Diary of a Hoarder – Huffington Post

Firstly I have had full permission to show the below photographs and will not be disclosing the real name of the client. She was very happy for me to share this information with you all and gave full copy approval.

The story of the 15 year Hoarder…

When I had an enquiry via my website from a lovely lady (we’ll call Shirley) needing help, she went to the top of my list of people to call back the first second I had free. Here was the enquiry:

‘Hi there, I desperately need a Vicky! My house – well, let’s just say it makes a council tip look a des res. As I work for myself, I do long hours but lack the time, energy and motivation to de-clutter so it has just got worse and worse. Can you help me for maybe three days – which will break the back of it and inspire me to continue the good work..!!
Many thanks’

Well, I spoke to Shirley that same day and she just sounded super keen and super lovely. We booked the time in immediately and I could tell in her voice she couldn’t wait to get started.

Day 1:

I arrived at the house and it was clear that she needed help. Things had just got on top of her and it soon became apparent that she wasn’t completely happy living the way she was.

The porch was piled to around knee level with unopened mail, a mass of paperwork.

The hallway had products everywhere, a little Aladins cave of toiletries and make-up covering the floor, stairs and shelves.

The lounge/dining room was a great place to start. I was booked for 2 days so we would do the lounge first and then the dining room area. It needed to be split into two and at this point I have to stop myself from going over the top because I know in my head I just want this done for her – immediately! I am buzzing with excitement at what we are going to get done together.

The lounge and dining room were not very useable, one seat free and a small space on the sofa that I think may have been used. You will see from the photographs that there was barely anywhere to sit and it was hard to walk through. You could hardly see the carpet.


Lounge Hoarder

After having some fantastic chats with Shirley on day it became a lot clearer why she thought she had got into such a pickle at home. The house move happened fast and the previous owners had left a lot of their belongings in the home for her to deal with but at the time she had more than enough on her plate. Her son was a baby and she was working all hours (a single parent) and finding the time to do anything other than work, sleep, take care of her child and spend quality time with him came last on the list of priorities. Things got worse and worse as she put it. New things came into the house but old things didn’t seem to leave. There was never a good time to deal with the items the previous people had ;eft so a small pile accumulated into bigger one, one that didn’t stop growing for many years.

After day 1 I received a text saying Shirley’s son had come in and thrown him on the sofa, he was over the moon. He hadn’t lay on it for years Shirley said. He was so excited about day 2 and told his Mum that when the dining area had been cleared they will sit and have a meal together! Just amazing…I truly love my job.

Shirley is a unique, caring, lovely, eco-friendly, planet loving lady. She hates sending anything to land fill and all that can be recycled has to be. All of the products she uses are eco-friendly and non-toxic and she cringed at the thought of the big crunchy looking spider we found being harmed in the process of setting it free into the garden. This ladies heart is made of gold and her personality just full of good energy.

So, what did the hoard include??

*Books, many many books…

*Childrens Games (untouched for many years – some for under 5 yr olds)
Children's Toys Untouched

*A lot of paperwork (dating back to about 2000)

*And a lot of stuff…..

stuff stuff and more stuff

We have worked solidly for 2 days so far. The lounge and dining area now looks amazing thanks to Shirley admitting she needed some help and also thanks to her amazing decisiveness and want for as her son (now age 15) put it – ‘A normal home’ The part you may think strange is that when I asked Shirley “Has it bothered you and upset you all of these years?” her response was to tell me she rarely noticed it, it had been so long and the slow progression almost became unnoticeable. It was only as her son has grown that he has started to realise others homes aren’t quite the same. This spurred her on and I am so pleased it did because they will both be so much happier and clear headed in their new living area.

I go back in a few weeks to start the kitchen then the upstairs bedrooms and hallways. I cannot wait to get stuck in again.

Shirley was absolutely thrilled with how the last two days have gone. We gathered around 10 large big bags for Recycling and sent over 12 bags to Charity – ‘Making someone else happy’ being the key saying here.

A minimum went to landfill, in fact I think we only had 3 black bin bags full of actual rubbish in the end. But despite that we completed our goal for the two days.

I hope you like the photographs below of the achievements. I had a fantastic inspiring time with Shirley and am over the moon with the positive changes.

before and after

before and after

before and after
We have hidden nothing, there has been no stone unturned, nothing has been simply shifted into a different room. Every single item in the entire room has gone through our hands and a decision has been made on where it should end up. Our recycling, charity and throw away piles were priceless and all products used were completely eco-friendly.

A positive two days all round…