Clutterers Anonymous

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Clutterers Anonymous (CLA) is a twelve-step program for people who share a common problem with accumulation of clutter. CLA does not exist to provide housekeeping hints, tips on sorting and filing, or lectures on time management, but instead focuses on the underlying issues made manifest by unnecessary physical and emotional clutter.[1][non-primary source needed] CLA has active meetings in about 70 cities in 24 states in the US, and several in England, Germany, and Iceland, as of June 9, 2011.[2][3] CLA Tradition 3 states, "The only requirement for CLA membership is a desire to stop cluttering."[2][4] Clutterers Anonymous replaces "powerless over alcohol" in the First Step of the Twelve Suggested Steps originally developed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) with "powerless over our clutter."[5] CLA was founded in May 1989 in Simi Valley, California.[4]

Causes and co-morbidity[edit]

Some believe cluttering behavior can be symptomatic of deeper issues. Problem clutterers are more likely to have depression, mania, OCD, or ADHD.[6] Any of these disorders can be co-morbid with compulsive hoarding.[6] Others attribute cluttering to the human desire to hunt and gather, while still others describe it as a consequence of over-consumption.[7][8] Some members of CLA describe the inability to let go of objects as a consequence of spiritual emptiness.[4]


Unlike alcoholism, addiction, or depression, cluttering is rarely lethal (although serious injury or death can occur from clutter-related accidental trips, falls or fires), but it can have other devastating consequences. In extreme cases, clutterers have been evicted from dwellings, have lost custody of children, or have even been jailed for violations of building, fire, or health codes. (However, this has tended to become more a thing of the past, with more awareness and exposure on various TV shows).[9]

CLA-approved literature[edit]

The CLA-approved literature includes the two fundamental texts of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Alcoholics Anonymous[10] (the so-called "Big Book") and the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions[11] as well as eight CLA-specific leaflets, and a 28-page booklet, "Is CLA for You? A Newcomer's Guide to Recovery.[12] At some meetings, CLA members read directly from both books and may replace the word "alcoholic" with "clutterer."[13]

Clutterers Anonymous is not associated with Messies Anonymous, a support group founded by Sandra Felton, which uses her copyrighted publications.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "What CLA Offers". Clutterers Anonymous. Retrieved 2014-11-17.
  2. ^ a b Clutterers Anonymous
  3. ^ Morford, Mark (2005-11-04). "Clutter cure begins with garbage bag". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2009-03-09. Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  4. ^ a b c Randazzo, Angela (1999-10-01). "Help Clearing Clutter is a Call Away". Los Angeles Daily News. Archived from the original on 2012-10-20. Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  5. ^ Nazario, Sonia (1999-08-08). "Self-help: We can't help it". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 2011-05-16. Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  6. ^ a b Chard, Philip (2006-01-02). "Eliminating clutter can unburden the mind". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2007-10-18. Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  7. ^ Verrengia, Joseph B. (2005-10-24). "U.S. material wealth leads to clutter". USA Today. Archived from the original on 2009-10-13. Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  8. ^ Murphy, Caryle (2004-10-03). "By Removing the Clutter, Many Find Path to Clarity". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2009-03-09. Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  9. ^ Chollet, Laurence (1994-01-02). "By Things Possessed". The Record. Bergen County, NJ. Archived from the original on 2011-05-16. Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  10. ^ Alcoholics Anonymous (1976-06-01). Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. ISBN 0-916856-59-3. OCLC 32014950.
  11. ^ Alcoholics Anonymous (2002-02-10). Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. Hazelden. ISBN 0-916856-01-1. OCLC 13572433.
  12. ^ Clutterers Anonymous
  13. ^ LaPeter, Lenora (2004-03-15). "12 steps lead to a support group for every human flaw". St. Petersburg Times. Archived from the original on 2009-02-16. Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  14. ^ Boodman, Sandra G. (2002-12-12). "The Hidden World of Hoarders; Those who suffer from this little-understood psychological problem distress families, confound therapists and frustrate public authorities". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2012-10-26. Retrieved 2007-06-24.

External links[edit]