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It seems we humans like to surround ourselves with stuff and then worry about how much stuff we have to the point that we add to the clutter by bringing home lots of books about how to rid ourselves of clutter.

The Missouri River Regional Library catalog lists no less than 40 titles having to do with orderliness, library-speak for decluttering.

One of the newest of those titles is "Making Space, Clutter Free" by Tracy McCubbin. For those who found Marie Kondo's hugely popular book "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" a bit too rigid in its insistence that we follow the specific KonMari Method for decluttering, McCubbin's book takes a different tack and tries to get us to understand the emotions behind our need to cling to stuff and thus free ourselves from the hold it has on us. She understands it's difficult for people to part with things, even if they don't need them.

McCubbin, owner of dClutterfly, a hugely successful organizing and decluttering company in Los Angeles, believes if we can get over what she terms our Clutter Blocks, we can clear out the clutter for good. According to her, there are seven Clutter Blocks and people can have one or more that prevent them from being able to rid themselves of the stuff they have accumulated.

A few of the Clutter Blocks are: my stuff keeps me in the past; my stuff tells me who I am; the stuff I'm avoiding; and I'm not worth my good stuff. McCubbin deals with each block and gets into the emotions behind them to help in breaking its hold on us.

The book is organized into four parts, and each deals with a step in the process of decluttering. She encourages you to take breaks and be gentle with yourself and whoever is assisting in the process. She also discusses ways to stop clutter from creeping back into your life and ends with a short chapter on big life changes like downsizing and decluttering after death or divorce.

At the end of the book are some resources for where you might donate your items and a checklist for seniors to use when they need to downsize. The book is full of practical advice and could be just what you need to begin clearing out those piles of clutter.

Lisa Sanning is the adult services librarian at Missouri River Regional Library.

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