When stuff gets in the way

I’m not sure if you’ve seen this ad for Myer’s Give Registry (I’m in no way endorsing Myer and they certainly aren’t paying me for this mention of them). There are a couple but this one struck me the most. Having worked with many women who have escaped domestic violence, they now (quite understandably) hold onto every item they can. This makes sense, if you never know what you are going to come home to, what items will be broken or used as a weapon against you. This ‘saving’ can lead to clutter and hoarding and can mask the post traumatic stress disorder underneath. There’s a great book called ‘Stuff, Compulsive Hoarding and the meaning of things, by Randy Frost. It details a dozen or so people with their history with trauma and how the collecting and keeping made sense, in order to deal with life. So, take the time to understand what role the stuff is playing before trying to help them address their attachment to it.  And be mindful that clutter and hoarding can be form of elder abuse!

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