For those struggling with excessive clutter or hoarding behavior, peer support is essential. Connecting with others who share your lived experience lets you know that you are not alone and offers much-needed hope. The bond that is built in support groups among peers is rooted in empathy which facilitates empowerment and enables change. Having this safe space among trusted peers can present challenges though when it comes to the work of de-cluttering.
In support groups, there is one steady, st rule: NO ONE GOES HOME WITH ANYONE ELSE’S STUFF! NO EXCEPTIONS! On the surface, this may seem like an easy enough rule to follow, and it is, except for when it is not, and there are two primary reasons it is not.
- It is easier to part with an item if it is known to be going to someone who will appreciate it and value it in the same way you do.
- Attachments and difficulty letting go.
So what harm is there in letting someone take home an item that I am ok with letting go of since I know they will value it like I do? And what is the harm of me taking something home that someone has offered me when I like the item and it will make them feel better? The harm in both is that it sabotages the goals of both people involved and undermines their progress.
One of the reasons people join a de-cluttering group is to learn skills and strategies to de-clutter. If group becomes a place to donate and acquire items, the group becomes pointless. De-cluttering is challenging work and progress comes from working through those challenges. Offering items to others in group based on the knowledge that they are empathetic to your attachments and how you value items does not challenge you to address your thoughts and behaviors. Additionally, this sabotages the other person’s goals by putting them into a position where they may feel obligated to take the item home. Once it is home, the empathy for you and your struggle will increase the attachment to the item, reinforcing the need to keep the item and undermining their work in letting things go.
(Members of The Clutter Movement online community have direct access to experienced and professional support, coaching, consultations, and education. Through weekly live groups, weekly virtual office hours, monthly educational webinars, topic specific forums and live chat, professional training modules, and a library full of resources we are breaking down the biggest barriers to treatment and support for hoarding: access and affordability. Now individuals, family members, and professionals have 24/7 access to affordable professional coaching, consultation, guidance, and training at their fingertips. Join us today! )