KK

About KK

Location: Los Angeles : CA : United States

Compassion Toward Hoarders

Probably most of us have at least one friend or relative in that category, just as most of us likely have an alcoholic friend or relative. A friend of mine who admits she has several relatives who suffer with this habit affectionately calls them, “hoardies.”

Being a rather new problem, it attracts so-called experts who are quick to jump on the hoarder-disorder bandwagon and profit from it. The truth is there isn’t enough information yet to fully understand how and why it develops in some people and not others. There is obvious a mental problem of some kind involved such as OCD, ADHD, or chronic depression. But everyone is different and the reasons and treatments vary widely, as they should.

I believe one of our responsibilities, as professional organizers, is to treat clients with respect and compassion to help reduce their anxiety and shame about needing help. Listening, not judging, is key.

I’ve been working with a hoarder who had terrible experiences with hoarder “experts” who [she felt] demoralized and humiliated her with critical labels like “Level 4” or “tornado.” The “plan” was to bring in a crew and toss everything out in a few days. No sifting or sorting, just shovel and bag. Charges would be added to an already expensive process for transport of trash to the city dump and fees as well as transportation of goods to the donation center. After a brief conversation, I realized she was not the stereotypical hoarder who was reluctant to part with anything. She was aware of how much needed to be tossed or donated; she just didn’t want bank statements, tax returns, etc., to be tossed willy-nilly.

Yes, it’s painstakingly slow with just the two of us going […]

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By |July 3rd, 2016|BLOG|0 Comments

An Upside of Clutter

"clutter is just one messy path to a spiritual life."

By |April 20th, 2016|BLOG|0 Comments

The Magic of a Hug: AMMA

You might wonder what Amma (known as “the hugging saint”) has to do with clutter. My answer would be consciousness. And the more conscious we are, the more mindful we are. And the more we pay attention to each moment we live, the less clutter accumulates in our lives. Amma’s “religion” is LOVE. Her loving hugs cut through mental barriers (ie. judgement and criticism) to give recipients a leg up in the consciousness process. Later comes the domino effect which affects how we see and live in our environments. Below I describe my experience with her.

Once a year, when Amma visits Los Angeles to hug thousands who make the effort to see her, I drive to the Airport Hilton to be part of this unique ritual. It’s something I look forward to for months. Amma is known as a living saint, or the hugging saint. I could say my mother was a saint, too, like most mothers. But Amma is different. She is the Real Deal, in my humble opinion; saint with a capital “S.” Over the last 30-plus years, it is said she has hugged upwards of 33 million people.
Three years ago, when I first learned about Amma from a new friend who suggested I get a hug, I initially hesitated till he said: “Think of how amazing it is that you can be on the planet at the same time as a living saint, as well as have the opportunity to meet?” Now I was curious. And it was free. What did I have to lose other than a few hours?
Receiving one hug from Amma (darshan) can be an all-day process. Sometimes the […]

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By |August 3rd, 2015|BLOG|0 Comments

Unpacking Your Inner Clutter

Unpacking Clutter in Your Consciousness

By |May 12th, 2015|BLOG|0 Comments

RECYCLING: Not a New Idea

1942! Send your typewriters to war. At Universal City, California, Maria Montez, glamorous Latin-American movie star, and Gloria Jean, typical of young America in Hollywood, helped collect over one hundred typewriters for the Army, Navy, and Marines. Only machines manufactured since January 1, 1935 were commandeered; no portables were wanted. A telephonic dictation room is being set up whereby busy executives can pick up the telephone, dictate their mail to a centrally located room which insures prompt typing of their letters, and at the same time more correspondence can be handled with lesser number of typewriters.

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By |September 30th, 2014|BLOG|0 Comments

Hoarding and Hoarders

We’ve become all too familiar with the term “hoarders” in the past few years, thank to reality TV. I consider a true hoarder someone who compulsively collects and/or seeks out an excessive amount of products until they become more important than personal health and safety. If you’re a person who has stacks of papers on surfaces and a collection of magazines and books, or a table filled with items you haven’t found a place for, then you’re probably not a hoarder. True hoarders are more rare than not. The ordinary person who collects and eventually gets overwhelmed because of space or lack of organization is more the norm. The hoarding situations I’ve encountered have been brought about because of onsets of disabilities or various levels of dementia. There’s a big difference between hoarders and those who have clutter. I’ve had clients who were quick to call themselves hoarders when actually an illness or death of a spouse brought about a sense of overwhelm and helplessness that is often exacerbated by the guilt of not staying on top of things. So please don’t be quick to judge. A true hoarder can be diagnosed and often helped with therapy and/or medication.

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By |August 21st, 2014|BLOG|0 Comments

Collecting

If you’ve read much of my website, you probably have an idea that I’m blessed/cursed with the collecting bug. First, I should distinguish what I consider a “legitimate” collection. If one loves black velvet paintings of Elvis and  buys (or is paid to take them off someone’s hands) them as the passion presents itself, then (as much as I blanch at the thought) that would be legitimate.

However, to collect velvet paintings of Elvis because of an article somewhere that said “someday these will be very valuable,” that isn’t legitimate to me. There has to be a love or connection to each item in order to (in my mind) legitimize it.  And, as much as I like to keep the clutter to a minimum, I LOVE my collections.

Today, I was listening to some random music which caused me to look for an artist in my vinyl collection. That, in turn, inspired me to re-categorize my albums so I could find names by categories (jazz, rock,classical, spoken word, musicals,  solo artists). That works better for me than just alphabetizing.

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By |August 16th, 2014|BLOG|0 Comments

CATio Re-Do

A summer salute to, as Jackson Galaxy would say, the CATIO. If you have a cat and you’ve given him an outdoor patio, it becomes a Catio. Mine became a catio once I decided to keep the litter box out there (the slider stays ajar). It had been sadly neglected for waaaaay too long. Half-dead plants, broken pots, garden tools, leftover god-know-whatsit, had become unsightly. Since it’s off my loft room, I didn’t have to look at it or even share it with company. I had a couple of free days, so decided to tackle the clutter nightmare. It was a perfect summer project, and gave me the feelings I was working in “the garden” (even though I was on the roof).

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By |July 15th, 2014|BLOG|0 Comments

Every Step Counts

The task of decluttering often seems overwhelming.  (That’s often why people call me.) If this describes your situation, here’s a short Loren Eiseley story that may be encouraging.

“Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions. 
Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching.  As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea.  The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning!  May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

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By |June 9th, 2014|BLOG|0 Comments

Beach Clutter Art

Yesterday’s ice cream spoon is today’s beach trash and tomorrow’s art, thanks to Judith and Richard Lang beachplastic.com. They’ve been collecting plastic along Kehoe Beach in Point Reyes National Seashore for 15 years. Over the years, walking along the same 1000 yards, they’ve picked up enough plastic pieces to create wonderful art displays. Check out their website to see their exhibits. If only we could transform ALL clutter into art. Save the whales (etc.), save the planet, save our sanity by way of having a creative outlet. I can’t say enough about how important it is to think out of the box.

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By |April 5th, 2014|BLOG|0 Comments