Client Story: Organizing systems outweighed clutter, fear, & shame

One of Sappari Solutions very special clients shares this story:

Over the past several years our home had become completely unmanageable. My husband and I, despite our best efforts, seemed unable to make a significant dent in the amount of clutter that most of the rooms in the house had accumulated.  I am physically disabled and my husband is blind, so even though we work together very well, around our limitations, we realized we needed outside help to make the changes we wanted.

“Despite our best efforts, we seemed unable to make a significant dent in the amount of clutter.”

Many years ago, I was agoraphobic, depressed, extremely obese (my top weight was 750 pounds) and experienced panic attacks due to PTSD.  My home had become another wall of safety preventing people from getting close to me.  It was wall to wall clutter, with only a few places to sit, and no one ever came to visit.  I had friends that held an intervention for me and came to help me “dig out.”  I was so ashamed to have them see how I was living, but it was extremely helpful and made my life more manageable for a few years.  However, I was not able to maintain the changes they had made, partly due to my physical and mental limitations, but also since I made very little progress in changing the behaviors that got my home in that condition.  I was not able to set new systems in place that would set me up for success in maintaining a manageable environment.

The clutter became a wall of safety, keeping people from getting too close.

In 2002 I had a near death health crisis due to my obesity, was hospitalized for 6 months, and started on a miraculous journey of physical, emotional and spiritual transformation.  I have lost 450 pounds so far, have gone back to graduate school to get a Master’s Degree in Social Work, have had 2 knee replacements, and have truly gotten my life back.  I went from a very small world of being paralyzed and controlled by my fear, to making daily progress expanding my world one baby step at a time.

Despite all the progress I have experienced, I was still overwhelmed by the amount of the clutter in my house.  At times, I had no idea where to start, and when I did start somewhere, it seemed I made very little progress. Any small improvement I achieved would soon go back to the way it had been before. I was overwhelmed, felt helpless and ashamed to ask for help.

450 pounds of emotional clutter gone, but outside help was still needed to make the necessary changes.

The spark that started me working with Sappari Solutions came when my husband wanted to have his brother, his guide dog, and our niece
come to visit from Florida for my husband’s 50th birthday. We wanted to be comfortable having them in our house and having a meal together, even if they weren’t staying with us the whole visit. I called a cleaning service but when they came they told us that they could do very little to help us due to the clutter and that we should get an organizing company to assist in decluttering.

From the first planning visit with Nettie and Amy the change has truly been miraculous. After 12 hours of work with my organizer and an assistant (Scott), followed by a deep cleaning from the cleaning service, our living room, kitchen, and bathroom are now comfortable living spaces for us and for visitors. There is still work to be done in the bedroom, office and den, but that now feels doable. I am still working on putting items back into kitchen cabinets now that they are cleaned, but I do a little every day and no longer feel overwhelmed.

After seriously decluttering and a good deep clean managing the organizing systems seems doable.

There have been so many improvements in my life since working with Sappari Solutions; I would say the transformation has been miraculous.  The most significant improvements have come in the feeling of hope and encouragement I now feel about the process and being able to maintain it in the future. I have the energy to do a little every day to make changes, develop systems that work for us, and keep up the progress we have made so far.

My relationship with my husband has improved since we are no longer as tense as we used to be when we couldn’t find something we were looking for.  The cats are no longer creating avalanches when one jumps on a pile of stuff.  My husband isn’t knocking things over while trying to carry something from one room to another. We no longer only have paths around the house but have open spaces that we can both easily navigate without fear of tripping and falling. Our quality of life is definitely better, and don’t feel ashamed of how we live anymore.

We no longer have to have a sense of fear when someone drops by, and no longer have to make excuses why people can’t come in. My husband has told me several times how much he appreciates the efforts I have made starting the process with Sappari Solutions. He applauds all the hard work we’ve done so far, and the plans we’ve made for the rest of the house. When I began working with Sappari Solutions my husband was on vacation visiting family in Florida.  He works full time while I am home on disability, and he acknowledges that he hasn’t been able to do very much yet, but is extremely willing to do what needs to be done to achieve and maintain a comfortable living space.

“I really enjoy that my outsides are more reflecting my insides.”

I especially am enjoying my renewed energy and the sense of hope that I can transform and keep my living space in a way that reflects the personal recovery I have achieved over the last several years.  I really enjoy that my outsides are more reflecting my insides.  I know my husband has especially enjoyed having visitors over without a sense of embarrassment, being able to enjoy a meal at the kitchen table.  I am enjoying the two of us eating together at the table for the first time in several years.


You can achieve peace and calm

It’s time to get out from underneath the clutter. And it is not just physical clutter that is holding you back from living the life of your dreams but the clutter in your schedule and your mind. The focus for you right now needs to be on identifying the issues, finding their source, letting go of that stuff that is holding you back. You need to set goals and prioritize around what it is you are trying to achieve and why that is important to you.



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