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Finding a way through the clutter

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Possessions… we all have them. But sometimes the urge to acquire new items, to hoard and then struggle with discarding them can become overwhelming.

Before long, items are taking over. A home becomes full of clutter and starts to impact on a person’s ability to live their best life.

This is where the Buried in Treasures program steps in. Buried in Treasures is a group program for people seeking in-depth training and support on how to find a way through the clutter and stop over-acquiring. 

Catholic Healthcare’s Hoarding and Squalor team is running a series of new Buried in Treasures programs from 7 September 2020 and is inviting interested participants to register. The program is free and consists of two-hour long online group workshops, run over a period of 15 weeks, to enable consistent progress.

Buried in Treasures is designed for people who are overwhelmed by hoarding and possessions, who find it difficult or distressing to discard items. It also helps people who are not able to use the space in their home as they want to, due to excessive clutter.

The program is run by a facilitator from Catholic Healthcare’s Hoarding and Squalor team and follows direction from the Buried in Treasures self-help book. Each course participant receives a copy of the book. The program focuses on skill-building, applying lessons to change the way people think about possessions, and providing progressive challenges to help participants manage clutter.

For more information on a Buried in Treasures program near you or to register visit 

Trish*, completed the Buried in Treasures program earlier this year.

“The course really helped me,” says Trish. “I was feeling very insecure and had collected items and clutter in my home. On my journey during the course, I realised I was barricading myself in my own home.

“The big issue was my bedroom. It was full of clutter. I had piles of bed linen, towels, clothing, cushions and pillows. I couldn’t use the room.”

As part of the course, the Buried in Treasures facilitator also supports participants by providing optional one-on-one home-visits to implement skills and techniques learned in the group session.

Catholic Healthcare community worker, Steve Ross, was the facilitator for Trish’s course.

“Trish has progressed very well,” says Steve. “She was very fearful of anyone coming into her home. She was sleeping downstairs as there was so much clutter in her bedroom. She also could not use her kitchen but now it has been cleaned out and is functional.”

“With Steve’s support I started cleaning my bedroom – knocking the wall down,” continues Trish. “It represented knocking down walls – walls which have surrounded me for a long time. I am finally letting go of all these things which were part of me. I am now donating items and giving them away.

“Meeting the other course participants was also really helpful. We could all relate to each other and shared similar feelings, some of shame and fear of change. It was good to sit and talk with other people about these challenges.”

This time, the Buried in Treasures program is being run online, but still in a private group setting. This allows for social distancing and more flexibility for participants to attend their weekly sessions.

Buried in Treasures is government-funded under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP). If you need help registering for CHSP, register for the Buried in Treasures program and our staff will assist you. To be eligible for CHSP you need to be aged 50+.

* Name changed to protect privacy