Tracey* is sewing again.
“I’ve got a little room cleaned out and the sewing machine is set up in there,” she says. “I do it off and on, depending on how well I am”.
It’s a major step for Tracey, who up until recently was unable to enjoy her hobby because all of the rooms in her home were over-run with clutter.
“Every room had stuff everywhere,” she says. “One room was storage and that was chock-a-block. But all the other rooms were cluttered with things as well”.
“My health is the reason it happened. I’ve had two operations within 12 months and it has taken its toll. I’m in constant pain…I just got overwhelmed”.
Anglicare’s Home Care Services stepped in to support Tracey to retain her public housing and improve her health and wellbeing.
The clean-up took place in sessions over several weeks and included sorting clutter, disposing of rubbish, washing walls, cleaning cupboards, pest control, and window-cleaning.
“It’s a lot better,” says Tracey. “It’s wonderful. I can move around better”.
“When the Anglicare workers came, I did what I could to pitch in and help where I could. I decided what to keep and what to throw away. It was hard at first, but then I started going through everything and we just did a bit at a time”.
“We worked together and I always felt in control of what was happening in my home,” she said.
Tracey said not only had she resumed sewing, she was feeling less stressed and was no longer embarrassed to have people visit her home.
“It is really positive,” she said. “It feels like a burden has been lifted”.
Anglicare’s Connie Bruckard said supporting people to de-clutter often had major benefits for their mental wellbeing.
“People in these situations are at greater risk of falls, and poor sanitation can pose health risks,” she said. “Many people live in isolation, disconnected from family and friends, and unable to use their living spaces in the ways they were intended”.
Connie said it was common to find that people living in cluttered homes were regularly misplacing medicines and failing to eat nutritious meals. “By improving their physical living environment, we can help to increase cognitive and physical function, and reduce hospital admissions,” she said. “Support from Anglicare can make a dramatic difference as we work with people to improve their overall quality of life”.
*name changed for privacy