Hoarding and no one would have a clue Case Study by Cheryl Carter Every Home Matters

About the Client

Miss B is a middle-aged woman living alone and in isolation, in a one-bedroom, top floor apartment. The apartment forms part of a four-storey block of flats with no lift and is owned by a Housing Association.

Her challenge.

Miss B had been abused as a child, experienced heartache and several bereavements, including that of her mother who she had cared for, in her apartment, in the later part of her life.

Being unable to cope with the overwhelming emotions of loss and betrayal, led to anxiety and depression, resulting in hoarding tendencies. Having watched television programmes on hoarding, she lived in fear of being judged and shamed, so she kept it secret from everyone, so no one had a clue. This meant that she had not entertained anyone in her apartment for over twelve years and lost her passion for cooking, in particular her love for baking cakes for friends and local charities.

Miss B contacted Every Home Matters, in a state of panic and fear when scaffolding was being erected on the block of flats, to enable external maintenance to commence. She had not answered any correspondence from the Housing Association or answered the door when anyone came knocking to check whether the condition of all the properties internally.

Being anxious and hesitant, we reassured her and offered a free consultation, but she was not ready to let anyone in. We suggested keeping in contact and to call if she needed any support. Over a period of a couple of months Miss B kept in contact.

One morning she rang in tears and desperation, as someone from the Housing Association has been knocking on her front door and posted a notice that if she did not respond they would assume the property was empty and take possession.

We reassured her with our support and asked Miss B if we could meet with me in person for a coffee, a short walk away from her home, and a date was agreed.

On the day, having given her lots of reassurance and explaining once again that we are here to support and help her, not judge her, Miss B agreed to give me access to her property and assess how we could assist.

How Every Home Matters Helped

On entering the property Miss B was very embarrassed and kept apologising. I told her that she had nothing to apologise for. She led me into the lounge, which was cramped with furniture, as Miss B’s settee and bed were in the same room.

As we sat and talked, Miss B started to relax and open-up, explaining that she could not enter her bathroom and bedroom as there were too many painful memories associated to them. She had nursed her mother in the later stages of her life and her mother had died there, and then more recently her beloved dog and companion had died in the bathroom.

As Miss B could not access the bathroom, she borrowed an elderly neighbour’s facilities when she checked on her each day and to wash, she would go to the local swimming baths.

With reassurance that I would be present to support her, Miss B agreed to meeting with the maintenance manager at the Housing Association.

The meeting was productive, Miss B agreed to pay for our services, whilst the Housing Association agreed to refurbish the bathroom and redecorate the property once it had been decluttered.

In addition to this, to reduce Miss B’s costs for our services they even agreed for a couple of their site staff to collect and dispose the bags from her property at the close of our services each time.

Before commencing our services and with Miss B’s consent I signposted her to her GP for counselling, hoarding workshops and cognitive therapy. Our services took three days and whilst working with Miss B, she opened-up, talking about her past, the abuse, the bereavements, and heartaches without being prompted.

All possessions have a story, not all of them are painful and they get conversations going… focusing on the positives is healing, motivational and uplifting!

On completion of our services the Housing Association kept their word and refurbished her apartment. Miss B sourced a personal development centre in Convent Garden (Inner Space) who offered free mindfulness classes. Four months later Miss B secured employment and then invited me round for tea and to sample her delicious lemon drizzle cake!

Do you need help decluttering and organising your home?

Contact Us today to arrange an appointment for Cheryl and her team to help you. 

P.S. We didn’t take a before photo but here’s the after photo of Miss B’s organised and de-cluttered home.

hoarding and no one would have a clue? Case Study b y Cheryl Carter Every Home Matters

Allow us to help you with your hoarding challenges, like Miss B.  We are here to help you.  Contact Us today.