Hoarders

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Have you seen the A&E program Hoarders? I watch the show every week on Channel 161 on Monday nights from 10-11pm. If I don’t watch the new episode, I DVR it. Yes, I am a faithful follower.


One of the reasons I like the show is I have a celebrity connection. I have worked closely with a frequent expert on the program.

A few years ago, hoarding and organizational expert, Geralin Thomas helped me transform my home office. I was NOT her first client nor am I a hoarder but wow, she was amazing! My home office had previously been a place of embarrassment and dread but with her assistance , my office became a thing of personality and beauty! As I watch Geralin work with her hoarding clients, I often hear her saying things to the hoarders that she said to me. I’m sure that is mere coincidence, right?

Another reason I like the show is that it’s fas- cinating. There are these distraught people living in absolute squalor and they toil and lament throwing out the smallest thing. A piece of paper, a withered basket, a mildewed book, everything appears to be impossible to dispose of properly. There is filth and dust everywhere and they agonize over minutiae! It feels like a personal victory to me when the people seem to make progress but I admit the show can produce anxiety in me as I see their mess flash over the tv screen.

And as I sit in my family room on Monday nights, just as I’m ready to kick my judgemental side into full gear, I am chastened. The reason is that on each Monday night, during a commercial or when the program ends, I begin looking around my own house and discover things that need to go. In my purse, my closet, my dressers, there is stuff that has long overstayed its welcome and usefulness. It is freeing to release things that are no longer needed but honestly it can be sad.

I originally had this post almost ready to go several days ago. I didn’t publish it because I hadn’t accomplished the thing I was going to write about. But I’m mustering the courage to do it today. I am going to do it no matter what!

I am saying goodbye to an 18 year old washrag.
I cannot tell you the age of any other washrag in my house but this one is special to me. I might even say I love this washrag. The threadbare cloth belonged to my oldest OS when he was a little boy. Nate will be 20 in a few months and it is/was a Barney washrag. Most of the purple dinosaur has been scrubbed away but it’s been the first washrag I reach for in my linen closet for lo these many years.

My OS has long since parted ways with Barney. He’s a yearling at West Point and has no affinity whatsoever to this thing.

But I’m a sen-timental mama. This silly washrag represents an adorable, toe-head boy who is my pride and joy and is now a remarkable young man full of ambition and integrity.

When Geralin helped me in my home office, I would find myself struggling with getting rid of things. She gave me permission to dispose of things and assured me that if I threw something out, it didn’t diminish the love I have for that person! What a revelation!




So with that in mind, thank you Barney washrag for the memories! Thank you for doing such a great job all these years! You’ve cleaned a lot of body parts! ­čśë You certainly outdid yourself but I’m making room for new memories and really hoping Nate will find the West Point gift shop has a West Point washrag or a Digital ACU towel for Mother’s Day!

Chaos and clutter, order and wonder

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It’s incredible the feeling of freedom and empowerment a person can feel from a calendar. About two years ago my organization consultant turned me on to an old-fashioned concept. Little did I know the changes it would bring and how the trickle-down effect would help two other people in the process.

Prior to enlisting the help of Geralin (who by the way is one of my besties although she doesn’t really know it), I was a cluttered mess. I suppose in utero, as the Lord was knitting me carefully in my mother’s womb, He gave me an overabundant┬álove of words and virtually no innate gift of organization.┬á

For years, I have survived without a calendar. I’d make an appointment at a doctor’s office, get the little card detailing the date and time and then promptly lose the business card. This meant, either

1. hoping I had the date tucked securely (yeah, right) in my brain or 
2. calling the office to get the information every.single.time. This is a picture of chaos. 


Then, upon getting the information, I would go to my computer, log on and enter it into the calendar program. Maybe. If I were in an especially organized mood, I might even print out the calendar sheets and then stuff them into my purse/plastic bag/whatever. The process failed miserably. 

But somehow, miraculously, I plodded along assuming my life was doomed to chaos.

Enter Geralin…I truly believe the Lord put her in my life because she gave me the impetus to transform many aspects of my harried life…like my home office went from this


to this…


As I allowed her to investigate other aspects of my life, she asked me how I kept track of appointments and important dates. With a shameful gulp, I attempted to explain my paltry system which she quickly poo-pooed (sp?). Instead of my completely unreliable technique, Geralin told /urged /forced /suggested /recommended these guys and their products.

I consider myself to be a fairly technologically savvy person but she urged me to employ a time-honored tradition…a paper calendar (I really like this style) and, get this, a pencil!

Since I devote a lot of my professional life to speaking, I can’t tell you how much easier it is for me to see when/where/if I can speak by simply leafing through my calendar. And it’s equally exciting to use a pencil because I can effortlessly changes dates without leaving inky scribble marks all over the place.

My co-worker now uses the same method. I love it when we are together and we can check our schedules with a mere turn of a page.


But the really exciting person for me to introduce this method to is my mom. She had several doctor appointments today and the physical therapist commented to her, “Wow, you are really organized!” Now I have her set up with a calendar and a binder to store all her important paperwork. And at the risk of sounding braggadocious, I even scrap booked the front and back of her binder with some treasured photos I had around the house.┬á


Yes, having a calendar and being aware of one’s life, the comings and the goings has brought freedom and control into my scattered brain. I highly recommend it – Hail to the Calendar and the Pencil!