De-Clutter Tips for Incognito Hoarders

No one who hoards lots of things wants to admit that they’re actually hoarding. The term ‘collector’ seems a favored label, as collecting ‘specific types of things’ tends to  boost hoarding to an acceptable, almost noble hobby activity. Regardless of what it might be officially termed, when there’s too much stuff in a house – there’s simply too much stuff! Most hoarders and collectors have an emotional attachment to their goods. We all need emotional connections in this world – no matter how we foster those connections. However, too much collecting can ultimately hamper the human experience and cause additional life stress. Here are a few de-clutter tips for those who may in fact, be incognito hoarders….(those who may never admit it, but are… guilty, guilty, guilty)!

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Need a New bed?

Let’s take a common hoarding spot – the bedroom. Here’s one really original way of clearing it!

1.    Grab a handful of large black (30 gal.) garbage bags, a fat black marker and one roll of 2″ masking tape. (At least 7 black bags – one for each wall and 3 for the closet).

2.    Stand in the center of the room and face one wall. Open one black bag and pull off of the shelves, dressers and window sills on that wall you’re facing – anything and everything you are not using every single day (or at least once a month) and place it in the bag. It matters not if different kinds of things get jumbled up in the bag. Just do it.

3. As you tie up the first bag, secure a masking tape sized label on the bag and write generically, what you tossed in the bag. (This is for later reference if you need to find something fast). You don’t have to label everything that goes in the bag – just certain things that you think you might want to find later.

4.    For anything strewn about – if you are still using it, throw it on the bed. You’ll sort that later. Do the black bag collection step for all four walls, and that includes items that are at your feet or strewn about the floor.

5.    After you finish each wall, twisty tie the black bag, label each bag, and then set all four bags in one corner of the room, labels facing outward so you can see them.

6.    Next, address your closet. Use one black bag for unused shoes, belts and scarves. Use one bag for hanging clothes (Maybe two). Use the third bag for the top closet shelf. Put those three to four labeled bags in a separate corner. Toss into the bags, anything you have not touched in 2 months.

7.    Now, for the items on the bed – put them away where they belong.

8.    Try to live in your bedroom with just the things you have left over – for one whole month. Mark a calendar on the wall, for each of the 30 days if you must. See how you ‘feel’ living on less. The good news is that you didn’t throw anything away yet, so anything is retrievable and relatively easy to find (via the labels).

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One clean bedroom naturally begets an automatic sense of peace and calm…

For those who have real difficulty in letting go of anything – the black bags are a visual reminder that NOTHING was thrown away and that everything they own is still right beside them in the same room. In time, SOME individuals may just find that they personally feel calmer; more centered and actually may even like being more organized. With less clothes to wear and shoes to sift through, there’s less physical labor in maintaining those items; less laundry, less time spent on straightening up, etc.  Living in a cleaner room allows one to re-think how they want their personal space to reflect their personality as it exists in the NOW.

After all, one’s own bedroom is often the only personal sanctuary there is against the world sometimes. Shouldn’t it feel safe and cozy and supportive? When people feel safe, they feel calmer and more relaxed, and even more mentally sane. One might become suddenly inspired and consider painting the room in a whole new color. It would be easy to do so, as items are now protected in the black bags, which can easily be moved around the room, while one paints. Maybe it inspires one to purchase a new bedspread in a bold new color. Or it might be fun to purchase or upgrade a piece of ‘cool furniture’, (like a storage chest that will last many years to come).

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Yosemite Chest Collection

If after a month, one finds themselves feeling so good that they can actually let their packed things go – they can surprise their favorite friends with a fun and exciting ‘treasure trash bag’. Who knows…maybe a few of them could even start a new give-a-way trend. This technique can be applied to any room in the house. It also works really well for those who are just a little messy-minded too. Though these tips may not address the more extreme hoarders, who actually may need professional intervention – it can certainly help those who recognize that they they may actually be hoarders in the making…incognito or not.

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