Is your home organized and comfortable?


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I read recently that hoarding is related for many to a history of trauma. This makes sense to me. When I read more I will update here.


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Thanks for asking, Copa.

The laundry room flood is mopped up; we have a bucket under the kitchen leak. We need a new roof, but can't afford it right now. There's already several layers of roofing on there, before I bought the house, so patching it may not be an option. Next rain is supposed to be here tomorrow, I think, with more on Friday.


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I don't want to lose the momentum on this thread but I did, caught up by my other thread about distress, sadness, and hopelessness.

I also lost my focus because m moved to the other house. And because school started. I lose my sense of priorities and I get confused.

I will re-dedicate myself here.

How are the rest of you?


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Kind of the same way Copa!

Nothing nearly as stressful in our lives, but we had a major snowstorm last weekend so Habitat was moved to this weekend...when we're apparently supposed to have another snowstorm. :oops: So we haven't gotten anything else out of the house. I did make a small, abortive start on my sewing/workout room, which is basically a bedroom with no bed, where my sewing machines/craft stuff and our workout equipment is kept. It's an absolute mess! I really need Jabber to get in there with me though, and go thru things.

A good friend is needing a sturdy dresser, so we're giving her one of ours. It's been a big old TV shelf for better than a year now...we stopped using it entirely when we got a bed with storage. So that will be leaving the house once we get our TV mounted on the wall. Looking forward to that.

So yeah. Baby steps with some obstacles and laziness tossed in.


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I got overwhelmed last night with self-blame and some shame.

My dining room was really coming together. A central part of it is a twin daybed. Really lovely. I bought a memory foam mattress topper because the mattress is too firm. (I hurt.)

So I had to leave the topper on the floor 2 days to inflate and de-gas. M warned me yesterday: the animals will pee on it. You better get it up.

And sure enough last night I picked it up. And pee. I watch them like a hawk and they still beat me.

So. Now I don't know what to do.i don't know if it can be cleaned or how to do it.

I'm also at an impasse. About the eBay stuff. I so want to get rid of it all and not to have to waste my precious life force on selling it. But I'm having a hard time letting go and forgiving myself for this error. Living badly. Waste.

So I guess waste is a recurring theme here.


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Go to a pet supply store and talk to someone knowledgeable on their enzyme cleaners. If it's not too bad you might be able to clean the topper. I hope it wasn't too expensive.

As for the Ebay room...all I can offer is what I said before...don't think of it as a waste. Buying it was 'retail therapy' and it helped you cope. But now that is over.

I try very hard to live without regrets or to live in the past. What does that accomplish but to detract from the NOW? I could feel bad about things I've done and said, or things I spent money on I shouldn't have. (Please Note: I don't always succeed...but I do try!) You can't go back and undo anything you've done, or unsay anything you've said, and unless you did it recently and you have a receipt, you can't unspend money. You can make some back perhaps, if that is really important.

I was watching "Hoarders" and saw someone with lots of stuff they bought to resell. The organizer had them go through the stuff and separate it out. They set a monetary $25. If it wouldn't sell for at least $25.00 it was donated or tossed. ONLY things worth the effort of selling them - that would bring in $25 or more - were kept to sell.

Maybe you could do something like that to get the ball rolling.
1. Set a monetary amount...stuff that in your mind is actually worth bothering with.

2. Separate into bags/boxes/piles - Start at the door and just work your way to the back of the room...but everything goes in one or the other: (1) Stuff over your $ limit to sell. (2) Stuff under the $ limit to donate. (3) Trash. (4) Stuff you actually love and DO want to keep.

3. At the end of every day, take the trash to the trash can, put the donation stuff in your car trunk so you can drop it off next time you are out and about, put away the stuff you are keeping. Then your actual sales stuff is all that is left.

I'm really good at planning. Not so great at executing the plans. :rolleyes:


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Lil great post.

I never understood or thought about hoarding until the show. So very very sad.

I hear my fathers brother was a hoarder, and he hid it too I believe. When he passed I heard his place was just awful to clean out.
If its a mental illness, my DNA had it.

I was not close to this uncle.
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Copa please let go of the shame and blame and guilt. It doesn’t help. We are all of us flawed and human, every one. And there are many worse things than using shopping to deal with grief, or feeling helpless when faced by a mess, or holding onto things too long. I would much rather sit with you in your room full of clutter and eBay merch, with the pee-stained mattress topper, than be stuck in a beautiful clean house with mean, empty, soulless people. Because you are a good person, and a kind person, and someone I am happy to call a friend.

Be easy on yourself.

I think Liz’s plan is brilliant. Just go slow and don’t beat yourself up.

