Saturday, February 16, 2019

Five Fantastic Reasons to Clear the Clutter!!

You've probably seen some of these facts and reasons before, but it never hurts to see them again! This info was gathered from an article in Getting Organized Magazine way back in 2014 but still applies today.

  You can sell your house for more money
According to a survey in 2012, real estate agents ranked cleaning and de-cluttering your home as the top low-cost, do-it-yourself improvement project for a home seller.

You can decrease stress
A Huffington Post survey found that 84% of recently stressed out Americans said they worried that their homes weren't clean or organized enough. A survey by Rubbermaid found that 42% of homeowners experienced more anxiety when their houses were unorganized or cluttered.
 You can clear your mind 
According to, "The chaos restricts your ability to focus. The clutter also limits your brain's ability to process information.

You can turn the clock back
The average American spends one year of his or her life looking for lost or misplaced items, according to NAPO (National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals)


You can breathe easier
Junk tends to gather dust, and dust isn't healthy, especially if you have asthma or other breathing problems. Regular house dust can contain any of the following; arsenic, decomposing insects, pollen, human skin, fecal matter from dust mites and even the insecticide DDT.

Next post: Five more reasons to clear the clutter!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Why Do People Hoard?

I've had the opportunity to work with several clients who exhibited hoarding behavior. When I first met these clients, I was aware that they had great shame and were fearful that I was going to judge them. However, knowing what I know about hoarding behavior, I was able to put them at ease and assure them that I was not judging them and that I was there to help them in any way I could. 

One of the questions I get the most from people is if I've ever worked with someone that hoards and then there is the usual, "How can they live like that?"

There are many reasons why some people can't let go of their items, and why they become trapped in this type of environment. Here are 5 reasons that I've discovered from working with clients that have hoarding behavior.

 The photos below are posted with permission from an actual client.

Memories - Many people that hoard feel that they have to keep an item in order to keep the memory of either the person, or an event. They think that if the item is not there, the memory will be gone as well.

Loneliness - Some people use their things to surround themselves because they are very lonely. If you've ever been in an empty room versus a room that has a lot of stuff in it, you can understand how they might feel. However, because hoarding tends to isolate a person even more because they are embarrassed to have anyone over, this is a cycle that just keeps repeating itself.

History of Poverty - We tend to think of elderly people, those that lived through the Great Depression, as the most likely to be hoarders. However, that is not necessarily true. If someone grew up without having a lot of personal possessions, or was not sure where their next meal was coming from, we often see that as a reason for hoarding behavior as they become adults.

Grief/Loss - In my experience, most of my clients that have had hoarding behavior show up in their life is because of grief or a loss of some kind. It doesn't necessarily have to be a death of a loved one, it could be the loss of a pet, loss of a home, loss of a job, etc. The grief process sometimes gets stuck for them and they begin to feel the need to hold onto things that remind them of the person, pet, home, job or whatever they lost. People will oftentimes try to fill a void that they feel in their life by getting more stuff.

Abuse/Neglect - Often, if people have been abused and or neglected some time in their life, they will want to "save" things in order for them to not be tossed aside or sent away as they may have been. They will usually want to save things that they think they will be able to use "some day".

In an ideal world, the client should be seeing a therapist that can help them process their emotions as we are going through the clean up process. Professional Organizers are not mental health professionals, but if we are aware of some of the reasons for the clients hoarding behavior, we can encourage them to seek help while we work together.

Everyone is an individual, and the process of clearing their home may not work the same for all of them. That is why it is important to have a broad assortment of "tools" in your toolbox to work with all different types of people. I listen to my clients and we will move at whatever pace suits them and gives us all the best chance for success.