Jenny’s positive thoughts…

Jenny shares her life’s lessons and how to seek positive momentum…

The second priority, after letting go of standards, is letting go of false hope. As one’s frustration with one’s narrowing limitations grows, it can be tempting to believe those fluff-press articles about the latest panacea, or spam ads promising to tell (sell) secrets the medical establishment doesn’t want the public to know. One might instead do one’s own research and feel certain that this, (whatever “this” may be) is the sure cure, the magic bullet. And when (of course) it doesn’t work, maybe this? Or this…? Surely, one may feel, life can go back to normal, if a way can only be found…?

But what we have now is normal.

That’s not to say that just giving up is the way to go. For example, I get tired easily and have a hard time getting going in the first place. It often seems as though other people have an extra gear that I never did have even at my healthiest. I expressed this to my physician, who suggested taking a Vitamin D supplement. (I live in the gray Northwest too.) And darned if those little pills didn’t work! I don’t mean that they cured me (ha!), but within 48 hours I noticed a tiny reserve of energy at about the time of day when I expected to just run down. It’s enough for me to do one or two things that make life easier, such as making sure tonight that tomorrow’s cooking things are all clean–or deciding what to cook tomorrow in the first place.

Of course, when pain and weakness are continual distractions, it isn’t as simple as just deciding to do the thing. My physician worked with me to help me successfully take my vitamins despite my foggy brain: I have an alarm on my phone, and the pills live in my purse, which is always nearby at that time, and I take that pill in the middle of a crowd if necessary.

So maybe there’s some little thing that you could be doing for yourself to decrease the distractions of your condition and make your life easier overall. And maybe there’s some way, that might look a little peculiar to other people, to for you to help yourself do it.

Don’t waste your precious energy chasing false hope–but do look for those small but real things that you can do to support your health as it is now.

PS: The rule that if it works it doesn’t matter how weird it looks goes for matters not related to improving your health as well. I know of someone who kept forgetting to take certain necessary items out of the house in the morning because mornings were not a good time. But if he flipped an empty box over, put it in front of the door, and piled the stuff on it the night before–he remembered.

Jenny’s Thoughts…

Jenny offers her life experience re organizing life’s priorities as well hoarding here….

Well, the first thing–I write as I sit here, with five things that ought to be done in the next hour and energy for none of them–is to let go of standards. There is no more “What ought I to do?” Instead there’s “What can I do, with the resources I have?”

This is harder to do than it is to say. We ought to be able to make lists and follow them, dammit. We ought to be able to plan a week ahead. Or a day ahead. Or this afternoon. But sometimes that is just plain not possible. Sitting around beating ourselves up because we ought to have a handle on this just wastes more energy. The handle broke off, it’s gone.

The standards that count, now, are:

*Am I fulfilling the obligations that I CANNOT put down? Paying property tax, showing up at work looking decent, etc.?

*Am I taking care of myself as best I can, so I don’t slip any further? (This means IMMEDIATE needs. If you have X amount of worry-about-yourself energy, and you can spend it on teeth brushing OR on reading about antioxidants…brush your teeth.) (Housecleaning corollary: Your priorities are preventing environmental hazards and removing obstacles from furniture and floor space; let the rest of it go.)

*Am I allowing myself to accept help that I think I don’t deserve because it’s for people who are “really” badly off? One example: If you don’t need a shower chair, but you sure would like to sit down comfortably in the shower…get the shower chair. Another: If the church youth group is offering free lawn care for seniors and mowing the lawn is onerous although you can do it…take the help. Use the energy you save by sitting in the shower/having your lawn mowed to do other tasks.

I feel a bit better just now, so I’m going to do another load of laundry. More another time.

How life evolves…

Been awhile since I have posted anything here. Life has evolved ever so slowly health wise and not so slowly with the loss of family, pets and the struggles of family members.

Health struggles cause one to slow down and become self absorbed with pain, fatigue and motivating self. Aging creates this mental fog or lack of focus. Couple these two health trends and procrastination and self criticism results….nothing really gets done.

One sees how our hoarding family members got to where they were, but also how once their health and happiness declined how they stayed in that hole. Intellectually  I knew this…but now I am experiencing the slow erosion via aging and what little we never got done remains. Joining that is an aging elder with a looming mess (not a hoard) that will need resolution within the next few years.

Life’s lessons observed….then lived.

Same theme, different characters…

In case you have a comment or question, please feel free to reach out here or over at SwittersB & Exploring. Life continues with struggles of old, just the cast of characters have slightly changed. The same issues are apparent: procrastination, fatigue, illnesses, decline, a kind of gloom that prohibits momentum on their part to take control of their surroundings and create space. Right now, I see illness and no energy from it, creating frustrations.

Red rose-long stem-backyard-SwittersB.jpg

Catching up…

but only regarding communicating with you. Not catching up with residual stuff left over after two massive hoarding cleanups.

