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Hoarding: When messiness causes stress

Karen Hawthorne is a health and lifestyle writer and producer in Toronto, Canada. Her work has appeared in print and online for publications including Glow, Homemakers, and theNational Post.

De-clutter to stress less

Have you watched the TLC show Hoarders and felt like it hit too close to home because of your messy office or overflowing closets and storage nooks? The need to save and stash items is more common that you might think. But taking steps to sort and organize can decrease your stress and even empower you.

De-clutter to stress less

Greer's tips to get organized

1Plan your organizing

Remember that change is OK – and plan for it. Start with a plan, or at the very least, an intention. What do you want from the room or area you're organizing? What activities would you like to happen in this area?

2Organize in steps

Don't start with perfection, or your organizing effort will come to a halt. Map out the activities and break your room into zones. Make categories for your items within those zones, then sort and purge. Make small changes in your living space. Change keeps things moving and offers a different prospective.

3Rally help with de-cluttering

During the sort and de-clutter process, find a friend to help. Choose a friend who will keep you honest and responsible.

4Keep an open mind

Actively keep letting go of items you do not use anymore. When you think you've mastered this skill, look around and see if there is something else you're not using; chances are there is. Keep the cycle going.

5Focus on the positive

Find a simple pleasure within the experience of letting go. What does letting go give you? Does it empower you? As you continue, visualize and concentrate on that positive aspect.

More ways to de-clutter and de-stress

Top tip to decrease stress: Get organized
7 Ways to spring clean using feng shui
8 Tips to tidy

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