Those ubiquitous plastic bags. Nearly everyone saves them. And they do come in handy. But people who suffer from hoarding disorder usually have far more they they would ever need in a lifetime, and they don't want to let them go.
Unless...they are moved by a good reason to.
When I told one of my clients who has hoarding disorder that I have another client whose elderly husband is infirm and they go through many plastic bags each day for reasons of hygiene and always need more, without hesitation he collected three piles of them and handed them over, without question, without delay, without a second thought.
Real closets. Real Clothes. Not some monochromatic stylized version you usually see in a magazine. Whose closets look like that?!
I worked with a client today on her closets and want to share some tips. It’s nice to have the same type of hangers for each category of clothing. It’s a small investment that makes a big difference.
In the hanging closet to the left we first hung skirts on pant/skirt hangers, then dresses (sleeveless to short sleeve to long) on non-slip velvet hangers, then dressier pants, and finally, collared shirts on the right.
On the hooks on the back of the door we hung jeans, work-shirts, anything that is worn frequently, making it easy to grab and put on, or easily hang up at the end of the day. This helps to keep clothes from ending up on the floor. Hooks are an excellent option.
In the plastic bins on the shelf above we put tights and socks. Easy. Convenient.
On the shelves in the other closet we folded and stacked categories of clothing: jeans and casual pants, long sleeve T-shirts, short sleeve T-shirts, tank tops, cardigan sweaters, fleece pullovers. The top shelf was saved for less frequently worn items.
It’s simple: like with like, consistency with hangers, hooks wherever you can put them. I hope this will inspire you to organize your own closets!
I have been working with a client with hoarding disorder (please don't call people "hoarders" it doesn't define who they are, it's a complex mental health issue) for about eight months. As with many I have worked with who have this disorder, she is kind, highly intelligent, and creative.
I’m always curious to know what the “hoard” means to my clients. Sometimes the items represent protection, other times the extreme clutter contains memories of happier times. It’s always different. But it’s always “something”.
I tread lightly and wait until I have built trust with a client before I ask about it. This client recently told me it represents failure. And it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy: the more she brings in, the more of a failure she feels and it is all there to remind her.
This may not seem like progress, but it is.
Next time your life starts feeling a little “out of control” try organizing something in your home. Just a small project, as much as you can handle. It can be a file drawer, a coat closet, even just your socks or flatware.
In a short time you will see the immediate results of your efforts. This is not a virtual exercise but one in real life, in real time. Something we all need more of.
In many ways, organizing is about control, control over what you own and knowing what you have and where it is. Get rid of the excess. Keep only what you need and want. Clear the clutter. You’ll feel better. I promise.