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Conquer the Clutter: Strategies to Identify, Manage, and Overcome Hoarding

by Elaine Birchall and Suzanne Cronkwright Johns Hopkins University Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 296 pages
AU$69.99 NZ$69.56
Product Status: In Stock Now
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Why does Cliff, a successful lawyer who regularly wins landmark cases, step over two-foot piles of paper whenever he opens his front door? Why do Joan and Paul ask Children's Services to take their three children instead of decluttering their home? Why does Lucinda feel intense pressure to hold onto her family's heirlooms even though she has no room for them? They have hoarding disorder, which an estimated 2% to 6% of the adult population worldwide experience.

Conquer the Clutter offers hope to anyone affected by hoarding. Real-life vignettes, combined with easy-to-use assessment and intervention tools, support those who hoard'and those who care about them. Written by Elaine Birchall, a social worker dedicated to helping people declutter and achieve long-term control over their belongings, the book

• provides an overview of hoarding, defining what it is'and is not• explains the difference between clutter and hoarding • describes different types of hoarding in detail, including impulse shopping, "closet" hoarding, and animal hoarding• debunks myths about hoarding and hoarders • explores the effects that hoarding has on relationships, on work, and on physical and financial health• presents a practical, step-by-step plan of action for decluttering• contains dedicated advice from individuals who have successfully overcome their hoarding disorder

The most comprehensive work about hoarding on the market, Conquer the Clutter discusses special populations who are not often singled out, such as the disabled and the elderly, and includes numerous worksheets to assist individuals in determining the scope of their hoarding disorder and tackling the problem.


How to Navigate the Book



Part I. Understanding Hoarding and What It Takes to Clear Your Path

Chapter 1. Overview of Hoarding

Chapter 2. Environmental and Self-Assessment

Chapter 3. Goals

Chapter 4. Take Back Your Life

Chapter 5. Procrastination

Part II. Moving Forward: Inspiration from Those Who Have Gone before You

Chapter 6. The Impact of Hoarding on Families: Her Pills Haven't Worked Yet

Chapter 7. The Impact of Grief: Drowning in Loss

Chapter 8. Impulse Shopping: Can't Buy Happiness

Chapter 9. The Sandwich Generation: Overwhelming Obligation

Chapter 10. A Life Stored, Not Lived: Secondary Diogenes Syndrome in Seniors

Chapter 11. Professional at Work, Powerless at Home: Secret Lives

Chapter 12. Disabled in Dire Straits

Chapter 13. Home Is Where the Heart Is: Disconnecting from Your Environment

Chapter 14. Collateral Damage: Adult Children of Hoarders, Seniors Living with Hoarders, and Neighbors

Chapter 15. The Last Word

Part III. Getting There: Resources, Tips, and Tools

Chapter 16. Resources

Appendix. Case Review from Birchall Consulting and Associates, Inc.



"A great, accessible resource for anyone touched by hoarding—sufferers, family, friends, and therapists." — Elspeth Neiman Bell, The Bell Center for Anxiety and Depression


"Birchall's compassionate and commonsense approach to decluttering continues to factor into everything we do when supporting people whose lives have been impacted by hoarding." — Rheanon Funnell, Housing Services, Canadian Mental Health Association


"If you're one of the millions who loved Elaine Birchall's radio show Take Back Your Life When Things Are Taking Over, then Conquer the Clutter is for you. Elaine provides pragmatic tools for managing and overcoming challenges of hoarding while debunking myths. Learn how this disorder is impacting people worldwide, perhaps even your neighbor next door." — Camille Nash, VoiceAmerica Talk Radio Network


"Clutter was making our home unhappy, our marriage unhappy, and our family unhappy. We didn't own stuff, stuff owned us; stuff was holding us hostage. Elaine's strategies have helped us take charge of the clutter and take charge of our lives." — J and C R., clients of Elaine Birchall, Ontario, Canada
Elaine Birchall, the director of Birchall Consulting and founder of the Canadian National Hoarding Coalition, earned her master's degree in social work from Carleton University. A hoarding behavior specialist and clutter coach for more than 16 years, she provides training, consultations, and counseling to individuals and organizations.

Suzanne Cronkwright, a technical writer and editor, earned her honors bachelor's degree in psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University.