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Grandma's Problem: Hoarding can be Helped

While raising seven children in Minnesota, my Grandmother spent a lot of her free time attending auctions, estate sales and antique stores. Also, she saw the potential in everything! Thus, she saved every newspaper, magazine and container. The result was a home with a large accumulation of stuff. As a child, I loved to visit her home and explore with my young cousins “her hoard” while the adults would visit. It was fascinating to hear the adults discuss “Grandma’s problem”. It was the topic of many heated discussions frequently ending with sharp words, strong, and hurt feelings. It was not until I was older that I began to ask her questions about her stuff and I learned how complicated it was for my Grandmother. It was the beginning of my interest in learning to help folks with this problem.

Joining a support group lead by a mental health professional can help individuals identify the cause for their behavior and learn how to change their thinking. People can also learn how to organize and develop habits to keep their spaces at work or home functional and attractive. Groups give participants the support, accountability, and skills to make these changes last.

Today there are more options for help than existed for my Grandmother. I often wonder if she would have benefited from being with others. If you or someone you love is struggling and want some help, I am offering a new "Buried in Treasures" workshop, to be held Monday afternoons in Walnut Creek, beginning September 9. Learn more and register at

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