Hoarder Or Sleep? A Deprived Zombie

Have you seen all the hoarding shows that have been popping up on TV lately? I think many people are shocked that this issue is out there, but trust me, I’ve seen my fair share of clients who have been stricken with this affliction. One client had a mountain of papers stacked up on his stovetop – must have been there for years. Another had three quarters of his bed so stacked up with stuff, I thought it was dangerous for him to try to sleep in the leftover spec of bed space left. And then there was the lady that had so many animals and animal feces in the house, my sinuses burned horribly throughout the “feng shui” consultation, and the other lady that among other clutter, had 10 ash-filled urns in just one small living room space. Talk about a dead-feeling energy – it was hard to just stay awake in this sleepy, still, dark room filled with long lost relatives. Yes, hoarding is out there more than you might think.

Well, the shows have it right, it’s not about telling them “Clean this place up and you’ll feel great!” That just won’t do. This is a physical/mental illness issue – not simply an organization-challenged issue. I once spent three and a half hours talking with a client about the possibility of clearing off the dining room table. Trust me – it’s not about the stuff on the table.

However, here’s one idea to consider before you call the hoarding show producers. If you think you might have an issue with hoarding or have been told by others that there’s a problem, get your sleeping patterns checked.

Sleep deprivation or a condition called sleep apnea may be supporting this issue. “Scientists already know – and most of us can confirm firsthand -that lack of sleep impairs cognitive function. Sleep-restricted individuals have a shorter attention span, impaired memory, and a longer reaction time.” (Sleep/Sleep Disorders News, Jan. ’06) They also go on to say that the part of the brain that helps you “think spatially” (as in what to do with your stuff in your space) is not able to rejuvenate itself without the proper amount of sleep. So, if you think that might be you, try getting more sleep to regenerate that part of your brain that handles organization. (Of course, all my bedroom feng shui tips for rest and rejuvenation are always good to follow to get the best quality of sleep.) If you’re beyond feng shui help for sleep, visit a doctor or Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner for help. And, of course, if the sleep studies check out OK, I’d suggest seeking help from a professional who specializes in hoarding to get you on the path to wellness and clarity of space.

How do you know you’ve got the job done right? You should literally feel like it is easier to take a bigger breath (a hot tip if you suffer from asthma or other lung ailment) and you should internally feel more calm and peaceful.

Happy decluttering!