Friends and families in the organizing process

1 June 2010

Last night, after several months of repeats, A&E aired a new episode of its hit documentary TV series, Hoarders.

One of the pair of clients represented was Kim, a young woman whose professional exterior belied her deep secret (one she had trouble admitting to herself): she’s a hoarder. While her home wasn’t filled to the rafters, she had acquired a whole lot of stuff in a relatively short period of time (she’s in her early 30s).

My pal, Geralin Thomas was the expert organizer on the show, ably assisted by a team of POs from the Nashville area.

Here’s the thing that really struck me about this episode. Kim had two close friends who were on hand to help. In contrast to the professionals on the scene, these friends seemed to lose patience with the pace of the decision-making and seemed frustrated that Kim was allowed to make decisions about keeping or letting go of her possessions at her own pace.

I often tell people that decluttering is generally easier when you have someone helping. But I caution them to select their clutter buddies carefully. The buddy should not be judgmental or bossy, and, ideally, should not have a personal stake in the outcome. (This is why professional organizers are so great — their status as outsiders help neutralize the emotions of the situation and they never stand in judgment.)

Sadly, Kim’s friends seemed to meet none of these criteria. Their apparent frustration seemed to add unnecessary tension to an already stressful (for Kim) situation.

I loved that A&E included Kim, whose case was less dramatic than others who’ve been featured (including Michelle, the bird hoarder who shared this episode). While Kim’s situation wasn’t as wince inducing, it was very interesting to me. Her denial of her problem (she didn’t seem to comprehend how many clothes she’d acquired, for instance) and her highly functioning exterior contrasted with her lower functioning home (she spread out papers all over the floor of her home office, instead of using furniture) was fascinating.

And, on a show that can sometimes leave you feeling defeated, it was nice to see an episode that ended on a hopeful note.

Tagged with: , ,


Add your comment


Your email address will not be displayed or distributed.

You may use Textile formatting including:

  • _italics_ = italics
  • *bold* = bold
  • "text":url = text

About Janine

Janine Adams

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

read more »

Recommended *