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Making progress, slow and painful ...

Making progress, slow and painful …

Three Blogs Three Boxes ongoing challenge sec 2

Three Blogs three boxes, ongoing challenge sec 3

Progress has been slow, and unwilling. I notice that as I get down to smaller and smaller bits it becomes more and more difficult to be decisive. That I am fairly exhausted doesn’t help either.

I am not sure what to do with old bills, junk mail, etc. that may have important personal information.

I have gathering things into categories, to some extent : tools, art supplies, power cords, bills and other paper work to be dealt with, recycling …

There were some very nice comments from readers that helped me at least get something done today. Thank you all!

I have some thoughts about why I hoard having to do with feelings of safety, psychic, physical and other wise. I am going to let them roll around in my head for a bit and will get back to you!

I leave you with some pictures from Labor Day weekend to contemplate.

 Remember: even small progress is better than none!

Lambs Ears, so soft!

Holly hock growing in Fort BRagg, reaching all the way to the roof!

Holly hock growing in Fort Bragg, reaching all the way to the roof!


  1. I get slowed down by paper clutter, too. I have that perfectionist tendency to want to file it much more meticulously than it really needs to be, therefore I stop before I start because the job seems too big! I have a pile of paperwork on my kitchen counter that I need to be gone! I am publicly stating my goal here: I will spend 15 minutes a day on it until it’s conquered.

    I don’t have an issue with hoarding, but I do procrastinate and I struggle with depression which makes even the basics almost impossible on some days. Add 4 kids to that mix, one of which is Autistic, and, well, you can see my problem.

    Keep up the good work. Have you ever been successful with putting things aside in a box for a set period of time and then getting rid of the box without opening it if you haven’t needed anything from it during that set time? I have done that before and it was pretty easy to let it go.

    Have you heard of the website I love it! Haven’t been able to afford the membership lately but there are still free resources on there that are helpful!

    • Thank you for your comment.
      I have just recently heard of I have look at it, but not fully. I’ve not tried the box thing. It is easier for me, at least at them moment to go through boxes and get rid of them as I go. I have a son with Asperger’s, doing pretty great now, but I feel fairly certain my lack of organization has made things worse. I am trying to find a system that works. Progress can be slow and plodding, but I just keep going forward. Hang in there!

  2. Hi Pauline,

    Really enjoying your blog! Was very moved by the post on your grandma. As a child, both my great grandmother and grandmother lived with us and I understand the difficulties and concerns. I like your plan to sit and think what feels right. So often I’ve made decisions out of pressure and they don’t turn out so well. And congratulations on your progress with the house! I’m kind of a compulsive thrower awayer and my best friend is a hoarder so I’m going to go and help her with her stuff as a wedding present. It’ll be tough, but if I can help her, I might try to go into professional organzing. I really love it!

    • Thank you for your kind words Michelle.
      Nice to hear from you! What a wonderful wedding present. You might want to gently make sure she is ready and able to receive it. Please remember to be patient and gentle with her.
      Sound like a great business for you. You might want to ask your friend if you can document before during and after and ask her for a testimonial (anonymously, if she is uncomfortable with putting her name out there). Then you can use the documentation to help get your business going.
      Let me know how it goes.
      Thank you again, for your comments and kind words,

  3. Hi Pauline,

    I found your blog because you started following me on Twitter after I mentioned I was watching “Hoarders”. This is the first time I’m followed up on one of those Tweet related followers!

    Anyway, in regard to the items with personal information, either get a shredder or do what I do when there is no shredder which is to tear things up into many pieces, making sure the information in question is well separated and useless without the other part, and then throwing it in different trash cans.

    I just got to checking out your blog but I plan to read it more. I was a horrible hoarder as a teen, had so much crap with just a path to my bed. Then I moved out and left it there. It was tucked away under the bed (a bunk of course!) and concealed with a makeshift curtain. I was away for years until finally the uneaten chocolate attracted mice. Mu husband helped me shake a lot of my ways, so it was horrible to come back to what my hoarding had caused. My grandmother was a hoarder, big time and my parents have tendencies, but are not as bad as her. While I am pretty orderly these days, I do have a few piles of shame tucked away and still struggle parting with useless crap. It would be fine if I stayed like this for the rest of my life, but who knows what the future will bring and if these tendencies will come back. Anyway, I plan to keep reading for support!

    *gulp* I just looked over at a large envelope full of crap I can’t deal with. I know the pain of those last few things! Last time, I got my husband in to help and that got it done. I find having someone without the commitment to my crap that I can trust makes it easier to figure out what to do.

    • Simone,
      Thank you for visiting my blog. Thank you also for your honesty and encouragement.
      It is a very good idea to have someone else around to help release the things you cannot.
      This is all a process. My kids and I will be spending much more time at my grandmother’s. I am curious to see how that effect my hoarding and ability to get rid of things!
      I hope to hear more from you in the future!

  4. Hey Pauline,

    Your cleared floor in the more recent post looks great! I’m visiting my parents in Australia (I usually live in LA) and all the family hoarding nightmares are surrounding me! It’s a good reminder of what I’m trying not to be. Just 15 minutes ago I pulled into the garage and saw, after my parents recent ensuit remodel, the old toilet in the car port! Is there any greater shame to a hoarders home than an old toilet? I went off about it and my mum blamed my dad. Oh dear!

    In a related matter of interest, my germphobic, neurotic mother told me she’s letting some of her neurosis go as she gets older and that gave me some hope because I thought I could only get worse with this hoarding.

    I think as long as we continue to challenge ourselves and our behaviour, we have a better chance of conquering this struggle!

    Keep at it!

    P.S. I watched another episode of ‘Hoarders’ since I last wrote and I think it’s really no help to the people to try and get them to do anything in two days. It simply can’t be done, and they are just going to be left completely overwhelmed which is a huge part of the problem to begin with. Your thoughts?

    • Thank you for visiting again, and for your comments. I agree about challenging our selves. As for the two day thing on
      Hoarders, I think it would cause further panic thereby causing even greater hoarding, or at the very least no decrease. I am sure there must be rare exceptions, but from what I know about hoarding personally, in my family and in the public at large, an abrupt shift seems to make matters worse. Change is painful and scary, for many people, I believe.
      “Stuff” isn’t the problem, in my opinion, or rather, it is a secondary problem, the effect of the primary problem. I believe there are a myriad of causal factors in hoarding. Some people may have only one or two factors and others may have many, many factors. I do believe in generational hoarding. I am easily the fourth or fifth generation of hoarders in my family, my children are the next generation. I will be writing about my grandmother and possibly her parents as well, as I attempt to make room, in her home for my children to have enough space to stay in her house. Currently, there is no way to add anything new. I know the pain of this shift is great for her in many ways.
      In terms of causes, I’m not sure, but I think there is a lot to be said for the impact of deep trauma, of being horribly up-rooted. There is also much to be said for living through abuse, and also for brain chemistry. Forcing someone for whom it has taken years to become entrenched in their home to clear out abruptly is intrinsically traumatizing, no matter how much they want to clean up their act. I think, perhaps it can be done quickly, or rather the act of clearing out can be done quickly, if there are support systems in place, but even then, it seems sketchy to me. No one would dream, in this day and age of effectively curing Bi-Polar disorder, or Schizophrenia in two days. This is really no different. If it were a matter of self control and there were no underlying issues, I believe no one, or at least almost no one, would choose to live this way!

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