Try Nature’s Miracle enzyme cleaner on the topper. Let it soak all the way in, pull out as much as you can with clean towels or a mini wet vac if you have one, then soak it again and let it dry naturally. It will take a couple days. Then repeat with a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water with a little essential oil mixed in to get the remaining cleaner out and counteract the artificial scent of it. I like citrus. (Cats also hate citrus, so it helps prevent reoccurrences if there is a remaining smell they can pick up that we can’t.) That has worked for me with carpets and carpet padding and couch cushions. Good luck!


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Apple in another thread mentioned she would check in here, and I am so grateful for the support. So I want to give an update. I have not made any more headway in my house, sadly, but I have a level of confidence and hope that I did not have before.

I believe now that I will do this and that it is doable.

I do not feel the same level of shame.

I can see beyond the remaining clutter to the underlying beauty I have created in my home.


I got distracted this week because I thought about taking on two serious new commitments, and temporarily lost my focus. School started. And I overloaded myself with classes. Then I got offered a position in a divinity-type program. And it took me a lot of soul-searching to decide to reject it.

I have a problem with what I call, getting into cars, without figuring out first, if I want or need to go where the car is going. I let other people decide for me, and understandably they may push me according to their own self-interest. This time, I said No, so that I could first figure out what I wanted or needed. I decided that NOTHING could be as important as staying on my own side, by deciding to wait.

I had the confidence that other opportunities would appear, when I knew that I was ready, on my terms, if I decided I wanted them. I told myself, I do not need this opportunity. I am enough as I am. That all I need is to step into the light. I do not need to go anywhere, do anything, or be anything different, than who I am and what I have achieved. I recognized that I need to center myself in that, that that is my job in life now. And I could generate whatever I needed from who I am already.

These are big, big steps for me. I am very proud of myself.

And I dropped all of the new courses except for continuing with my Hebrew.

So another big step is that I told M that I would help him with the other properties. The rental where he is living (and where my son would return if and when he does) and the property which would be my office. So what that means is that I am preparing to actively deal with all of the property commitments that I have been avoiding, not just my house. And it also means that I am committing to be "out there" and responsible on a full time basis. And it also implies that I will be fixing up the office in order to work. All of this reflects back to me a person who is no longer immobile, withdrawn and not functioning. Which is truly amazing.

I directly relate all of the above to this thread.

I may put this house on the back burner for now. But what remains here does not look anymore like the Hoarder's show. I think that with one day of hard work,(with the exception of hanging artwork) it would look like a beautiful, normal house (not perfect, but good enough). Beds made, no boxes on the floor, counters reasonable. The ebay room still has lots of stuff, but other people have a room like this--I recognize I am not the lone ranger. (Which is not an excuse to keep it like this, but permission to give myself time.) And I will utilize the recommendation on this thread, (was it Lil?) about the $25 rule. That will let me get rid of lots of stuff, without dithering. The one thing it won't help with is my mother's stuff. But I give myself permission to set that aside.

So M and I made a plan of work on the rental house which for now will be the focus.

Thank you everybody. I will continue to depend upon this thread until I work myself through all of this. You cannot imagine how helpful it is, to share the burden and to have such a trustworthy community of support and knowledge and realistic counsel.
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It sounds like things are getting better at your house.

Do things in whatever order you like, and take whatever time you need. There will be weeks when nothing happens. That is OK.

Let’s keep this thread going and post our progress as the year goes on. And progress doesn’t have to involve cleaning, decluttering, or organizing. It can be anything in your life. Moving ahead in your life, in whatever way it is happening.

What do you need to do with your properties? Does this involve physical work on your part?

Well, the storm wasn’t as bad as they thought (this seems to be a pattern here!). Ten inches of snow, but it was finished by morning, and it is cold and sunny today.

Still, our activities were canceled, so I’m spending the day here.

Made a big breakfast, hubby did the snow removal, and I am running a load of laundry. Hubby went out to help his older son, whose car battery wouldn’t start (hopefully weather-related).

I cleaned out the kitchen island today. I got several new appliances for Christmas, and haven’t really put them all away, because of space. I went through the island, where those type of things are kept, and got rid of some stuff. It had become a jumbled mess. Now, it looks beautiful.

I am going through the plastic containers right now, sorting and getting rid of pieces without lids/etc.

Cleaned the trash can (which goes under the sink). May clean out under the sink as long as I am there.

Anyone else?


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My husband’s old colleague, the hoarder, seems compulsive to me. Seriously problematic. The description fits him to a t. Makes me wonder and a bit sad to think perhaps there is trauma in the background. Fits a relative on my husband’s side to a t as well. Totally accurate. And of note, they don’t purchase much. Just hoard/ keep just about everything at times. And I dooooo mean everything. Neither are big on any shopping.

