Dogpatch quickly becomes a kind of snake-biting-its-tail thing. If you haven't vacuumed for eight months, one more month hardly seems to matter. The dust drifts get only slightly higher. But the longer you put off vacuuming, or recycling, or laundry, or dishwashing, the more impossible whatever it is becomes. In time, you get dulled to the horror. So what if stuff in the sink is composting? Who cares if you can't see the furniture anymore? You're a recluse, fer crissakes.
There must be a starting point somewhere, though, for every Dogpatch owner/creator, where you can see the badlands ahead of you. Weren't there big flashing warning signs? "Danger! Crazy Country Ahead! No Emergency Services Past This Point!"
I guess there were early hints that I was headed here. There's no formal name for the disease, to my knowledge, as it's a grab bag of signs and symptoms. What I'm calling "Dogpatch" disease, as opposed to the specific label I've given my homestead, is a mix of depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social phobia, agoraphobia, active and passive hoarding, and despair.
When I was nine, my case of "Dogpatch" was incubating, but it was still in hiding. Specifically, it was hiding in my closet, which was a niche across one side of my bedroom, about six feet wide and a foot and a half deep, closed with sliding doors. Those sliding doors were handy because I could throw heaps of stuff - toys, old notebooks, sneakers - into one half of the closet, up to a height where gravity would normally pull everything out into the room if the door had swung on hinges. I took extreme advantage of this discovery,which greatly simplified "cleaning" my room.
Somehow the closet escaped the observation of my normally eagle-eyed mother, who had obsessions of her own involving "Dogpatch." Then my pet turtle took it into his head that life beyond the plastic tropical island might be better. He escaped his bowl and vanished.
After searching the obvious spots under the bed and behind the desk, I was forced to empty the closet under the gaze of my disapproving family. It took a while, as every item had to be lifted out separately. Eventually, the turtle turned up in a bottom layer of stuff, where he had spelunked in from under the door. He was dusty but unharmed. There are plenty of air spaces in clutter.
The turtle trauma imprinted a warning on my brain, but it was the wrong kind, It didn't say - don't fill your closet to this level. It said emptying the closet is a terrible experience. I don't think my closet at home ever got as bad as it was before the night of the lost turtle, but I think that was the first evidence of the Dogpatch event horizon. The filled closets got bigger, and turned into whole rooms, and the filled rooms spread, until it was all Dogpatch.