Organiser Geelong Blog – “WOW Factor Off the Scale!”

Professional Organiser Geelong.  For the record, Geelong Professional Organiser, Elise Purkis, does not own shares in Thermomix.  Yeah… Right…

 

The brain’s pretty cool, right? It’s like a super organ. It’s faster than the super-est of computers, more powerful than all other animal brains put together and able to make leaps of faith when no evidence exists. Most other organs just… sieve. Our brains sieve, collect, organise, control, feel, determine, dramatise – I mean, it does everything. It’s like a Thermomix!

Now, imagine if your Thermomix suddenly started steaming when you had it on the stir function. Or if it aerated when you had set it to chop. These malfunctions could turn your soufflé into soup. It’s still a Thermomix but it’s a Thermomix that can’t be trusted to operate as nature intended.

Welcome to the brain of a hoarder. It’s still a Thermomix – it’s just that a couple of the buttons aren’t wired properly.

Fortunately, there are some psychological scientist types out there whose brains are like super Thermomixes. I’m talking interplanetary alien smarts. Some of them have got together to study brains. Now, I’m tipping when people with big brains get together to study brains only good can come from it.

Anyway, they’ve built a machine, and frankly, it’s a machine that’s better than a Thermomix! And it’s got a way cooler name! They call it the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator. Like – WOW factor off the scale! It’s hoped that one day this will be able to provide therapy to hoarders.

Now, I might just get a little serious for this next bit…

The TMS can, non-surgically, penetrate more deeply into the brain which is where you must go to get to the areas that are active in hoarders. It’s because of these overactive regions that hoarders are unable to make reasonable decisions about their stuff. It’s thought that by massaging them with magnetic stimulation some new processing patterns may be established.

For the record, I have no shares or financial interest whatsoever in Thermomix. However, I am considering investing in Transcranial Magnetic Stimulators.

 

Thanks for reading.

Professional Organiser Geelong

Elise Purkis.

Professional Organiser Blog – “Bowerbirds and Cherry Ripe Wrappers”

Geelong’s Professional Organiser, Elise Purkis, sees the world of hoarders in a completely different light to most.  Ask any bowerbird.

 

The male bowerbird during the courtship season is an amazing animal. In order to attract a mate he will spend hundreds of hours collecting prized possessions. Brightly coloured shells, bottle tops, lolly wrappers, stones, straws and twine are all scattered around to create his version of the red carpet.  When his goddess appears, he hopes she is sufficiently impressed with his threshold that she will walk over it to his nest so birds of a feather may flock together. Aah… what a romantic.

Okay, that’s his version. To the rest of us – his assortment of stuff often resembles a hoarder’s house! Let’s face it, we’re talking about stuff no one else wants!

Nonetheless, imagine the thrill of acquisition the boy bowerbird senses when he sees a Cherry Ripe wrapper.  Consider the feeling of ecstasy that overwhelms him when he realises this joyous new jewel is his and he can bring it back to his nest to make himself a babe-magnet. Imagine the sense of wealth and prosperity he bathes in knowing his future progeny are tied to this magical piece of discarded cellophane!

Like all analogies, eventually they fall apart when a full comparison is revealed. However, the similarities to this point between hoarders and bowerbirds are clear. A hoarder’s possessions are treasures to which there is often an emotional connection. This is why forced removal of their stuff is the wrong way to deal with the condition. Doing this will often result in resentment and distrust – no matter how well-meaning the removalist is.

So please, for your hoarder’s sake, resist the temptation to remove stuff without permission.  Instead, resign yourself to the idea that helping them will be a long-term effort and your support is critical. With this mindset, you’ll be welcome to walk through their bejewelled chambers and just be friends. And remember, that old Neil Diamond CD could in fact be a cherished drink-coaster which invokes fond memories.

Thanks for reading.

Geelong Professional Organiser

Elise Purkis

Geelong Professional Organiser Blog – “Secret Agents”

Geelong Professional Organiser, Elise Purkis, has an imagination that’s hard to contain.  In the following blog she connects James Bond to hoarding.  What the…

 

In our childhood, many of us dreamt of leading the double life of a secret agent. You know, a James Bond type with exceptional powers of perception and the talent to immediately master military equipment while still retaining the ability to hand our homework in on time! Then, as we grew older, this double life became a far-flung idea. Instead, we opted for the security of 9-5 knowing bank managers would struggle to believe we could make mortgage repayments if being regularly shot at by the sadistic henchmen of megalomaniacs.

Conversely, hoarders are often forced to lead double lives due to shame. They are frequently solitary figures since maintaining a relationship is nearly impossible in the hoard of old newspapers, bread wrappers and fermenting socks. I mean really – whose romance meter can red-line when there are carburettors, air filters and solenoids kept between the sheets? It’s enough to give you sheets!

Family members too sometimes find they slowly disconnect from their hoarder relatives. This additional disengagement can be caused by exasperation, a feeling of overwhelming helplessness or a physical inability to find them in all the stuff. “Sam, is that you behind Magazine Mountain?”

It’s natural that people feel uncomfortable in a hoarder’s house. Where do you sit? What’s that smell? Did that pile move? Yet cutting them off will not help. So perhaps there’s another way…

Dr Randy Frost is a hoarding expert. He says hoarders must “learn how to live in and be comfortable with a cleared room.”

Combining this idea with the well-known maxim familiarity breeds contempt may provide some small steps along the road to recovery for your hoarding friend. So, try inviting your hoarder friend or family member to your place instead of going to theirs. Over time, this may give them the confidence they require to believe they can be comfortable in a cleared room while slowly disavowing their Double O status.