Interestingly, the nurse I met at the garage sale was different. What she described to me was more like an addiction with clear shades of compulsion too! She could not stop buying. She was out of control with purchasing. Very different than the other two clear cut hoarders I know. She got a “thrill,” from buying something for less than it’s true value. She LITERALLY went every weekend seeking this thrill again. Then she cleaned the item and put it in her garage W T H????? She may or may not have a hoarders house. But, I can see where it might happen sooner rather than later. But, she made it clear to me she was getting a “high,” from the purchase. I think if her husband forced her to chose, she would give away items in the garage to make room for more purchases because she couldn’t give up the high she was getting from shopping.

Ugh. Weird experience this weekend. My friend and her husband came by this weekend. (Sort of). We met somewhere else. Her husband it seems didn’t want to come to our house. I know for a fact their garage is a disaster and she uses my Garage as an example that he can do much better.
What a weird thing. So, last minute they didn’t stop by the house. He muttered something to my husband about maybe it was time to work on his garage. Just w e i r d. I guess she has been trying to motivate him via our organized Garage. (She once took pictures to show him!) but, I think it just upset him or something. People be goofy. Oh well.


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CI'm glad everybody escaped the worst of the storm.
It sounds like things are getting better at your house.
Well. I exaggerated.

I think our dog Dolly has Alzheimer's. She has begun to pee in the house. These are not accidents. She just goes. (I had another elderly Boxer many years ago, Jack, who did the same thing.) Sometimes she seems confused and disoriented. She seems more dependent. I am bringing her to the vet tomorrow.

And Stella is not going in her litter box. Why, I am not sure. I clean it every day, sometimes twice. Add that to Romy, who I always had to watch like a hawk and who I crate because he's so unreliable.

I am overwhelmed. Dolly started this first, then, Stella. I can't find where she is going to the bathroom and that scares me the most.
It can be anything in your life. Moving ahead in your life, in whatever way it is happening.
Thank you Apple. I am moving ahead in a number of ways.

First, I backed off from my son. I'm in neutral. But I am not texting. I made up my mind I will answer texts, that's it. Today he wrote, Hi Mom.
I responded, Hi.

Second. I got invited to participate in a divinity-type program at a hospital. And I said, "No." That I wanted to wait until if and when it was the right time for me. So the man said, you'll start in September? And I clarified, No. It could be that the in future I participate but I won't know until I decide. I told myself, what do I need that for? I'm enough as I am.

And with that I decided to start the private practice, something I have dithered about for 4 years. And I decided to use the whole house (a commercial office property that used to be a house) just for me. All of a sudden the sky cleared, and all of the barriers just melted away.
What do you need to do with your properties? Does this involve physical work on your part?
Thank you for asking, Apple.

I started working with M today. I cleaned windows. It was disgusting. I had to use goof off to remove glue and tape. And since the house is 100 years old there is a ceiling to how clean and wonderful the windows get. But I like the bamboo shades. You can see out really good, light comes in, and there is complete privacy at least during the day.

Where we are working now is the property where M is staying now, and where my son lives when he comes home. There are two dwellings there, a house and an apartment. I will rent the house and M and his brother in law will stay in the apartment, (and my son if he comes home). Finishing there for the most part entails cleaning the windows, fixing broken windows, mounting bamboo shades, getting the appliances and range hoods in place, buying closet doors, cleaning up, putting poly on the floors, and doing some basic landscaping. All of this has to be done for both the house and the apartment.

Then we will move to the office property. There we will do all of the same things, except I am thinking of refinishing the floor, and replacing the kitchen floor too.

Then I will furnish the office property.

I will need to make connections so that I am known in order to get work. But I want to have the office together and office systems in place, before I put myself in a position where people will want to work with me. I will speak with area physicians. I will do workshops/classes at the local Senior Center. I will go to Toastmasters. Of those three things, I will only start doing Toastmasters pretty soon. I love public speaking. I am going to do it to be "out there." Which is a huge sea change.

I mean, when I came to this forum I was in bed. I had been in bed already a year and a half. And I stayed in bed years more. I ask myself all of the time why I fell apart when my mother died. I still don't really know. On the FOO forum I tried to figure it out. I still don't know why somebody falls apart to the extent that I did. It was if I had to rebuild myself. And that, I guess, is the answer.

Thank you everybody. Thank you Apple.


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Copa, what wonderful progress you are making! I see you moving forward, getting unstuck.

And with that I decided to start the private practice, something I have dithered about for 4 years. And I decided to use the whole house (a commercial office property that used to be a house) just for me. All of a sudden the sky cleared, and all of the barriers just melted away.
That is wonderful!

