Peter and Sharyn discuss setting limits.

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Peter and Sharyn tackle the thousands of gifts she bought but never gave away. It's an important lesson in setting limits.

At the beginning of the process, Peter allows Sharyn one bin of gifts to keep. Sharyn says she needs more than that. "I'm wondering if six is enough," she says.

When Peter tells her she needs to come to a decision, Sharyn asks for eight bins, then 10. Peter refuses to bargain with Sharyn and urges her to pick a lower number of bins. "The reason I am pushing you is that if you don't set limits now, you will be in this position again within a year," he says. "I'm sorry to push you, but we have to start establishing limits because you have none."

Sharyn settles on eight. "It's just overwhelming," she says. "I don't ever want to be in this place again. Ever. Not ever."

Setting boundaries is an important lesson for everyone to learn, not just hoarders, Peter says. "It's easy to look at this and say this is so extreme, it's not me. But all of us are in this," Peter says. "If you don't have a limit for the number of holiday decorations in your garage or the dresses hanging in your closet or the number of tools on your work bench. If you don't limit your children or yourself, then this is the result."

"Wherever there is clutter, wherever there is chaos, wherever this is confusion in your own life, the message of this ... is that there's always hope and that there is a way, no matter who you are, out of what appears to be no way," Oprah says. "Change is possible," Peter says.
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FROM: Inside the Lives of Hoarders with Peter Walsh, Part 1
Published on November 15, 2007

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