Thanks for reading.

Geelong Professional Organiser

Elise Purkis.

Geelong Organiser Blog – “Rosebud explained” (part 2 of 2)

Geelong Organiser, Elise Purkis, is about to lift the lid on the connection between ‘Citizen Kane’ and sufferers of Hoarding Disorder.

 

Okay, you’ve had a week to do your homework so hopefully by now you’ve had a chance to download and watch Citizen Kane. Or do I have to give some of you detention?!?!

Rosebud was the name of a sleigh young Charles Kane would play on in the snow. When his life was coming to an end, the man who had everything wanted to distil his whole existence to one childhood treasure associated with carefree fun. The power, politicians, art and antiquities were of little importance. Instead the rosebud he wanted pressed between his pages for eternity was a childhood memory.

What’s your “Rosebud”?

When you’re lying there at the end, as we all must, what will you give prominence to? A person, place or thing? A song, poem or movie? A memory, book or photograph? A regret?

Of course it’s hard, through the course of a life, to nail it down to one thing – especially when your demise is, hopefully, a long way off!  Yet it’s an interesting exercise and a place to open a conversation that may otherwise be difficult to start.

The reason I’m encouraging this approach is because having a conversation is often the guidance offered by therapists who regularly deal with hoarders. An external link, such as a movie, can provide a non-invasive and unexpected opportunity to begin one.  With barriers lowered, by using the movie as a subtext, some clarity may prevail and small steps in the right direction may be gained.  If a few suggestions could be isolated for what may occupy a hoarder’s mind right at their end, it may put the rest of their stuff into perspective.  Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thought to leave your favourite hoarder with?

 

Thanks for reading.  I hope it’s been useful.

Geelong Organiser, Elise Purkis.

Geelong Professional Organiser Blog – “Rosebud” (part 1 of 2)

Professional Organiser, Elise Purkis, demonstrates an easy way to open up a conversation with your hoarder friend or family member.  It’s a discussion which could change a life.

 

Who’s seen the movie Citizen Kane?

Don’t feel obligated to answer but, as a reformed hoarder, there’s a line in it I think of sometimes. Before I get to that, let me explain a little of the movie for those who haven’t seen this classic of the cinema…

The character Charles Foster Kane was modelled on the real-life historical figure William Randolph Hearst. Hearst was an American newspaper tycoon operating in the late 1800’s. Oh – and he was rich. I’m not talking ‘comfortably rich.’ No, I’m talking ‘debilitatingly rich.’

One of the freedoms vast wealth enables is that of endless acquisition. To a hoarder, that’s very, very attractive. You see, when you’re rich you can always build another shed to organise your stuff in and that makes it much easier to locate your last electricity bill.

In the movie, Kane collected (hoarded?) art, antiquities, animals and more. If you can name it, he wanted it and he didn’t let it go once he had it. So what was the meaning of his famous parting word? Why would a man with such power and who was famous for creating newspapers full of words only have one to utter right at the end of his life? In the movie, the answer is sought by the young reporter obsessed with Kane. For here was a man who had the world at his feet: he influenced governments, public opinion, controlled an empire and hoarded everything and anything yet he reduced it all to one word on his deathbed. So what was the hidden meaning in that single word – “Rosebud”?

Now, of course I won’t spoil the movie – even though it was made in 1941!!! But I would like to pose a simple question to all hoarders out there. If you haven’t seen the movie please watch it before answering. Friends and family of hoarders, this may be an easy way to start a conversation.

So…

What’s your ‘Rosebud’?

To be continued next week…

 

As they say in the classics – stay tuned!

Geelong’s Professional Organiser

Elise Purkis

Geelong Organiser Blog – “I’ve got nothing, Jerry. Nothing!”

Professional Geelong Organiser, Elise Purkis, is embarking upon a series of blogs to help the friends and family of hoarders cope.  She has a completely different take on how to help…

 

In this series of blogs I’ll attempt to educate and entertain on the subject of hoarding. Educating is easy, there’s plenty of literature and research on the subject. Entertaining? Well, that’s slightly more problematic. Despite this, I believe it’s necessary to help hoarders be accepted in society and to gently coax them into changing their minds about how they live. Only then can they become willing to recognise their possessions for what they are and develop the required bravery to change their habits. Besides, being a hoarder doesn’t mean you don’t have a sense of humour. It just means it may be difficult to locate amongst all your stuff!

To my knowledge, this strategy has never been tried before. Consequently it may just provide those who find themselves dealing with hoarders with another method to help their loved ones overcome this debilitating disorder. And while I’m running the risk of appearing insensitive, let me assure you – I’m not.

I’m Elise Purkis, reformed hoarder and sitcom addict. Remember George Costanza from Seinfeld? One of his famous lines was, “I’ve got nothing, Jerry. Nothing!” The problem with hoarders is they have everything and actually need very little of it. They are polar opposites of George.

Newspapers and magazines are very popular with hoarders. They seem not to realise, despite the mountains of them they have, that a new one is printed every day. A hoarder would argue: “But the story on page 4 is vitally important and I need to keep a copy close in case I need to refer to it later.”

Really? The story on page 6 of today’s paper is exactly the same as yours from 1994 – a male politician is lying about wearing women’s underwear while being fitted for a bra. It’s only the characters that change, not the stories.

Anyway, if you’re willing to give this a crack with me then… great! Could be a bumpy flight but, aren’t we all glad the Wright Brothers had a go?

 

Thanks for reading.

Professional Geelong Organiser

Elise Purkis.