DEAR HARRIETTE: As much as I try, I cannot seem to get my house clean. I have friends who tell me they think I am a hoarder. I'm not so sure about that. I do know that I have a hard time throwing things away, so I end up having piles of stuff that I can't seem to find a home for. I am tired of being embarrassed by my house. I want to be able to invite people over, but I can never seem to get it together. I don't have a whole lot of money to hire a housekeeper, but even when I have tried that in the past, it didn't really work. There was too much stuff, and each person I hired quit. What can I do? -- Hoarder No More, Boston
DEAR HOARDER NO MORE: You have taken the first step by acknowledging that you have a problem. This is a huge step, by the way. People who hoard have tremendous difficulty letting go of their belongings and differentiating between what is worth keeping and what no longer serves them. So, you do need help, but it's help of a particular kind.
There are professional services that help people who hoard to clear out their spaces. I highly recommend that you reach out to one of them. One national organization that has webinars to support people who hoard as well as services to help you clear out your space before it overtakes you can be found at hoardingcleanup.com/help_for_hoarders.