Conquer the Clutter book


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About Conquer the Clutter

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.


About the Authors

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 18 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.