Sunday, August 1, 2010

Working With a Hoarder: First-Timer Lessons

Today’s post is written by Susan Gilbert, a Professional Organizer in Apex, NC; her business is Horizons Organizing.

For more information about Susan, visit

Susan recently assisted me on a hoarding (team) job, for an upcoming episode of Hoarders on A & E TV. I asked her to write about her experience; here is what she had to say.


Most of us who work as organizers find our way to this profession because we enjoy helping people. At some point you realize that you’ve been gifted with (1) the ability to see things as they could/should be, and (2) the focus to make it happen. When you leave a client happier and more relieved than when you found him/her, what’s NOT to love about the job? (And is it really a “job” or more of a mission?) You’re educated, enthusiastic, and adeptly tackle any organizational challenge that comes your way.

Then you walk into the home of a hoarder. And everything you thought you knew goes right out the window. This is clutter on a whole new level. This is more “stuff” than you’ve ever seen before. Your mind starts to spin as you wonder where to start.

“Tell me you’ve seen worse,” the hoarder says – half kidding, half serious. (Actually, this is a comment I hear from just about every client, hoarder or not.) You smile and say something positive to ease the embarrassment the hoarder feels…" More

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