DEAR HARRIETTE: I am currently downsizing my life after realizing I have too many things in my possession. I recently donated 10 bags of clothes, and I threw away at least 10 bags full of garbage -- and I live in just a one-bedroom apartment!
I made a promise that I would never live like a hoarder again. What are some safe measures I can take to ensure that I do not keep so many things I really do not need? -- The Hoarder, Bronx, New York
DEAR THE HOARDER: Give yourself credit for recognizing that you hold on to too much stuff. You are not alone. That you want to safeguard yourself from collecting more things you don't need is smart to think about at this time when you have just purged. One way to do this is to assess exactly what possessions you do need in your life. This should include the basics: kitchen utensils and food, furniture, clothing, toiletries, accessories, etc.
Before you make a purchase of any kind, stop and consider if you truly need whatever the item is. Reject impulse buys by resisting the temptation to purchase or bring home anything the first time you see it. You will find that you accumulate far fewer items by saying no the first time you consider acquiring them.