BY tarps 2011

I few observations re how things might happen to us and to others:

I have remarked before about the sentimental stuff we kept after the two hoarding cleanups. We kept way too much stuff that we will never use.

BY corner

We are still and probably permanently mentally drained from the effort. I think damage was done to our mental capacity to absorb new challenges. We drained the batteries down and we seem incapable of recharging to full capacity.


Take that mental capacity and now join it together with recently suffering health on both our parts and we find ourselves mentally and physically in a hole. My partner has always been the driving force behind organizing and getting it done. I was fortunate beyond belief in having her steadfast resolve in seeing every cleanup project through. Now that has become severely compromised by health and I find without her, I do not have the same resolve either. This is frustrating for us both because we do need to finish up those final cleanup phases!


We also have pending cleanup likely of a family member that has all manner of stuff. Not of a massive nature but still a lot of stuff that will have to be dealt with in the not to distant future.

And so it seems we might be in a position similar to where our passed loved ones were in life when the saw their dilemma, but did not possess the mental or physical capacity to address the issues. We don’t have a shame factor so letting someone in would not be the problem. But right now, we would feel overloaded and befuddled to delegate or organize a push for a completed solution. A far cry from five years ago when we conquered every obstacle in our pathway.


So I think the take away is don’t leave or create loose ends if burnout or physical debilities are going to thwart your abilities to take on those last vestiges of finishing up. It may not get done later and then what?

I don’t mean this to be a do or die moment in life for us. But it shows how you can be a few steps away from the place our loved ones were and then they compounded it all with more and more acquisitions…

Almost Done

So we pray Springtime and a bit of warmth and sunshine will lift the Winter doldrums and give us renewed focus and energy to once and for all be done with stuff that lingers from the hoarding past. It sure as heck is a very long ways from the old days for sure….. thanks for reading!!!

Should note, so as not to alarm, these are photos from the cleanup days and not now!!! 🙂




A meaningful quote…

“I’m beginning to realise that I’m either overly sentimental, or am a hoarder who struggles to part with things. In all honesty, I’m probably both.” Fennel Hudson, Fennel’s Journal, No. 2

Found this quote while searching for a quote re memories, sentimental, vintage for my other blog, SwittersB & Exploring. The quote resonated re sentiments and hoarding.

Right now, we (my wife and I) are doing the following: continuing to cull through the excessive stuff we kept that belonged to my Mom and my Aunt. Mentally we are in a good place to get this done. Also, we are dealing with my in laws that are struggling to downsize in late life. There we are up against sentimentality and also the worth of every object, whether broken, junk or not touched in years. The latter project is more challenging as you can imagine. But, for us, there is not the urgency yet. Not our stuff….yet. And, we have other siblings to help and step up to wade through the years of accumulation. Not hoarders but just a lot of stuff that has built up and no energy to sort through due to health reasons and aging.

Sentimentality and memories are powerful stuff don’t you agree?

Deja vu….

Been awhile since I last posted here at Hoarding Woes & You. I hope some of you new visitors have found the back posts of interest in helping you deal with the stresses of hoarding, at whatever level you are dealing with the problem.

Out family is yet again, facing some of the same variables that we dealt with these past several years: elder care, dementia, denial, moderate accumulations of stuff, family dynamics, future health care decisions, cleanups and wondering how the family will deal with the evolving stages.

This time, a probable benefit will be a larger family unit to assist in cleanups, decision-making and elder care.

The same sensibilities are evolving: attempting to not steamroll the elders with impatience, confusing advise or many voices at once. Pride and fears are evident in the elders and it important the family members remind each other to go slow, to listen as much as speak, to share the load of care and to give the elders some sense of ownership and empowerment as life unfolds. So far, this effort at awareness has had its bumps and hurt feelings.

Also, some have worked to the point of exhaustion or illness. Yet, most have jobs, other obligations of family and their own respective health issues. It is a blessing that this time around we, as an extended family unit, have more human potential to maintain a happy, healthy course of action.

I have been ill of late (nothing too serious), but it highlights more than rising off one’s sick bed to help at all costs…no, one is contagious and cannot be around already sick elders and all that could go with infecting the sick elder as well as the caregivers.

Again, we are faced with a wait and see mode regarding any cleanups because the elders are really not of a mind to have their belongings moved let alone sold or donated. So, to keep the peace, we are organizing a bit, suggesting cleanups and yard maintenance, but not pushing true removal/thinning of items. This next effort pales in comparison to our two previous hoarding cleanup, but will still require decisions on downsizing, moving, sales, keepsakes, etc.

Even here, there is a hesitancy to complete DNR paperwork or at least have a discussion. With one member being in moderate dementia the time may have passed to have a meaningful discussion re healthcare expectation and end of life decisions.

So, even having been down this road several times before, we find ourselves looking at some of the same problems again.