Treasures from birth

Buried in Treasures example of hoardingThe eldest child of parents who lived through the Great Depression, Rhonda absorbed values of thrift — along with habits that inevitably led to her stockpiling a pirate’s bounty of clutter, including buttons, zippers, old clothes, scraps of fabric, catalogs, greeting cards, college papers and anything that could be repaired or re-used.

“‘Waste not, want not. Take care of what you have, and you’ll never do without. Don’t throw things away because you never know when you’ll need them,’” Rhonda says. “It’s what I learned growing up.”

At 69 years old, Rhonda found herself overwhelmed with stuff. Her house had been completely taken over by stuff she now had no time or energy to sort. It was this point that a friend mentioned joining a program called Buried in Treasures.

Buried in Treasures

The program will become a model for workshops offered through hospitals and senior centres throughout the Granite State. Graduates will have the chance to train to lead workshops in their communities. Buried in Treasures is based on the work of Smith College psychology professor Randy Frost, a nationally recognised hoarding expert, and his colleagues.

Hoarding is the compulsive accumulation and inability to get rid of things, including items considered worthless by others. It is a mental illness affecting at least 2 to 6 percent of the world’s population, including seniors. The numbers are likely higher because hoarding usually goes unreported until it becomes a crisis, mental health experts say.

“Buried in Treasures” will help participants understand the roots of hoarding by improving their organising and decision-making skills and create living spaces they can use. It will also help them find things they’ve been looking for, cut back on clutter and reduce acquiring — including thrift-store hopping and compulsive bargain-hunting — and enjoy other activities instead.

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