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The clutter and compulsion behind hoarding
Published Monday, November 19, 2012 6:06PM MST
Last Updated Monday, November 19, 2012 6:41PM MST
A Calgary senior gave CTV News a glimpse into her unbelievable home as she tackles her problem with hoarding.
Grace shares a disorder with millions of other North Americans and she isn't exactly sure how she accumulated the squalor that fills her home of 35 years.
She doesn't know what compelled her to hang on to the papers, books and boxes that have overrun her home.
“I mean it wasn't this big of a mess. I don't really know. Too many things going on and you'll do it tomorrow,” said Grace.
Dianna Campbell-Smith says usually compulsive hoarding connects to a past trauma or loss.
“When they're left with that feeling of loss, sometimes objects become a way to feel safe and whole again,” said Campbell-Smith.
Once Grace made up her mind that something needed to be done, she had no idea how to tackle the problem and found most companies won't even touch the home of a hoarder.
“I called lots and lots and lots of places. Haulers, movers anything I could think of,” said Grace.
Michel Luhnau agreed to take on the job.
“The junk was actually piled higher than myself so we had to make a trench to get in,” said Luhnau.
Luhnau says about five to ten percent of his junk hauling jobs also require some amount of emotional support.
“In a normal situation it would be like, this room needs to be emptied. In a situation like here, it would be guided by Grace saying take this, don't take that.”
Grace has a hard time adjusting to seeing her items in the trash but as hard as it is to see memories head out the door, deep down she knows it's time to let go.
“It's good to get rid of it. It’s time,” said Grace.
Experts say that hoarders are not alone and as much as five percent of the population has a “problem amount" of stuff they have accumulated.