Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hoarding: A clean start

Hoarding happens over time, becoming a person's most shameful secret.

But with therapy and a crew of organizers, it's possible to regain control of your life.

It starts with one box.

Because that box is handy, you stack another one on top of it. The magazines land there, then the mail. Some letters spill to the floor, hidden by a shopping bag set down, just for the moment, because you had other things on your mind.

That bag ends up behind other bags. Every day, there's mail. Fabric and patterns for a sewing project overwhelm the dining room table. You know this isn't right, but where to start? Next weekend's chores turn into next month's, and then a year has passed. Floors and tabletops and shelves disappear beneath every good intention. What was once a cluttered nest has hatched into an overwhelming albatross. Yet you need these things, all of them -- for your hobbies, for the dog, for the future.

That box is in here someplace.

Jeanne Leier's hoarding began in grief. Her fiancé, a man she'd dated for 12 years, supporting him through medical school, was called up to active duty in Iraq as a doctor in the Army Reserve. He was killed. She fell apart..." More