Family Can't Help

“You can come but your stuff can’t.”

This was what my client heard when preparing for an upcoming move. Her home, like many overstuffed spaces, had “prized possessions” meticulously stacked from floor to ceiling. Her family members were desperate when they asked for my help. The more they had tried to encourage their hoarder to purge, the more defiant she became. Battles had erupted and feelings were hurt.

With a week to go before the move, I met with the client and we reviewed what was happening, how she felt and what she wanted. Together we outlined the steps we were going to take, and what she was ready to do.

I first went in with a crew and we sorted the entire apartment, putting like with like. Two of my assistants spent five hours just sorting clothes. Once the home was sorted I booked another visit with my client to start the purge. We wrote out guidelines again and posted them on the wall to keep us focused. Goal #1: Reduce clothing by 80 percent. “Can’t be done!” they said.

We had a miraculous day full of laughter, fun, conversation and phenomenal success. The client stuck with the goal and reduced her clothes by a whopping 81 percent! Over 100 bags of clothing left her house that day. We kept the clothes that she loved, that fit her, that were in good shape. Any clothes that were stained, torn, worn or didn’t fit were non-negotiable.

Hoarders build a wall of safety around themselves. Our stuff comforts us. My client had grown up in a hoarding household. She didn’t like it but she didn’t know another way to live. Her mother was a giver and used to shower her with wonderful treasures. It was impossible for my client to say no, so the possessions accumulated. Forty years later, her life had become a lost buried treasure, hidden under a mountain of ‘prized possessions.’

We traded clutter for confidence, chaos for calm and stuff for serenity. When I first met my client she was a broken, emotionally exhausted and defeated woman. Once her burden was lifted she transformed into someone who is peaceful and ready to move forward to an EASY way of living.

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