Feng Shui--In the Eyes of A Hoarder: It isn't always what you SEE...by Feng Shui Long Island

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Home Stager with Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island #888

A pictureless post for obvious reasons about a Feng Shui Consultation in New York City...with a MESSAGE.

I have read enough and learned enough about some people that are glued to almost every single item they own.  They have clothes for years because it might "some day" fit them again, stacks and stacks of paperwork they no longer need, items of every sort that they have accumulated over the years and have never been able to part with.

I can see through clutter and give my clients specific ideas on how to begin to tackle it; for those that truly "hoard" I know the issues run much deeper then the objects all around them.  I always ask my clients not to do anything differently on the day we are having a Feng Shui Consultation.  I want to see the home the way they actually LIVE in it, not when it has been cleaned for company.

In this case this lovely woman no longer had company.  In fact, her bed was so filled with clothes and other items that she could no longer sleep on it; she had dragged a couch into another room and although it, too, was filled with things was sleeping there.  I have successfully reached through to two "hoarders."  And failed miserably with one that I still think of today.  A wonderful, accomplished young woman who had been told that she would "never be successful in anything" in her home.  Those are pretty powerful and pretty devastating words and she literally gave up trying.

I offered to work with her for no charge on subsequent visits in an effort to try and help her clean her space and separate HER from her THINGS.  But I wasn't able to change her thinking; such is the damage that some Feng Shui Consultants unknowing do.

This woman, however, I felt was different.  As she was listening to me she kept believed me and she understood what I was saying--and WHY.  There was a time, long ago, when her home had been CLEAN; when she'd had people over and there was light and laughter in there.  She didn't feel "safe" she said, calling in an Organizer that she didn't know and it would have been difficult for me  to be able to travel there often for all the work it would entail.

I asked her to reach out to someone who could speak to her professionally about her issues of  ‘letting go.'  I also gave her small, simple ways she could begin on her own.  I've found that when some people look at a whole room they are already so discouraged they just close the door.  I give them time increments.  A set time of day or night when they will be home and a set time limit to work on it. 

One client I had could handle an hour on the days she was home.  For two hours each week on the weekends she began to clear up.  She donated books that she would never read again, threw out food that had been stored there and was no longer good and gave away many articles of clothing to her local Goodwill.  And felt better and better every time something left her home.

It had such an impact on her that the hour turned into two or three.  Every time I spoke with her she sounded better and better and some wonderful new things had come into her life.  She was motivated, she was able to change her thinking and just needed a kick start.

Not so easy with this particular client.  As I spoke I saw tears forming in her eyes and after speaking with her for a long time, asked her if she would try ONE thing.  Fifteen minutes a day of cleaning.  Three boxes, one to keep, one to donate or sell and one to think about.  Instead of looking at the whole room I gave her ONE area at a time.  The bed, to start.  At the end of speaking to her for a long time, she promised me she would do it---and if she didn't feel comfortable with anyone in her home to at least obtain the services of someone professional, who would help her SEE the reasons behind it.

I wish I could call this a Success Story but I don't know the outcome yet.  While I believe my words to her got through I don't know if they'll stay there.  We both wished I were closer, she would have allowed me into her space and allowed me to help her.  What a sad way to live I thought to myself on the way home.  She is afraid to have someone come and help her because she is afraid of judgment-and disapproval.  I hope she finds a warm, compassionate person and I sincerely hope she will keep in touch with me for reinforcement-and remember my words to her.  I hope she can find someone with compassion and understanding to help her work through all her issues and I KNOW she will life a better life. There IS help out there.

*Carole Provenzale has been a Certified Feng Shui Practitioner since 1997 and is the Founder of Feng Shui Long Island, New York providing on site Feng Shui Consultations for all of New York City and Long Island and to those at a distance by phone.  Feng Shui Consultations available for Homes, Apartments, Businesses, Offices, Corporations, Apartments, Studios, Condos and small spaces as well as Renovations, Pre Purchase and New Construction.  Please visit http://www.FengShuiLI.com   ALL Consultations are Personalized and Affordable.

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Laura Cerrano is a second-generation Certified New York City Feng Shui Consultant Expert. As a full-time Feng Shui consultant, Laura provides bicoastal consultations and workshops for residential, commercial, real estate developments, Fortune 500 companies and healing faculties. In addition, Laura is a resident teacher at the Metropolitan Institute of Design in Syosset, NY. She has been featured in highly respected publications and TV networks such as Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen," PBS, CBC Television, BBC Radio and The New York Times. 

 

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Ambassador
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Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI
(RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE
There are 'sentimental' stuff that people just won't let go of. The only stuff I keep are written words from loved ones.....Now that you wrote this I am going to scan EVERYTHING and get it in order :)
Mar 10, 2008 05:30 AM #4
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Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Carole,

My heart goes out to your client and I hope that bit by bit she is able to chip away at the 'things' that are holding her life back.
I know how much clearing out old stuff changes one's life....I've done it many times and am about to embark on it once more. 

This is a beautifully written post...straight from the heart.

