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B2<br />

index<br />

exploreLI<br />


Meditation classes to unclutter minds<br />

newsday.com/recreation<br />

NEWSDAY,WEDNESDAY,FEBRUARY 10, 2016 newsday.com ExploreLI N<br />

funnyvalentine<br />

Dancing to Frank Sinatralove<br />

songs is aclassy waytocelebrate<br />

Valentine’s DayWeekend. TheNew<br />

Millennium Big Band performs the<br />

crooner’s most notable love songs,<br />

8p.m. FridayatSuffolk Theater in<br />

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dancing begins at 8. $35-$39.<br />

631-727-4343, suffolktheater.com<br />

sixstrings<br />

Jackie Greene and his band make<br />

their first appearanceatthe YMCA<br />

Boulton Center in BayShore at<br />

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B9 Ask Amy<br />

B9 Bridge<br />

B10 Comics<br />

B5 Entertainment<br />

B12 Games<br />

B12 Horoscopes<br />

B6 Kids<br />

B9 Kidsday<br />

B4 Movie Times<br />

B20 TV<br />



Patricia Campbell, left, and Eileen Koff declutter aclient’s home in Lake Ronkonkoma.<br />

toomuch stuff?<br />

Duo helps people think outside the boxestoget rid of junk<br />


janelle.griffith@newsday.com<br />

Eileen Koff and Patricia Campbell<br />

work best surrounded by<br />

clutter incrowded kitchen<br />

pantries or overstuffed basements.<br />

But they don’t get their<br />

inspiration from immersing themselves<br />

inall this physical and<br />

emotional baggage; rather, bygetting<br />

rid of it.<br />

Koff and Campbell are professional<br />

organizers. Not tobeconfused with<br />

home cleaners, the women are clutter<br />

crusaders —paid to help people let go<br />

of the things they donot need and to<br />

recognize why they have attachments<br />

to certain possessions. Clutter, they say,<br />

is far more complicated than what the<br />

eye can see.<br />

“People think, ‘I should be able to do<br />

Help decluttering<br />

WHEN |WHERE Group meets at<br />

7:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at the StonyBrook<br />

home of professional organizer Eileen<br />

Koff (631-553-0068 or email<br />

eileen@tothenextlevel.net). Co-hosted<br />

by professional organizer Patricia<br />

Campbell (917-215-1818 or email<br />

declutternowandforever@hotmail.com)<br />

COST $10 per session<br />

this by myself.’ But no. ‘Stuff’ is very<br />

emotionally charged,” Koff says. “We<br />

don’t even know what questions to ask<br />

ourselves.”<br />

In June, Koff started aclutter support<br />

group that meets monthly ather Stony<br />

Brook home. Koff and Campbell are<br />

members ofthe National Association of<br />

Professional Organizers and facilitate<br />

the meetings. Attendees need not be<br />

actual clients of theirs.<br />

“People come together to share<br />

similar struggles. They hold each other<br />

accountable with new projects or<br />

lifestyle changes,” Koff says. “Alot of<br />

these people get toknow each other<br />

really well. They share something that<br />

is important to them.”<br />

People are often reluctant to seek<br />

outside help to deal with the piles of<br />

baby photos or years-old theater<br />

programs stacking up around their<br />

homes, but the overcome by clutter to<br />

realize their problem is acommon<br />

one.<br />

“They will come for something like<br />

this because there isnojudgment<br />

here,” Koff says. “We’re here togive<br />

advice and discuss what works and<br />

what didn’t work.”<br />


2<br />

3<br />



Christa Johnson began attending<br />

the meetings last month, after she<br />

noticed her Ronkonkoma home had<br />

been overtaken by someone else’s<br />

possessions.<br />

“A lot of stuff came in when my<br />

mom died,” says Johnson, a<br />

registered nurse.<br />

Throughout the two-hour meeting,<br />

Koff helped Johnson realize<br />

that many people tend to latch on<br />

to things asacoping mechanism —<br />

especially after traumatic events,<br />

such as the loss ofaloved one.<br />

“A home is really just areflection<br />

of what is going on in our mind,”<br />

Koff says. “The home is our larger<br />

self.”<br />

Hoarding seems to run in Mary<br />

and Katelyn Bryant’s family, and the<br />

Hauppauge women came to last<br />

month’s meeting hoping to find<br />

help.<br />

“My grandma gives mestuff,”<br />

Katelyn Bryant, 20, says. “My room<br />

is the haven inthe house for things<br />

that won’t get thrown away.”<br />

The items take up physical and<br />

emotional space inher life.<br />

“It’s depressing,” she says. “Ionly<br />

have awalkway —and it’s abig<br />

room.”<br />

Koff poses aquestion to the<br />

group: When you walk into ahotel<br />

room, what’s there? She encourages<br />

the group to model their own<br />

spaces after hotel rooms, which she<br />

notes have nothing beyond what’s<br />

necessary.<br />

In their roles as organizers, Koff<br />

and Campbell act as “body doubles,”<br />

in most cases physically<br />

removing clutter from the homes of<br />

their clients.<br />

“We anchor the person into the<br />

space,” Koff says. “We keep the<br />

anchor strong. When you have a<br />

No.1culprit ...<br />

...PAPER It’s the leading<br />

contributor toclutter and<br />

the hardest thing for people<br />

to part with, Koff says.<br />

Koff,left, goes through belongings<br />

while Campbell talkstoaclient<br />

during adecluttering session at the<br />

client’s home in Lake Ronkonkoma.<br />

body double or abuddy, you’re<br />

more likely toget atask<br />

completed.”<br />


While no one leaves ameeting<br />

completely cured, Koff closes<br />

each session with achallenge for<br />

each attendee. Last month’s task<br />

was tocome up with one organization<br />

project for each of the 12<br />

months.<br />

Koff encourages the women to<br />

start out with small projects —<br />

tackle asock drawer, one shelf in a<br />

busy closet or ajewelry box —and<br />

not to think it would be mastered in<br />

aclean sweep or by housing their<br />

belongings incolor-coordinated<br />

containers.<br />

“Organization is about living<br />

simply, paying attention to our<br />

actions, making conscious<br />

choices,” Koff says. “Simplifying<br />

our lives, restoring balance and<br />

meaning, feeling connected.<br />

These are the core of being<br />

organized.”<br />

WHY<br />

There are tactile sensors<br />

in our fingertips that create<br />

an emotional connection<br />

between how wetouch<br />

paper, and that, Koff says,<br />

leads to “our inability to<br />

make decisions.”<br />

Paper creates asense of power —documents bearing information<br />

can give people afalse sense of significance.<br />

People tend to save clippings for future use or with intentions of<br />

giving to someone else. In most cases, it usually ends up in apile<br />

somewhere because the follow-through isn’t there, Koff says.<br />

TIP If you’re looking to part with paper, Koff and Campbell suggest<br />

wearing apair of plastic gloves asyou sort to create abarrier that<br />

should reduce your attachment to it.<br />



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ExploreLI newsday.com NEWSDAY,WEDNESDAY,FEBRUARY 10, 2016

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