You know you have a problem when

you move the end table and find a flashlight, mail from 2002, a box of jewelry and a quart of motor oil.  One of the constant mantras when teaching someone to be organized is “sort by category – put like items together.”  Cluttered homes don’t usually have that underlying organization.  For example, MY Christmas decorations are in green plastic tubs in my storage area – even if I rushed taking them down in January and tossed them in quickly, they’d be a mess but still all be in the correct boxes.  For clients, this isn’t obvious so a category like Christmas decorations might be found in 10 different places in their home. Additionally, many of our elderly clients lose the ability to categorize.  This makes junk mail seem as important as a bank statement, old food piles up in the refrigerator and what was once a useful selection of bags for re-use becomes an out of control collection of clean (and dirty) bags.  As categorization disappears from a home, the groupings become more and more random – leaving me wondering “why would you even take a quart of oil into the living room in the first place?”  Luckily, in this case, no harm was done but the potential for damage is scary.

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