2. We vacuum the floor!

When I arrived, Stella was ready. She had a plan.

She wanted to tackle the dining room which was filled with a collection of half opened boxes: pictures, glassware and ornaments from a recently deceased aunt. Because they weren’t Stella's with her memories attached, she figured it would be easier to have a go at getting them into a basic order. Collections of like things developed; sheet music was encouraged to migrate to the piano, glassware was arranged in orderly lines and some things that she liked were given homes in the kitchen.

Light nattering and discussions of the process accompanied our work. I had warned her that after the first visit, she might be drained the next day.

Stella said, 'I was tired which surprised me! It's not as though the work we did was hugely physically demanding.'

to which I replied,

'Thinking about and making choices is more tiring than people think. I'm impressed that you didn't cancel the second visit.'

She said that although she'd thought about it, she held onto her choice to clear the house of clutter because she knew it's the right thing for her to do.

Some things we unwrapped are meant for other family members and were set aside. Some smallish boxes were freed up.

I 'considered' the piles of papers in the front room which Stella had shown me on the first visit which she said actually had a some order to them and she sort of knew what was where. There was a pile on the sofa and two piles on the floor.

'Can I put the paper piles into these small boxes? I promise not to move or mix them up''Yes' said Stella. Each pile was 'containerised'. The bits of exposed carpet could be vacuumed which marked the territory. We had a moment's celebration! It already looked tidier.

I asked her whether she'd told her doctor about using a clutter clearer. She said he'd been concerned that she might be rushing things. But when she told him how we had limited the time to 4 hours every 2 weeks and weren’t pushing, he was pleased that we appreciated Stella’s needs.

At the end of the visit while we were still congratulating ourselves, Stella told me that she had booked a gardener to clear the back garden of weeds on our week off. I was impressed!

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