I don't know what suddenly opened my eyes. I think it was a new financial stability that lifted a depression I didn't even realize I was in, and I started making improvements in areas of my life: weight & nutrition, dental, credit rating, social. And with new eyes, I looked at my "stuff" as if truly seeing it for the very first time. Like a switch just flipped in my brain. I started cleaning up as I could, making small goals like a clean bathroom vanity, a cleared bathroom, things like that. But it was so overwhelming after years of "collecting" (i.e., hoarding). What I needed was something drastic, and someone I could trust.
I confided in my older brother, and he was so supportive and helpful. He helped me find a new house, and I moved into the house in February of last year. In the meantime, I continued to clean out my old house while my brother worked on repairing the exterior (woodstaining and cleaning porch/roof). It did get to the point where I just couldn't do any more alone, though I made significant progress, and my brother had said, when you get to that point, walk away and I'll take care of it. I had thrown away or left behind about 80-90% of what I owned. My brother finished the cleanup, and then we worked on renovating the interior.
Fortunately, the house's bones were still good, and it was all cosmetic. We stripped it down and re-did everything new. Yesterday, my new tenant moved into that house, and it's a gorgeous house you'd never know had been a hoarder's house.
As for me in my new house? Clean and tidy in every room, no clutter. A few actual collections on shelves, everything in its place. My curtains are thrown wide open, and I no longer feel sick and anxious if I hear a knock at my door. I moved into a house with very little storage, and that was a wise choice for me. If I can't use it, I sell it, give it away, or toss it. I'm so proud of myself, and beyond grateful for my brother. I now have a safe, healthy environment for me and my two cats.
The most difficult part of this process was asking for help, letting someone in on my shameful secret. But it was the best thing I've done in years. Doing it alone isn't impossible, but I think I NEEDED to confide in someone to help myself change my habits and keep motivated.