Hoarding Woes: Organizational Suggestions

If you have the slightest ‘genetic’ predisposition toward hoarding, collecting or have a life complicated on multiple levels, I suggest some effort to organize your inflow of mail, documents, tasks amidst the sometimes unending flow.

Last year, my hoarding mom was with us, in our home for the final 5 months. During that time, all her mail and legal issues were channeled into our home, mostly via the mail. My mom died and we took on her house. A year later we are still taking on her house. We also took on my aunt’s care and because of her hoarding life style and my role as her power of attorney, all her mail comes into our home. My wife’s business mail comes in. My wife has serious health issues so an inordinate amount of medical mail flows in along with my aunt’s medical mail. You see where this is going. Our kid’s mail is delivered here and of course they are off to the far corners only rarely crashing here. So, right now we have 6 people’s mail, one business’s mail and all the junk mail stacked on the desk in the kitchen, on the island in the kitchen, on the kitchen table, on the stairs as you come in the front door. I am being honest. Not pretty, I know.  

We receive enough inches of mail each day to appear to be a small business operation. That is legit, purposeful mail. Add in the junk mail and it is a lot in a week, especially if it is not sorted and properly handled. It is not. So, because there is no admin asst. lurking nearby, the confusion and delays are inevitable.

So, this week, I received a call from our attorney. The probate court wanted an accounting at the one year mark of the estate’s management. An extension was in order as we are no where near selling the house…given that after 7 enormously successful weekend sales, the house remains cluttered with final stuff after all the crap is out and all the ‘good stuff’ has been sold. The treasures and keepsakes have been removed. The attorney said how much is in the bank acct. under the name of “The Estate of  XXXXX  XXXXXXX”? “What account?” I asked. Long pause…… “You were suppose to establish a bank account in your mom’s name and gather any monies there in order to pay her sizable debt. We explained all this in the letters we sent you. Have you read those?” Long pause…..

This morning, I grabbed the two large cardboard boxes full of mail for my mom and aunt. The bills for both are always paid on time but the other mail seems to accumulate and results in the above moments. No excuses. It shouldn’t be. It is what happens when many levels of life continually cascade in upon us and we cope by either curling up in a ball, doing immediate tasks and not really multi task very well or if you are clear headed enough handle it all. I don’t seem to fall into the latter category of late. I use to.

So, a serious effort will ensue this week to create honest individual filing systems for each area of concern and to sort and clear that mail on a daily basis, then keep track of due dates and legal requirements.

If you are not normally organized, then watch out for the problems that will ensue if the mail stacks up. As life closes in and medical issues mount and mental energy slows, you can get behind in a hurry. Aside from dishes not getting done, laundry not getting done, the lawn not mowed, the tip off of over load is the mail, sometimes important mail, does not get handled.

Be aware……. The hoarding woes can influence your previously, somewhat, organized life. Oh, I have a bank account to get set up in a hurry. 


3 thoughts on “Hoarding Woes: Organizational Suggestions

  1. Mara

    Wow, you’ve really got a lot on your plate! To open an estate account, you’ll probably need a certified copy of the death certificate, a certified copy of the court’s order appointing you as executor/personal representative, various proofs of your identification, and funds to deposit into the new account. You’ll also need to order a supply of checks. Once the account is open, keep very careful records of payments and deposits because that’s what’s needed to prepare the accounting. Good luck, and if you need help, advice, or just someone to scream at while in the throes of utter frustration, I’ll be here for you.

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