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As seen in the Dayton Daily News on June 8, 2019.

I read an article in our local newspaper the other day about a woman who died in a house fire.

En route, the firefighters were informed there was a woman inside the burning home. They rushed to save her and tried repeatedly to get in, but all the windows and doors were blocked with piles of stuff.

It was also difficult for them to make the rescue because of the intense heat created by the massive quantity of items burning in her home.

When I finished reading the article, I was saddened. She could have been someone’s mother, daughter, special family member or a dear friend.  It’s tragic.  She decreased her chances of surviving this fire because she placed such an importance on her stuff.

Dear hoarders and packrats, is your abundance of stuff worth your life? Are your excess belongings worth putting your loved ones into spiraling grief, should a fire in your home keep firefighters from saving you?

Is your basement or attic crammed full?  Are your exits blocked with piles of stuff and there is no clear path for a fast escape?  If your answer is yes, then you are at risk! Your family members and pets living in your overcrowded home are in danger!

If this woman had a second chance, what changes do you think she would make? Do you think she would let her adult children, (who many times offered to help), drive things to the donation center? Do you think she would ‘get real’ with how precious life really is and recycle all those unread magazines lying around. Would she come to the conclusion to keep only what she needed and let go of all the ‘I might need it someday’ clutter?

Seeing that you’re reading this, you do get a chance to make changes before a catastrophe like this one strikes.

Look around, does your home look like a storage unit? If so, you need to take action now, before it’s too late. All of the outdated, unused, unread piles of stuff are not worth risking your life for.

If you say you can’t or don’t know how to get started, I believe you. You probably have had an internal struggle going on for a long time. You tell yourself you want to let go of things, yet you can’t bring yourself to do this.

Hoarding is not just about too much stuff. It’s deeper than that. There can be triggers; such as, the death of a loved one or a life trauma, that can send you into depression and hoarding. You may also suffer from an anxiety disorder. Whatever the cause, seek help to find the meaning behind your hoarding.

Search out a therapist who specializes in anxiety disorders, grief or the cause of your internal conflict.

Once you work through the mental aspects, you should feel better about getting organized. Seek the help of an organized person, if you don’t know how to get started.

Getting organized means no more feeling ashamed or embarrassed by your home. No more frustration of constantly looking for things or struggling in unsanitary and unsafe living conditions.

Every day we get to spend with our loved ones is a blessing. Stop putting yourself and those who live with you in jeopardy by keeping things you will never use.

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