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A home full of clutter, paperwork and other stuff is causing major problems for a mother named Lynn. "It's like our house is possessed by possessions—it has a life of its own," she says. "It used to be at a point where it was a nuisance, but now it's costing us money because I misplace bills and have to pay late fees."

Peter shares some tips that he says will help Lynn's family declutter and keep them from financial ruin:

  • Don't buy anything new for the next six months.
  • Take your credit cards out of your wallet and keep them out of sight.
  • Spend 10 minutes every day walking around your home with trash bags—fill one with rubbish and one with items for charity.
  • Turn every hanger in the closet so it faces toward the back. When you wear something, turn the clothing hanger around. After six months, any clothes on hangers that have not been turned back around should be given to charity.
  • Cancel all but two magazine subscriptions and keep no more than three back issues at a time.
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