Hoarding is a serious issue.

I have been helping a friend confront this head on.  She’s not as far gone as the people you see on TV, but she’s on her way.  She’s my age with two kids and a husband and a house that is becoming less and less useable.  She’s incredibly creative but has no room to create.

So, I volunteered to help.  Many times.  For years.  Finally about six months ago she agreed to let me come into her home.

It wasn’t too bad really – messy with lots of storage tubs.

When we began to clear away some of the initial items, it was difficult, but she worked hard.  We spent an afternoon working on it each week.  She made huge progress.

Then we started to get into the older stuff.  The mass of papers, toys, and general clutter that had been shoved into a tub haphazardly months and even years before.  The shame was heavy.

I worked hard to show her love and acceptance.  Yes, it’s a problem but we can work through it.  I asked her why she kept these things; if they were meaningful to her.  After watching 20+ episodes of Hoarders, I was never surprised with her answers or feelings.

Now, I’m at a crossroads.  We took the summer off and she is embarrassed with how bad it is once again.  She doesn’t want me to come.

I want to be a good friend and help her conquer this issue, but I don’t want to push into her space without being freely invited.

I truly have enjoyed helping her, challenging her and making a new friend.  There was absolutely nothing in it for me (except maybe the chance to organize).

Don’t be afraid to give freely and generously, no strings attached.