Kat Needs a Friend
Things are getting tense between Bill and Kat. The $200 monthly storage cost for the contents of her family home has become a bone of contention.
Kat’s arranged a coffee with her good friend Violet. She needs to get something off her chest and knows that Violet will understand.
Kat says, “I can’t believe Bill is being so unreasonable. He’s basically given me an ultimatum and holding me to ransom. He says he won’t pay for the storage unit any more. I just haven’t had time to go through it all, and he won’t even let me bring it home to sort through later.”
“But that’s been in there a while”, Violet says. “Didn’t you move that stuff in there nearly 2 years ago?”
“Yes, but I’ve been so busy. I have to go through everything to see what’s there, and no one will help me. Kylie says she doesn’t want any of it. There’s some good stuff in there. Just because it’s not her taste she wants to throw it out. In my day, we were grateful for what we got.”
Violet says, “I’ll help you. I’m super organised. We’ll knock it over in no time.”
Later, at the Storage Unit
Kat and Violet meet at the storage unit. And Violet has a surprise for Kat. She’s roped in her neighbour, whose home is always impeccable, her neighbour’s daughter, who had nothing better to do, and Violet’s grandson, because his muscles will be useful when they carry things to the skip that Violet has ordered.
Violet is prepared with supplies – boxes, garbage bags and a label maker. She’s also brought snacks and drinks and feels as excited as if she were at a carnival.
As Kat unlocks the storage unit, her “helpers” rush in with enthusiasm. They are not at all daunted by the piles of boxes, furniture and bric-a-brac.
“Oh my God”, someone laughs. “This microwave is so old it has a dial. It couldn’t possible still work.”
Kat defends herself. “Well, I can’t make a decision till I’ve tested it.”
“But you already have a perfectly good microwave.”
“You never know when it will break down!”
Someone else pipes up, “This TV’s the size of a house. It doesn’t even have a remote control. “
Kat says, “It was perfectly good for my parents for years. In those days things were built to last. Somebody might want it for parts.”
The neighbour’s daughter rolls her eyes. “Does it even get Netflix?”
Next, they uncover a chest full of musty old clothes. At first glance it’s clear the clothes are not Kat’s size, but she is reluctant to simply donate them.
“I’ll have to look at each item and give them a wash before I could donate them. Just put them back for now and I’ll get to it.”
There are 2 boxes full of mostly chipped and faded crockery. Kat knows that the local school holds a fete every 2nd year in September, and they love that kind of thing. They can have the bits she doesn’t want herself for the mosaic project she’s planning. But there’s no time to sort out which is which now, so just set it aside.
The carnival atmosphere is fading quickly. The helpers are feeling despondent and Violet is feeling irritated. Kat doesn’t seem to appreciate that Violet knows what she’s doing. The bossier Violet becomes, the more Kat digs her heels in. Things are coming to a head.
What Went Wrong?
Kat feels let down and ambushed. She had hoped that her good friend would patiently and respectfully help her quietly sort through everything. She feels overwhelmed, like a deer in the headlights, in the face of the questions fired at her and orders barked around her, as well as the judgement by people she doesn’t know and didn’t invite.
Violet feels miffed. She’s taken time out of her schedule, paid for a skip that’s completely empty, and organised a team of helpers. She hasn’t even received a thank you. “I could have this cleared out by the end of the day, but Kat won’t let me. She’s her own worst enemy.”
The day’s been a disaster. Kat’s more convinced than ever that she can’t trust anyone else to help her sort through the stuff and make good decisions. It looks like she’s on her own with a tight deadline.
It’s all well and good for Bill to give ultimatums but she can give them too. He’s not being reasonable and he’ll just have to extend the storage unit lease.
All our Hoarding Home Solutions lessons include an Out in the Real World story to bring our key messages to life. In each newsletter we’ll follow the story of Kat. Her experience offers insight into the mind of someone who hoards and the challenges people with Hoarding Disorder face. Kat’s story illustrates how to help someone who hoards. In Kat’s life there are people who enable her hoarding, people who criticise and give ultimatums, people who help, and people who try to help but actually do more harm than good.
Catch up on the past Adventures of Kat here…