"I have hoarding
problems," said Dorothy Daley, a regular support group participant who
is still working on relieving her home of clutter.
"Everything is in my bedroom. I have so much stuff. I
collect calendars, cups and saucers, cat-themed items, boats,
lighthouses" and more.
"What is the difference between a collector and a clutterer?"
Ms. Johnson said. "Dorothy is both. When someone is a collector, you
can see the items displayed. When they're a clutterer, you can't."
Among her many hoarded items, Ms. Daley explained, were some
socks. "I bought them, two pairs," she said. "I'm a sucker for sales.
But they were too tight. I kept them for three years."
One of the ways Ms.
Johnson helps Ms. Daley let go is by having her bring an item or two
from home to give away. One particular day, Ms. Daley brings a skirt to
give away and Ms. Johnson has her explain the reasons why she's letting
"I have reasons to let
it go," she tells Ms. Johnson, holding out the skirt. "The color is
wrong, the waist is uncomfortable. And I can't wear skirts any more."
She hands it to Ms. Johnson, who will donate it or find a new home for
"One of the ways in
which you can get support when you give something away is to take it to
a thrift shop where you know there's a person who listens and can
"witness" you giving something away. It validates why you should get
rid of that item and lets you tell your story."
and hoarders "need to set goals," she added. "Don't do this in a
vacuum. I often pair mentors of the support groups to work side by
side. It's easier to take boxes of stuff to someone else's house and
sort through it. Do it out of the home."
impulsive buyers," she said. "They make online purchases or even pick
through trash and tend to personify items. The best thing they can do
is to think before they act. Stop and think, "What is my purpose in
"Do I need this?"
"Where will I put it?", she added.
"When dealing with years of backlog, the way to start is by
changing thinking patterns. Make tapes [of your new positive thoughts
about letting go] or write down goals. The act of writing engraves it."
"Set those goals appropriately", she added. [Choose small specific goals
that you can accomplish within a short period of time, and that will
give you a feeling of success, then go and do more.]
"Fewer things mean more freedom." [Beth's mantra!]
Beth Johnson is holding her next Clutter Workshop on
For more information, contact her at (860) 232-3838 or visit