Your house is a mess and you swear you threw out those empty coffee jars years ago which are now piled up in the garage. How is that?? Are you the other half of a hoarding type? Well don’t stress. All Sorted Out Expert Declutterist, Jo Carmichael has the some advice on how we can help make changes with your hoarding partner.
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Now everybody’s view and perception on tidiness and organisation is unique. Many people are ‘clutter blind’ – they just don’t see piles of papers, dirty dishes & clothing strewn around the rooms as clutter. They just see it as things. Many of us also like to collect one or two things – Tshirts, toy cars, packets of match sticks or china decorations. We can also collect and store these things in the family home, fairly neatly without encroaching on our family’s boundaries too painfully.
Then there are people who do hoard significant amounts of often broken, dirty and large volumes of items inside their homes – in ways that are not conducive to family living. A Psychologist who is skilled in dealing with Hoarding and the syndrome is the best person to advise us in this instance. Simply throwing their things away can be a backward step in this situation.
The following suggestions are for the ‘clutter blind’ or messier family members/partners.
Instead of being the enemy be the helping hand. Rather than yelling or getting frustrated with your partner or child, work together as a team to sort through their things together. Provide encouragement and reassurance, this will make the decluttering process a positive one for not only now but into the future as well. Once you have made progress in one room, help them organise and make a place for their things in other rooms. I often find children are happy to let go of things, while the parent is wanting to hang onto it – as it was an expensive purchase, they’ll need it later in the year etc. Learn to strike a happy medium.
Help your partner narrow things down by keeping their things in areas delegated to them. Having a space limitation will not only help them understand what they can and cannot fit, it will also help them from over populating ‘off limit’ areas of the home with their stuff. Having delegated areas will also help them and you feel better by knowing they have an area that’s all for them.
For example, both partners need a set area to keep their bag, wallet, keys, phone etc which is used when entering and exiting the house.
Think about it
Give your partner or child a ‘think about it’ pile, start with baby steps so you don’t overwhelm them with decisions. Place items that they are unsure about into an area – say a box or on a shelf, and leave there for a set time – say 2 weeks.
If they use these things or can make a decision on them– like let’s store these cups & chairs etc for when we go camping or on picnics. Or realise these are sentimental items and could be put aside on a high shelf to keep, but not left on the kitchen bench in the run of everyday living, that is a positive outcome. Make a place for these used or sentimental items.
Make an agreement that after the set time of 2 weeks, if the items are still unused or no longer needed, they can then be disposed of happily.
Remember to keep asking them, do you love it? Do you use it now? This is to help hone the decision making ability of keeping or not.