Check it out: New year a good time to exorcise hoarding instincts

Author says everyone falls onto spectrum

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Hello 2012! I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday and that much cheer was had by all.

Now that a new year is upon us, I feel the need to take stock of all of the stuff in my life. You know what? I’ve got a lot of stuff, and it’s everywhere. Instead of making New Year resolutions about diet and exercise (which I never manage to keep), I’m going to set a goal to declutter my very cluttered life.

A couple of questions come to mind right away. Where do I start, and how do I prevent clutter from creeping back into my home? Thankfully, someone has written a book, “The Hoarder in You: How to Live a Happier, Healthier, Uncluttered Life,” to help gain control over the hoarding tendency that the author says we all have to some degree. Dr. Robin Zasio is a psychologist who appears on the A&E television series “Hoarders.” She says all people fall somewhere on a hoarding continuum. Whether you collect salt and pepper shakers, shop compulsively or store empty boxes because you never know what size you might need, you have secured a spot on that continuum.

The author is quick to recognize that unpacking our packrat habits can be challenging, but she offers easy tips and tools that will make the journey much less scary. I especially appreciate her perspective on why so many of us love to acquire stuff, or as she puts it, why the hunter-gatherer mode kicks in so frequently.

It’s one thing to gather items for survival, but if you save every used envelope and cottage cheese container for that proverbial rainy day, you might want to spend a little time with Dr. Zasio.

Jan Johnston is the Collection Development Coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. Email her at readingforfun@fvrl.org. She blogs at youbetterreadnow.blogspot.com.