about hoarding

My Mother was a champion hoarder. In the final years of her life, I took the responsibility of dissembling the Mt. Everest of six or seven decades of her inability to discard virtually any item. In my sister blogs, I share my experiences and a psychological perspective of hoarding.

Here, I will share my technique of removing so many loads (trucks and vans), that the neighbors called the local rural sheriff to check out what I was doing.

There are multiple people teaching you how to organize, but here is my method.
– Rent a large storage facility to move half of the stuff out to make sorting possible
– Gather large boxes or baskets and label: Total Garbage, Garbage, Donate, Keep, Undecided
– Start in the corner of one room
– Move quickly, trust your snap judgments (believe me, you will still have plenty of stuff left)
– Work your way around, removing surface items whose future is easily determined
– When “spacing out,” go to another room and start in one corner
– Remove the “sorting boxes” quickly as you need to see progress
– Then, go back for the next layer (think onion, if crying results, consult a shoulder for support)
– I suggest setting a timer to force yourself to take a break
– Give yourself time to grieve & share with others

From the “Keep” box, I put all the items in bookcases, lettered each shelf, took pictures, and let siblings choose what they wanted. Second round, each sibling chose things for the grandchildren.

Fortunately, one of my sisters collects family memorabilia (the most difficult to decide about), organizes and publishes into multiple books. Another sister took all the multiple boxes of slides, photographs, tape recordings to organize.

Years later, I am not sure I recovered. But, I take responsibility, I got so “into it,” I couldn’t take breaks and barely slept and ate. Take my advice – Don’t do that! Your sanity is more important!

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