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Posted: 15 October 2020 - 08:41 PM
Hi Survivor

That is FANTASTIC what all you did there.
So important to take the time needed and also have the after care for maintaining all the progress.

You did a wonderful thing making it so your parents could age gracefully in their neat and safe home.
Hoarding Family Survivor
Posted: 15 October 2020 - 06:12 PM
I was raised by hoarding parents who would be classified among the worst of any examples I've seen on hoarder TV programs. Some rooms were filled above the eye level, 6' high or more, with no clear pathways, the doors unable to be opened without pushing hard to let a thin person barely squeeze in. You could get trapped in a room and have to dig yourself out if something nearby fell into the little remaining space allowing the door to open at all.

A large portion of the clutter was due to materials and supplies intended to be used for my parent's occupations in Christian ministries to hospital patients and juvenile inmates. Much of these materials were regularly being donated by well-meaning supporters of the ministry who didn't know the havoc and chaos it was causing with my parents who never refused a donation. In fact, my parents would make regular trips to pickup the materials. The constant inflow was a serious problem because the distribution outflow was impossible for them to maintain, since the materials were mostly seasonal (Christmas, Easter, etc.).

I hired professional organizers to help solve the problem. Although it took a lot of time and expense, I was able to accomplish the decluttering using several solutions. We had purchased a large storage shed building several years before, which they filled up too. But we were able to use that shed as a key part of the solution. We decluttered and organized it, then dedicated that space exclusively for ministry materials, while at the same time declaring the house to be off limits for any such item. We also stopped all donations until the storage shed had the space allocated for it.

This created a clear separation between home and work items. Ministry items were not allowed in the home. Donations were never recontinued because they had more materials than they could ever use for the remaining years of their ministry. Their decline in mobility as they aged provided additional motivation to not restart donations. They had tried in the past to dedicate one bedroom for ministry items, but that wasn't successful because they filled it up without removing the items from the rest of the house.

The shed was able to free up one whole room to be organized and cleared as a critical first step to give working space and shelve for future organizing. Then we used that space to organize the rest of the house, one room at a time.

The process took about 2 years because I knew that it wouldn't be successful if we didn't truly organize the newly cleared space and reinforce organizing behaviors on a regular basis, quickly addressing any return to hoarding activities. I had the organizer visit every Saturday for 4-8 hours.

I'm very satisfied that I spent the time and money to do this because I was able to have my parents stay at home for home care and treatment as much as possible, with only brief temporary stays in rehab centers instead of putting them into long term convalescent or hospice facilities. Home care would've been impossible in their cluttered hoarding state.
Posted: 11 October 2020 - 03:31 PM
Hello Linda
Welcome. :D

Subclinical, who posts in the "what are you doing today" thread is also a teacher.
She had the same struggles with things that might come in handy someday.

One thing that really helped her was finding a place where people donate school related items and arts & craft supplies.
With this place she no longer worries that she must keep everything on hand for Justin Case it may be needed someday.

You are more than welcome to join us in the "what are you doing today thread.
So much of what you wrote is very familiar to us all.

My sincere condolences on the loss of your Husband (((HUG)))
Grief always exacerbates hoarding, holding on to things, being overly sentimental even over the littlest of things.
Linda Skripac
Posted: 11 October 2020 - 01:11 PM
Hello, I am to this chatline on hoarding.
Not sure when the hoarding became hoarding. I have always been very sentimental, loved old stuff, art supply materials, etc. Somewhere in the last 10 years I stopped purging of unneeded items in my home. Severe procrastination and indecision took over. Depression about my sick husband played a part. He passed away 2 years ago and the hoarding has only worsened.
I am an occupational therapist that works with students in the public schools. Like many in the public schools, I was ever vigilant for items cheap or free I could use in my therapy practice. This has really gotten out of hand. The schools do not have a space for me to store these items and they have constantly grown in my home. A bedroom, much of my garage, my living room, and my basement are filled and overflowing with supposed equipment. I have fear of purging because I never know when the next student "might" need it.
This is only one aspect of my hoarding, I also collect things, many things. Hoping to find my way to somehow getting my life together. Eager to connect with others with these challenges.
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