as a pig sty. A true pig sty is not just disorganized or cluttered, but generally comes close to becoming a public health hazard and/or eyesore.

The creation of a pig sty is no overnight project. Efforts to discourage a build-up of garbage and other effluvia have most likely been abandoned, allowing trash to accumulate in layers. Before any real cleaning can begin, extensive garbage collection is often required to expose the actual floor. Because the mess has been allowed to fester for a long period of time, pest control services may also be required.

There are some people who prefer the disorganized environment of a pig sty to the organized but somewhat sterile environment of an acceptably clean home. The time and effort required to bring the area up to society's standards could be better spent working on other projects or hobbies, for example, or the occupants may have grown up in less pristine households and feel more at ease in a disorganized environment as adults.

Some believe there is a difference between a heavily cluttered home and a true pig sty. A home may become messy or disorganized because of a lack of storage space or a home owner's reluctance to throw away items which may have some long-lasting importance. Items which are clearly disposable are not disposed of regularly, and other basic chores such as dishwashing, laundry storage and kitchen cleaning are also ignored completely or performed only when absolutely necessary for health and safety reasons.

For some pig sty owners, the root cause of the problem may be economic. Hiring a professional housekeeper can be a difficult proposition for those with lower incomes or fixed incomes. Health problems may also make it difficult for certain people to maintain their homes in a sanitary fashion. They may not enjoy living in squalor, but they also lack the resources to turn a dirty place back into an acceptable living space.

Others who live in a pig sty environment may also suffer from emotional or mental conditions which affect their overall self-image. Depression, for example, could cause some sufferers to lose interest in maintaining their homes and personal appearance. Some people have compulsive behaviors or personality disorders which manifest themselves in "creative chaos" environments or pack rat behavior. They do not necessarily perceive their living space as being dirty, but simply disorganized or readily fixable.

Once a pig sty has been successfully renovated, it is important that homeowners understand the reasons and circumstances that lead to the squalid living conditions and avoid resuming the same patterns of behavior in the future.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to WiseGEEK, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

Discussion Comments

By anon92350 — On Jun 27, 2010

Great article!

Could you write a follow-up article detailing the de-pigging of one's house? Thanks, Wayne M.

Michael Pollick

Michael Pollick

As a frequent contributor to WiseGEEK, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range...
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