September 14, 2009

Are You a Hoarder?

A&E television is showing a series of programs on Monday nights featuring people who are hoarders. Some of them hoard animals, others hoard what looks like trash; all of them have serious conditions that cause them to continue the behavior. Since the show debuted, there has been a lot of interest in the condition and I find that people refer to themselves as hoarders.

I am working with a young woman who says that she is a hoarder; however, she is just someone who has accumulated too much stuff. It doesn’t fit her space or her life. She is very good at making decisions about what needs to go, but she is less decisive when she finds things that have some sentimental value to her. Things as mundane as old t-shirts become “keepsakes.”

I face this challenge a lot when clients attribute meaning to things that look meaningless to other people. It is important to respect the individual’s feelings about the object and avoid creating a situation where getting rid of it will create stress.

I encourage my clients who have trouble letting go of things to take pictures of them, which take up much less room than the collection of objects. Other ideas include creating memory boxes, scrapbooks, quilts or collages out of the items.

True hoarders often refuse to give up anything they have amassed, as I wrote about previously. If you know someone who is a hoarder, there are professionals who can work with him or her. Hoarders cannot help themselves; they need guidance, direction and support. If you are a hoarder, or just someone who has trouble letting go of things, you can benefit from the services that a professional organizer has to offer.

Do you have trouble getting rid of things? Click on comments, below, and tell us.

Organized by Marcie: Getting you organized so you have time to do what you love to do!
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