Jo 

Mar 10, 2008 06:07 AM #5
Rainmaker
720,187
Teri Eckholm
Boardman Realty - White Bear Lake, MN
REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
Carole--It is almost like someone who is morbidly obese and they have to take baby steps to start as they are so overwhelmed with the process that they have given up. I hope your client succeeds...No doubt you have started here on the right track.
Mar 10, 2008 06:40 AM #6
Rainmaker
820,093
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging that Sells Portland Homes"
Carole ~ Your heartfelt compassion for these clients is a wonderful example to all of us ... I will remember your kindness and empathy and try to emulate your caring attitude.  Thank you for a beautiful post.
Mar 10, 2008 06:53 AM #7
Ambassador
920,196
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate
Oh Carole, you gave her wonderful advice, and if she follows it she will be successful.
Mar 10, 2008 09:57 AM #9
Rainmaker
218,087
Joan Mirantz
Homequest Real Estate - Concord, NH
Realtor, GRI, CBR, SRES - Concord New Hampshire
How sad to have your life in such a state...will you still be in touch with her?
Mar 10, 2008 02:53 PM #10
Rainmaker
2,753,653
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Beth, Thank you for your heartfelt comment.  It is a very sad situation and I wish I were closer to her because she trusted me and would let me in to help her.  And it would take many visits.  I think (and pray) that my words got through to her and she will remember them.  Sometimes when you break an otherwise overwhelming task into "bits" and put a time limit on them they can start to unload.

Marzena, It's sometimes hard to know what to do...sometimes people need a couselor because there is a certain comfort they get from all these things around them.

Fernando, It is so sad to see and you would never know it to meet her...she is lovely and friendly and outgoing.  If I were closer I would go there and help her....once you get them started they FEEL the difference and don't want to stop.

Sally, I do understand attachments to sentimental things but this went well beyond that...into obsession.  Many of the items were completely useless.  I can tell you it makes me want to clean up and out even more though.

Jo, I have to change their way of thinking first which is difficult as you know.  But I KNOW some things got through, she knew it as well because I could see her emotions.  If I can motivate her enough to start she just might stay on the roll.

Teri, That's exactly what I felt she could handle--baby steps,  If you break it done and keep it short and give them a specific place to start, sometimes you can do it....

Maureen, Thank you for your comment.  It is heartbreaking to see this and although I've seen it before, each time it still has an impact on you.  I SO hope she was encouraged enough to begin....

Deborah, Thank you....I am hoping that she will have the strength to start and I asked her to start with just her bed.  If you can get past that barrier they start to feel better even when it's only a few things at a time..and that keeps them motivated. You'd feel the same way I'd bet.

Missy, I sure hope she can and I do hope she finds someone to talk to so she can find out what is behind it.

Joan, I will definitely be in touch with her and keep trying to motivate her if I can.  And hope that she finds someone to speak to; sometimes even when you CAN get someone out of the state they will fall back into it.  It's very sad but when I hear from her I'll do an update if she's managed to have some changes made.

Mar 10, 2008 03:36 PM #11
Rainer
136,476
Gayle Balaban
The Best Spot Realty/Waterfront Real Estate/Ooltewah Real E - Chattanooga, TN
E. TN Waterfront Real Estate
Hi Crole  You are right; one step at a time!  During this recent decluttering phase after I had been sick, I was able to do the DR table one day and that was it but it encouraged me to move forward.  I ALSO HIRED SOME PEOPLE TO HELP THAT HAS VERY LITTLE MONEY AND didn't speak English well.  All they cared about was pleasing me and getting their check so no concerns for me regarding attitudes etc.  Tell her to find someone to just help put things where she tells them, someone who is motivated by receiving a day's pay/ 
Mar 10, 2008 03:49 PM #12
Rainmaker
59,084
Candy Henthorne
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring Texas Real Estate
Carole - You are so caring and compassionate.  I can tell you are so hopeful for this particular lady.  I hope for the best.
Mar 10, 2008 04:55 PM #13
Rainmaker
1,478,141
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info
wow that was eye opening.. the other side of the coin.  very nice post, good luck with your work
Mar 10, 2008 08:02 PM #14
Rainmaker
1,478,141
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info
wow that was eye opening.. the other side of the coin.  very nice post, good luck with your work
Mar 10, 2008 08:03 PM #15
Rainmaker
1,478,141
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info
wow that was eye opening.. the other side of the coin.  very nice post, good luck with your work
Mar 10, 2008 08:04 PM #16
Rainmaker
1,478,141
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info
wow that was eye opening.. the other side of the coin.  very nice post, good luck with your work
Mar 10, 2008 08:05 PM #17
Rainmaker
1,478,141
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info
wow that was eye opening.. the other side of the coin.  very nice post, good luck with your work
Mar 10, 2008 08:06 PM #18
Rainmaker
1,478,141
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info
wow that was eye opening.. the other side of the coin.  very nice post, good luck with your work
Mar 10, 2008 08:07 PM #19
Rainmaker
1,478,141
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info
wow that was eye opening.. the other side of the coin.  very nice post, good luck with your work
Mar 10, 2008 08:07 PM #20
Rainmaker
1,478,141
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info
wow that was eye opening.. the other side of the coin.  very nice post, good luck with your work
Mar 10, 2008 08:07 PM #21
Rainer
130,186
Rich Dansereau
Positive Real Estate Professionals - Knoxville, TN
This is a very touching post. She is lucky to have been guided to you with your obvious compassion. Her reaching out is a huge step towards the change she wants. It is quite amazing the outward manifestations of one's inner self. Nice post!
Mar 12, 2008 04:22 AM #22
Rainer
292,552
Diane Aurit
LKN Realty, LLC - Mooresville, NC
Lake Norman Real Estate
Carole, she did find somone warm and compassionate...YOU!  I can feel your pain and how much you truly care about your clients.  I honestly wish you were closer to NC!
Mar 13, 2008 08:36 AM #23
Rainer
32,710
Trace Galle
Designs by Trace - Kelowna, BC

Hi Carole,

It is sad to hear about your client. I feel from reading your posts that you are a kind soul and someone that can be trusted, so hopefully she will feel the same and let you help her. 

Mar 24, 2008 02:36 AM #24
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