The Hoarder in You: How to Live a Happier, Healthier, Uncluttered Life, by Dr. Robin Zasio

There are times in life when you just need to admit something about yourself before you can take the proper steps to fix it. Clutter does start to collect in my world. It’s not depression and I don’t have inordinate attachments to things. I do have a lot more interesting things to do in my life (like reading) that doesn’t make tidying a high priority.

On the other hand, in reading this book, I get the sense that I may be one dead rat away from being a true hoarder. Honestly assessing myself from this book I can say, yeah, there are times I avoid letting people come to the house because of how it looks any my life would be enhanced if that changed.

Robin Zasio is a psychologist and works with people who have allowed their lives to get out of control on the show Hoarders. I do not have bags of garbage piling up in bedrooms but I do have rooms that are out of control. And while I found Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up useful she has some pretty specific steps to take. I managed step one: Go through your home and collect all clothes then keep the things that give you joy, toss or give away the things that don’t. That was useful for me, and I was able to give away a dozen or so trash bags of clothes (mine and my late wife’s) to homeless shelters. Step two: Books and, oh, come on. Books? Yes, I need to work on that too but I actually care more about my books than my clothes.

So this book was useful for a couple of reasons. It helped to sort of rate my problems, which was spooky enough to encourage change. It opened my eyes to problematic thinking that I could either face down or learn to work with. (I tend to think of all the steps I’ll have to take to finish a project.) And it gives some specific guidelines: No, I don’t need 100 grocery bags filling a drawer. Fifteen are fine and I’ll always bring home more. Books on a side table need to be cleared when the stack gets higher than 5 inches.

So the book offers a nice combination of areas for self-reflection and practical ideas. She also points out some issues that could probably use the help of a good counselor or friend, especially for those who have anxiety issues around letting go of things or missing out on a deal, thus bringing home more house-filling items. The book has encouraged me to take on drawers, cabinets, and the pantry with more to come. It’s a useful and entertaining book that would be valuable for helping a reader deal either with personal hoarding tendencies or working with a friend or relative with issues.