Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life September/October 2009 – Vol. 8 No. 9
“What the world really needs is more love and less paperwork.” – Pearl Bailey, American actress and singer
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A letter from Dr. David F. Tolin (you may have seen him on Oprah)

I recently learned that there may be as many as 3 million hoarders in the U.S. and decided to share this letter with you. Please feel free to pass it along to anyone who might benefit. -Donna Smallin September 15, 2009

Hello, Donna.

I am writing to you because you have contacted me in the past regarding compulsive hoarding. Hopefully you found the information we sent you to be helpful, and that you received a copy of the Hoarding Newsletter from the New England Hoarding Consortium.

My colleagues and I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to participate in an exciting new research study on compulsive hoarding. We hope this internet-based study will help improve our understanding and treatment of compulsive hoarding.

Who can participate? We would like to invite everyone whose life has been affected by hoarding. If you are a person who suffers from compulsive hoarding, or if you have a family member or friend with a hoarding problem, we would like you to participate. If you are a mental health worker or service worker who regularly comes into contact with people who hoard, we’d also like to invite you to participate.

How long will it take? The questionnaire will take approximately 60 minutes to complete. Of course, individual times may vary due to differences in speed of reading and writing. Because this is on the internet, you can take a break at any time and come back to it. Just be sure not to close the webpage.

Will my answers be anonymous? Yes. We won’t ask you for your name or any other personally identifying information. Our program won’t install cookies or other software on your computer. We won’t give out any information about your participation to other parties.
Therefore, you can rest assured that your responses will be completely private.

How will my participation help? Right now, scientists and therapists know relatively little about compulsive hoarding. Your participation will go a long way toward helping us understand the scope and impact of this problem. That, in turn, will help us design better research studies and treatments for hoarding.

What will I get in return for my participation? At the end of the survey, we will invite you to enter a raffle to receive one of 10 autographed copies of the new book Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding (Oxford University Press, 2007). You can also feel good about the fact that you are helping us learn more about hoarding, which in turn will help us develop more effective research and treatment.

How do I participate? Participating is simple. Just go to www.surveymonkey.com/hoarding And answer the questions on the page.

Can I invite my family or friends to participate too? Absolutely. Please feel free to forward this letter to anyone who you think might be interested in helping us learn more about hoarding. In addition, if anyone is reading this letter and has not received a copy of our email Hoarding Newsletter, please send an email to adcresearch@ <mailto:adcresearch%40harthosp.org> harthosp.org so that we can add you to our mailing list.

Thank you in advance for your help and we look forward to learning more about your experiences.


David F. Tolin, Ph.D.
Director, Anxiety Disorders Center The Institute of Living

Fast, easy holiday card sending

If I told you I have a really easy way for you to get your holiday cards out this year, would you be interested?

About three years ago, I discovered SendOutCards, an online service that allows you to send real paper greeting cards from your own computer, with your own handwriting and signature even.

You choose the card you want to send, or create a card using your own photo on the cover. Then personalize it with your message and click SEND. SendOutCards does all the printing, stuffing, licking, stamping, addressing and mailing – all for about $1 per card!

Talk about simple! Try it and you’ll see what I mean. In fact, you can send a card for free at http:://www.yourcardconnection.com

Survey Results: How does your home makes you feel? Last month I asked: How does the state of your home make you feel? 27% said: Peaceful 41% said: Stressed out 19% said: Guilty 13% said: Other (please explain)

Nearly 60% of you said that the state of your home makes you feel stressed out or guilty! I wish I could write back to each one of you who included comments in your replies to this survey.

You may want to consider hiring a professional organizer.
You can search for organizers in your area on the web site of the National Association of Professional Organizers (www.napo.net). An organizer can not only help you get organized, but can also provide strategies to help you stay organized – and eliminate or at least reduce the stress and guilt you are feeling.

New Survey: Do you think that you CAN get more organized? Or does it seem an impossible task?

Yes, I think I can get more organized.
No, it seems an impossible task.
I am as organized as I need to be Other (please explain)

TO RESPOND TO THE SURVEY, send email to editor@unclutter.com with the word “Survey” in the subject line and the letter that corresponds to your answer. Feel free to add comments in the body of your email. I love reading them! As always, I will share the results of this survey in the next issue.

Smart Readers Write About: A neat way to display schoolwork

I have two kids that come home with lots of papers. I used the wooden skirt hangers (the kind that you “pull open”).
We decorated the wooden part by cutting out letters from magazines to spell each child’s name and used stickers, etc. I hung them on my fridge (you need a sturdy magnet), but you could hang them anywhere – on the side of a cabinet or from a drawer knob or door knob.

Every day, when the kids come home, we choose one or two school papers or pieces of artwork to hang. Periodically, I get rid of some of the papers. It makes the kids seem important and they have a say in what we keep/display.

–Submitted by Lori F., Sunbury PA

Write to win an autographed book!

Do you have a really great organizing tip you would like to share with other readers? Or a question about an organizing challenge you have? Send an e-mail to editor@unclutter.com with “Readers_Write” in the subject line.

If your question or tip is included in a future issue of this newsletter, I will send you a free autographed copy of my book, The One-Minute Organizer Plain & Simple. Check it out at http://www.unclutter.com/books.html

PLEASE NOTE: I get a lot of email messages and it’s impossible for me to respond to them all. Please know that I do read them all and try to answer as many as I can.

Shameless promotion: Home from The Netherlands

On October 2, I had the honor to be the closing keynote speaker for Orvention, the first annual convention of professional organizers in The Netherlands and my first international speaking gig!

Do you belong to a company or organization that hires speakers for national or regional events? Would a presentation on getting organized be a good fit? Do you know who I would contact to submit a speaking proposal? If so, please email donna@unclutter.com.

You may recall me mentioning that I attended the World’s Longest Yard Sale back in August. Here for your reading pleasure are two articles with tips from me on holding a successful garage sale:

September 11 The Daily News http://tinyurl.com/ykhs82s

August 7 Consumer Reports http://tinyurl.com/yzjtcpx

That’s all for this month. Until next month, keep it simple.