As the end of the year draws near, we asked Centacare staff about the moments that made their work rewarding in 2017. Today, Anne, a social worker with our PACE service, writes about her experience supporting a woman to reduce the amount of clutter in her home.


Centacare’s PACE team runs two Buried in Treasures groups each year for people with hoarding challenges.

Most people who start the group come to all 15 sessions and are grateful for the support and education they receive.

We have had a few emails thanking us for holding the group without which they would not have been able to make so many changes.

One of the participants , `Jenny’, has had a great deal of success.

When Jenny started Buried in Treasures she had eight motorbikes, four storage sheds, a bus and a combi van.

Jenny has reduced this to two motorbikes, one storage shed, and a HiAce van.

Selling the vehicle fleet has contributed towards making it possible to buy a house.

Jenny has also felt less overwhelmed with the hoard which has given her more confidence and the ability to cope with the responsibility of buying a house.

Jenny states “decluttering has helped me believe that I can be effective and have a better life.”

She was very appreciative of the support she received, not only from the workers but from the participants in the group.

Some of the participants have come along to the DAIR group to help maintain their successes.

Some have met up regularly with other participants to do the decluttering together.

Jenny has found it has helped to have someone to be accountable to, and to help her to understand why she clings to her possessions.

She recounted a recent insight where she was going through paperwork that she has found difficult to dispose of.

This was partly due to the overwhelming desire to hold onto things that may be useful for someone else one day.

Jenny had kept some information about a retreat she had been on when she had cancer that she found to be so helpful for her.

She wanted to be able to pass this on to someone else.  She was prompted to think about the fact that she does not need to keep this piece of paper because the experience was so memorable that she will be able to impart this information verbally if needed.

Not only that, she was able to trust that whoever needs it will receive it one way or another.

Jenny realised that she didn’t need to be overburdened with responsibility for “carrying the whole world on my shoulders”.

This ability to trust has had a flow-on effect in other areas of her life, and whenever she feels stressed and anxious she just uses the word `trust’.

Jenny’s story is one of inspiration and heartfelt warmth.

Jenny did not see that her story was that special and recounted the story of one of the other participants in the group who she felt had made more progress.

Jenny’s humility and determination has been helpful for myself and other members of the PACE team.

It is rewarding to know that our efforts and support are appreciated.

For more information about PACE, please phone 1800 809 304 0r 8159 1400, or email