Are you a hoarder? -

Are you a hoarder?

How can you tell if you or someone you know has a hoarding problem? It isn't always obvious. Our communications coach, Marcia Brandwynne, explains the warning signs and what can be done to help.

"There are many reasons people stockpile things they have absolutely no use for," she says. "They often think they will, in fact, need a particular item sometime in the future. Others are attached to the memorabilia of their lives in hope of maintaining an emotional connection to their past."

Whatever the reason, hoarders frequently feel safer when they are surrounded by things, which often keep other people and intimacy at a distance.

Most of us aren't consumed and stymied by a fear of throwing things away. However, a lot of people do have hoarding tendencies.

If you want to help yourself to reduce the clutter in your home, here are a few ways to help you get started: First, choose one tiny space like a junk drawer to clean up. Don't tackle the whole house or even a whole room. It will only discourage you ,and make you want to quit.

"Next, follow my rules of four. Give yourself only four actions to choose from -- throw it away, recycle it, give it away or put it away," says Brandwynne.

If you find you can't throw things out and that your home has become a prison of worthless stuff to the degree that you don't let anyone in, Brandwynne says you should seek professional help. 

Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.

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