Interview Series: Hoarding Experts – Judith Kolberg

the next few months, we will be interviewing professionals who work with the
hoarding population.  We are asking them
to share their insight on people who hoard and people who think they have the
hoarding disorder.

first interview was with Judith Kolberg who has been a professional organizer
for over 30 years. In 1989, Judith founded the National Study Group on Chronic
Disorganization, which would later become
The Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD).
Besides being an experienced organizer Judith is also an Organizing Industry
Thought Leader, Squall Press Publisher and book coach.

and Responses:

1.     What training
have you taken?

I have taken
quite a few classes on hoarding and chronic disorganization and have taught a
few as well. I feel that education is very important if you are working with
people with chronic disorganization or possible hoarding disorder. 

2.     What
percentage of your clients do you suspect have hoarding tendencies?

I am
deliberately working with less of this population but in the past, I would say
25% to 30%. 

3.     Have you ever
worked with clients who have had a hoarding diagnosis by a psychiatrist?

Yes, a couple
of times. There was never a referral from the psychiatrist, but the diagnosis
had been made.

4.     As you start
working with clients, are there times you discover this is something other than
hoarding disorder?

Never. The
amount of clutter may be overestimated or underestimated and very often there
may be other things going on along with the hoarding disorder but when I am
called in to assist on a potential hoarding job, there has always been that
tendency present.

5.     Do you
usually work alone or with a team?

I always
start off alone. I take time to acquaint the client with the process we will
follow and to build trust with the client. I let the client know from the
beginning though, that there will be a team working on the project when the
time is right. The members of the team are flexible as the need arises. 

6.     Have you ever
walked away from a project?

Yes, I will
not take on a project if the client can’t agree to the system or the parameters
that are needed to move the project forward.

7.     Do you have a
shareable list of resources for families or other people working with hoarding

I have had
great success with
Steri-Clean – and
locally in Georgia with Rhonda Chance of Atlanta Forensic Cleaning.

8.     Do you have
any books or articles that you have written that you would like to share?

In What Every Professional Organizer Needs to
Know About Hoarding
there are some very practical forms. The book also
gives help with understanding processing issues. And because the digital world
can become overwhelmed with clutter, Getting
Organized in the Era of Endless
is a useful resource.

N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer, Certified Professional
Organizer in Chronic Disorganization, ICD Master Trainer and owner of DNQ
Solutions, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. Diane teaches busy people how to
become organized and provides them with strategies and solutions for
maintaining order in their lives. She specialized in residential and
home-office organizing and in working with people challenged by ADD, Hoarding,
and Chronic Disorganization.

S. Beattie is a Professional Organizer and owner of Time Space Organization
based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, author of three books as well as
a retired special education teacher, she uses her listening skills, problem
solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and
paper management skills to help clients tackle the toughest organizational
issues. Jonda does hands on organizing, virtual organizing, and moderates a
Zone Plan Teleclass for those who prefer to work on their own with organizational

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

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