more about hoarding

I received so much feedback about my book review of Stuff that I wanted to share more resources about hoarding.

Jaime Darkwood writes about what it’s like to live with someone who has hoarding tendencies and how to keep the behaviors from taking over the house.

Here is a great list of clutter clearing do’s and don’ts for working with someone who has hoarding disorder.

Selling a home that has been overwhelmed by hoarding is difficult, but not impossible.

A group helps someone with hoarding disorder to change his life.

Finally, although the movie Clutter is not a documentary, it deals with the family dynamics surrounding a woman who collects things she feels are necessary to her survival but which others view as pathology.

Do you have questions about hoarding? Let me know.

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product review – filofax

As a longtime Franklin Covey user, I was hesitant to make the change to another brand of planner. I wanted something smaller than the Pocket size, but needed something that had space to write where I needed to be on any given day.

Are you surprised that I use a paper planner? I use an electronic calendar when I’m sitting at my desk, but I also keep a paper calendar with me to keep track of appointments, mileage and to jot notes I want to remember. While I value the alarm function and the ability to make reoccurring appointments on my electronic calendar, I really prefer to write on paper with a pencil.

Several of my clients have been happy with their filofaxes, so I gave it a shot this year. Sure, there are things I miss about my Franklin planner, but I’ve learned to adapt. I like the diminutive Pocket size, which is perfect for my needs. I stick with just a few inserts – calendar, phone/address and notes plus a plastic pouch to hold the few business cards I keep. It’s just what I need and nothing more.

Do you still use a paper calendar or have you gone all electronic?

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paper or pixel?

According to a survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, e-book readers read an average of 24 titles in the past year, compared with readers of physical books, who read 15.

Although I am very technologically adept, I am opposing the e-book wave. I still like to hold a book in my hand and turn the pages.

Which do you prefer? Why?

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book review – Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things

Most people have too much stuff; however, there is a big difference between having too much stuff and hoarding. Between TV shows about hoarding and numerous books devoted to the subject, the public has become aware of hoarding as a serious issue.

In Stuff, Randy Frost and Gail Steketee examine the lives of several people with hoarding tendencies and find evidence that hoarding may have a biological basis. Certainly, when food or materials were scarce, humans had a need to amass quantities of anything.

“Hoarding is not defined by the number of possessions, but by how the acquisition and management of those possessions affects their owner.”

For some people, the need to hold onto things is so severe, they feel actual physical pain when asked to let go. Generally, hoarding is based on one of the following beliefs: fear of being without, inability to distinguish value, reluctance to waste and strong personal connection to items. Even though you can prove that the beliefs are faulty, the individual with hoarding behaviors remains convinced otherwise.

One of the most interesting concepts that the authors submit is that their subjects could describe things in “overly elaborate ways, including far too many details and losing the main themes. It seems as though they are unable to filter out irrelevant details. Each detail seems as important as the next.” In addition, these people find multiple uses for the things that other people consider trash.

People who hoard have strong feelings about their belongings and are unable to let go of things easily. The authors remind us that simply clearing out the home of someone who hoards is not a solution.

Although the subject is very serious, the book reads more like a novel. It is easy to read and gives insight into what makes people hoard. What is lacking is how to work with these individuals to help them change their behaviors.

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productivity roundup

There have been some insightful articles on the Web about productivity recently:

How taking a break improves your productivity

Steve Jobs’ best productivity tricks

Michael Dean wants you to stop giving productivity tips

What you eat impacts your productivity

What’s your favorite?

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product review – plastic food containers

I recently wrote about storing plastic food containers and my preference for those that use the same lid for different bases.

If you’re looking for something a little more stylish, these nesting containers solve the problem of losing lids – they snap together so they aren’t floating around in a drawer or cupboard. You’ll know which lid is missing, too, because the base has a dot of the lid color on it.

The smallest one is 8 ounces and they graduate all the way to 152 ounces, so they can handle multiple uses in the kitchen. They’re BPA free and can go in the dishwasher and microwave. If you like these, check Joseph Joseph’s Web site for more innovative designs for kitchen ware.

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emergency preparedness

It’s already September, which means it’s National Preparedness Month.

This year the focus is on families, to reinforce the importance of including children in preparedness conversations. You can talk to kids about emergencies without scaring them. They’ll feel better knowing that plans are in place, whether they’re at home or at school.

Go to for a downloadable family emergency plan, emergency kit checklists and guidelines on how to make preparedness a year-round family activity.

Have a plan in place before an emergency strikes: who to call, where to meet and what to pack.
If you haven’t created a kit yet, start out with some nonperishable food, water and a flashlight. Add to it every month, using this list and change out the food twice a year. Keep a kit at home, at work and in your car. Don’t forget about pets, too.

I keep a plastic tub filled with supplies in the basement. Where do you keep your emergency kit?

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