How Not to Be A Hoarder

  1. ELIMINATE PAPER: Get rid of junk mail right away. Cancel circulars (look in the fine print for information) and sign up for paperless billing. If you’ve used a service for this in the past, it might be useful to mention that both GreenDimes and ProQuo do not appear to be in business anymore. As far as services, you can consider 41Pounds and CatalogChoice. Or you may want to DIY it.
  2. Cut down on superfluous packaging. Carry your own shopping bags to the store. Consider if you really need a bag for that magazine you just bought. Don’t buy food or cleaning products that are a package in a package – ready-to-eat meals, mops and dusters with throwaway parts. Look for items that can be laundered or repurposed.
  3. Hoarding

    Photo by elgin.jessica via PhotoRee.com

  4. CRAFT STASH: Be ruthlessly reasonable. Really examine all your hobbies. Try to get rid of at least just one. Sell or donate the items the minute you decide. When you give up something, you are creating space to use the items you decide to keep.
  5. DONATE: Clothes, kitchen items, furnishings, electronics, children’s items. All are highly sought after. Find a donation center and give, give give! And remember to get a receipt for your taxes!
  6. Be honest with yourself. Are you really going to recycle that sweater into a purse? Are you really going to have that dinner party and use all 24 of those wine charms you bought in Napa two years ago? Are you really going to photograph everything in the back closet and sell it on eBay? Chances are, if you haven’t done it by now you aren’t going to. See #4.
  7. For every one item you bring into the house, you have to get rid of two. Or, be adventurous and make it five!
  8. Find new ways to streamline. If books are your thing, check them out of the libraries. Get yourself an electronic reader. Weed out your collections. If you have a display of 1950s rock & roll LPs, determine which are your favorites and sell the rest. It’s not worth having in your house if you aren’t enjoying it.
  9. Write a contract not to outgrow your space. Everyone who lives in the house needs to sign the contract. If the terms of the contract cannot be met, bring in a professional organizer, or post photos of your over-stuffed house on Facebook. Be creative with the consequences and choose someone to be accountable to. Make a list of people who are more important that the stuff you’re hoarding. Memorize it.
  10. Sell items on eBay. But they have to be items you currently own, NOT things you picked up at a garage sale because you thought you could make an extra buck.  You can do that only after you clear up your hoarding issues.
  11. Watch Hoarders. Regularly.
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