As sole proprietor of Cure The Clutter, Carolina Harvey feels compassion for clients who need her household organization expertise.
Harvey founded her home-based business nearly 13 years ago, offering a scope of residential organization services that range from tidying unkempt closets to clearing cluttered homes overtaken by hoarding.
“I’ve always wanted to do something to help people and to find a way to communicate with them,” said Harvey of Susquehanna Township.
In 2021, Harvey became the first Latina to host the long-running A&E television network series, “Hoarders.” She was selected for the program after answering a casting call the previous year for professional organizers to work as support personnel. Her premiere episode as a rotating “Hoarders” host aired in November 2021, with more filmed episodes slated to run in 2022.
“There is so much pain that comes along with hoarders,” she explained. “One thing they all have in common is that they have trauma. Maybe they believe that they don’t deserve a beautiful home or have a problem with decision making.”
When not hosting, Harvey works off-camera as a cleanup/organization expert on the set, part of a rotating crew of 10 to 20 workers per episode, including an onsite psychologist.
“The one thing to remember is the mental health aspect behind hoarding,” she said. “Not every story is a success story, but our goal is success.”
There for Us
Harvey is no stranger to life’s hardships.
She and her brother, Bonafide, grew up in New York City in an impoverished household headed by their single mother, Martha, a first-generation Colombian American. Her father floated “in and out” of her life, she said.
“Our family struggled,” she said. “We fought for everything we had, but my mother was an absolute rock star. She’s always been there for us no matter what.”
Harvey’s fortunes turned in 1982, when she began attending Milton Hershey School in the second grade. She remained there until graduating from high school in 1993.
“I learned so many things at Milton Hershey,” she said. “I learned what a great family looked like. It gave me a number of parental figures and lots of brothers and sisters there. I’m still close to my house parents. They’re like grandparents to my kids.”
Today, Harvey and husband Lukeman are busy raising their own family, sons Jackson, 17, Gabriel, 14, and Elias, 11. Harvey currently serves as president of Central Dauphin East Junior Lacrosse League, for which her sons play.
If that weren’t enough, Harvey also finds time to coach her sons’ robotic teams at Covenant Christian Academy in Lower Paxton Township. Currently, she’s head coach for the high school team, Technological Intelligence, and assistant coach for a fifth-grade ensemble, Falcon Logic 10.
“I had coached middle school (robotics at Covenant) but moved up with the kids to the high school team,” she said. “In total, I’ve been coaching for seven years.”
Carolina and Lukeman also serve as a spokes-family for Donate Life Pennsylvania, a collaborative initiative between Gift of Life donor program, the Center for Organ Recovery and Education and the state’s departments of Health and Transportation.
In 2017, Lukeman received a life-saving kidney transplant from a Connecticut donor after undergoing dialysis for three years. Three years earlier, he was diagnosed with kidney and heart failure and was told he needed a new kidney to survive.
Although Harvey wasn’t a transplant match for her husband, she, in turn, donated a kidney to a North Carolina woman. These procedures took place eight days apart as Harvey’s mother stayed on to help around the house.
Before his transplant, Lukeman waited “in a fog” and couldn’t play with their boys.
“He woke up (after the procedure) and said, ‘I can see!’” Harvey said. “As soon as he got home from the hospital, our middle son said, ‘Can we wrestle now?’”
Keeping It Tidy
Not all of Harvey’s business revolves around hoarding and hoarders. Many Cure the Clutter clients are just ordinary people looking to reduce their belongings and streamline their lives.
Joanne Traub, for instance, hired Harvey to help her discard items and organize cluttered areas around the family’s suburban Harrisburg home. Since then, they continue to maintain a tidy household using her strategies
“(Carolina) said she never judges anyone,” Traub said. “She asks the personal questions. She wanted to know why I was keeping things, the psychological reasons. Why was I holding on to these things? It’s past, she told me. She tried to make me realize that I could use the space for something else.”
Megan and Steve Miller of East Pennsboro Township employed Cure the Clutter’s expertise in early 2021 for reorganizing the couple’s home office. Steve used the space for tasks related to his physical therapy practice, while Megan tended to the household’s finances there. After four sessions with Harvey, the Millers reclaimed order in their office and have kept it that way, according to Megan.
“It took a lot of time and mental effort,” she said. “Together, we went through everything that was in there, which was a lot. The greatest gift was the system Carolina put in place for us to keep the room organized.”
In her profession, Harvey draws on her personal, often difficult, life experiences. She credits compassion for a large part of her success, which has resulted in both a flourishing local business and a presence on a popular reality TV show.
“This is my gift, for someone to let me into their home to help,” she said. “I will not judge them.”
For more information, contact Cure the Clutter at 717-229-6890 or www.curetheclutter.net.
Donate Life Pennsylvania is a collaborative initiative between Gift of Life Donor Program (GOL), the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE), and the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Transportation.
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