I am overwhelmed. Dolly started this first, then, Stella
Ok, this is an area where I can offer lots of experience! Some things to try:
  1. Get a black light to find the hidden urine spots. Urine (and other biological...stuff) glows in the dark under black light. You can pick up a little one on amazon for about $10.
  2. Once you find the spots, use the nature’s miracle and white vinegar cleaning method I outlined above. If you can, keep the animals away from the areas that have been peed on during the cleaning process. You want to kill the smell and break their association with peeing in that spot.
  3. For Dolly, doggie diapers work! We used Simple Solution diapers from amazon. The washable, not the disposables - disposables get expensive fast. There are male and female models - make sure you get the right sex and the right size for best results. They have some absorbency on their own, enough for leaks, but for better absorbency stick an overnight maxi pad in there. Let her get used to the diapers on their own before doing that, though. She may also need more frequent trips outdoors to try to minimize peeing in the diapers as much as possible.
  4. If she is leaking where she lays, or you need to keep her in an enclosed area and protect your floors, the other staple items in our house were the washable bed protector pads they use in nursing homes. Also got those on amazon. They are I think 34x34 and have a pink waterproof backing and a soft quieted top. Come in a package of 4. Washed those and the diapers in their own doggie load with lots of bleach. They were a life saver. You can also use them to cover spots that either of them can’t seem to stop peeing in.
  5. For Stella, lots of possible reasons for litter box issues. Could mean a change in her kidney values. Or it could mean a bladder infection. If they start to associate the litter box with pain, they will avoid it. Another possibility is arthritis - it may make it harder for her to get in and out of the box. For Stellaluna’s final year or so, we switched to a broad, low sided plastic tray that I think was sold as a puppy training tray. It was easier for her to get in and out of. She still tended to miss - she developed a bad habit of just stepping into the tray and leaving her butt hanging out the back - so we used a couple of the nursing home pads underneath to catch the mistakes. Sigh. Adapt and accommodate.
  6. Cats hate citrus, so spraying a citrus scent in areas where she seems to be habitually peeing may break the cycle. Cats also will not pee where they eat, so it can work to make an area a snack area once all cleaned up.
Good luck! Our elderly animals take a lot of work and patience. Now that our old ladies have left us, we’re not doing all this anymore. The next cohort is still in their prime. But it IS possible to manage incontinance and other issues as they get older. The right tools help!


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My dog was given a medication to help with her cognition in old age. I ended up getting it at 1 800 pet medications. It was helpful!(Dont recall the name. They may have it for cats too)

Copa...Congrats on all your wonderful progress and positive life happenings! Awesome! :)


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And with that I decided to start the private practice, something I have dithered about for 4 years. And I decided to use the whole house (a commercial office property that used to be a house) just for me. All of a sudden the sky cleared, and all of the barriers just melted away.
Copa, that is wonderful! I'm sure you have a ton to do to get ready, but what a big move! Good for you!

And Stella is not going in her litter box.
You remember we had a problem with Boo and her kidney problems. She still peed in the pan, but pooped in the floor! It was so weird. We have her on kidney food now and we also have created a litter pan extraordinaire. We took a large Rubbermaid tote and cut the front out, leaving about 2 inches at the bottom. Boo always has had squatting issues and would go over the sides of a regular pan. To take care of any "overhang" we put (unscented) doggy pee pads in front of the opening. We've really had almost no issues since.

I'm actually getting worried about Boo again though. We finally got her eating the prescription kidney food by mixing it one can of food to one bag of "Bisque" cat treat. She was up to a can a day...but she has stopped eating well again. She's eating about 1/2 a can a day now, if that. It's like she forgets she's got food. She will eat as soon as you give it to her, then stop and leave the room. Then she cries and begs for food. You pick her up and put her in front of it and it's like, "Oh yeah! I have food!" and she eats a bit, then leaves the room...rinse and repeat. Makes us CRAZY.

Incidentally, anyone know why a cat MUST puke on carpet? Honestly, there can be one little rug and that's where she goes. Jabber picked her up today when she started to hack and put her in the kitchen and she ran under the table to the rug there! REFUSES to stay put and puke on tile. Rotten cat.

As for us, Habitat did come and get some stuff. We have another dresser to give to a friend. We had a 3-day weekend - and did nothing. :( But we'll try harder next weekend.

Later all! Time to work!


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She still peed in the pan, but pooped in the floor!
Stellaluna was the opposite - it would have been easier if she's been like Boo!

Incidentally, anyone know why a cat MUST puke on carpet?
Yes. They are smart, and know that they are less likely to have "splash back" on a soft surface. There seems to be something instinctual about seeking something out specifically to puke on. Incidentally, I did manage to train one of our regular pukers to use strategically located paper plates...


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Haven't read your posts yet. We put down Dolly! I am bereft. I can't believe it. I wish we could undo it .I dream at night with my mother she's still alive. And I just forgot her somewhere which was my mother's greatest fear. Abandonment.

I'm afraid in the night. That I won't hear an intruder enter. I can't hear anything. Until it's on top of me. Ohhh no. Dolly.
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