I asked Karen Kruzan, owner of K2organizing to share some of her expertise.

Am I A Hoarder?

You sit in front of the TV looking for something to watch. As you channel surf you stumble on one show after another about hoarding and clutter. You can feel your own clutter staring at you, daring you to do something about it.  Instead of rising to the challenge and showing the clutter who is boss, you sit and wonder if you are as “bad” as the people on TV. Are you a hoarder?

You see people on “those shows” who save large amounts of things that most people would believe are useless. You convince yourself that the stuff you save is certainly not useless. Most people don’t have the eye for usefulness that you have. You watch people use their beds as tables and couches as clothes racks. They are your soul mates; none of you will be limited by the conventions of your ancestors. Where is it written that you can’t store books in the bathtub or file papers in the oven?

Only some of the people on TV seem bothered by the clutter. Time for soul searching. You look around at ever growing piles and narrowing pathways and ask yourself if you are bothered by the clutter.  You aren’t sure how to answer that because it only bothers you sometimes. Now what?

If this sounds like you, forget about whether or not you should be labeled a hoarder. Is this how you envisioned your life? Is your home a place you are happy to come home to? Can you easily find what you are looking for?  Most people have periods when their home is cluttered and unfit for visitors, and we all misplace things. But if you can’t honestly say that your home’s organization is working for you and makes you feel good, it is time to do something about it. Here are 10 things you can do to tackle the problem. Pick the ones that work for you:

  1. Let go of perfectionism. You may throw out something you later regret, but think about what is really important – reclaiming your life and your home.
  2. Stop bringing non-essentials into your home.
  3. Each day pick an area and decide what stays, what goes in the trash/recycle bin, and what gets donated. Keep only the most important treasures, let someone else enjoy other things, and let some things finish their days in the trash or recycle worlds.
  4. Find 10 things every day to let go of.
  5. Set the timer for 20 minutes and work only for that amount of time.
  6. Make it fun and turn the radio on and de-clutter for the length of 3 songs.
  7. Remember that the process takes time. Don’t give up.
  8. Every time you leave a room, take something with you that belongs in another room.
  9. Find a friend and trade favors. Help the friend with one of their struggles in exchange for help with your clutter.
  10. Reward yourself. If shopping was your reward, try something new. Exercise in the space you cleared, read a book, call a friend, or whatever makes you feel good and helps you get closer to the life you envision.

Get help if you need it. Invest in yourself. If you need the help of a therapist to work out emotional challenges, find one. Find a professional organizer at the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) or the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization (NSGCD).

You can reduce your clutter and still be the intelligent, creative, and generous person you have always been!

You can contact Karen at kkuzan@k2organizing.com or visit her web site at k2organizing.com

Thanks Karen.

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