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Clutterers Anonymous (CLA) – 12 Step Program

What is Clutterers Anonymous

Clutterers Anonymous is a 12-step program developed to provide support and help with getting rid of clutter. The fellowship was founded in California, May of 1989, by two women who were looking for ways to bring some order into their own lives. The group was formed to help individuals who struggle with clutter and organizational issues, but also to help address the self-destructive behavior that can come with cluttering issues. The 12-step program is in place to help with organization of clutter, but it also helps develop solutions for the deeper issues that need to be dealt with. Clutterers Anonymous focuses on the spiritual, emotional and physical recovery for its members.

Who it Helps

The fellowship of Clutterers Anonymous is a group that is available to anyone who wants help to stop suffering from problems with clutter. For many individuals in Clutterers Anonymous, the cluttering is merely a symptom of the more serious issues at hand. Many individuals face problems with feeling like they are owned by their possessions, clinging on to useless items or holding on to unsatisfying relationships. Other issues for some members can include holding on to resentments, carrying a lot of emotional baggage or holding on to unfinished thoughts.

The only requirement for joining the fellowship of Clutterers Anonymous is the desire to stop cluttering. There are no dues or membership fees for this self-supporting group, like many other 12-step programs, so everyone who has the desire to stop cluttering is welcome. There is a cluttering questionnaire available on the organization’s official website which can help newcomers decide whether or not this group is right for them. For many members, answering yes to even one or two of these questions is enough to attend a meeting. There is also free downloadable literature to learn more about the program, find prospective meeting places in the local area, and a review of the 12 steps and traditions that the Clutterers Anonymous group follows.

How it Works

Clutterers Anonymous, like many other 12-step programs, provides 12 steps and traditions to its members to help them overcome their suffering from cluttering. The first step, similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, asks members to admit their powerlessness over their cluttering. Clutterers Anonymous also offers 12 tools of recovery for its members, which focuses on daily activities, help and guidance to help the recovery from cluttering.

Working the 12 steps of the program and utilizing the 12 tools of recovery can provide clutterers with assistance and help with their problem. Attending meetings and obtaining a sponsor can also provide newcomers with help and ways to implement the tools of recovery in their everyday lives. Joining the fellowship of Clutterers Anonymous can provide members with a strong support system, as well as hearing the experiences, strengths and hope from other individuals who share similar but different stories and struggles.

Why it Works

Clutterers Anonymous works when members attend meetings and work the steps of the program. One of the most important things for members is knowing that they are not alone when it comes to their cluttering issues and that there is a solution to their problems today. Because cluttering can be a symptom of deeper issues, Clutterers Anonymous works by providing organizational help but also addressing emotional, spiritual and mental issues that members deal with.

The beginning of the recovery process starts with sharing experiences, strengths and hope – something that can only be found in meetings. This 12-step program works because it allows members to help each other recover and offer their own ideas and solutions on what works for them when organization, filing and getting rid of clutter. The most important thing to remember when attending Clutterers Anonymous meetings is that there are others out there that share the same problems and issues and there are ways of making life manageable again. Dealing with the clutter is the beginning of the road to recovery; addressing everything else through the fellowship can help lead to a happier, more successful and clutter-free life.

12 Steps of Clutterers Anonymous (CLA)

1. We admitted we were powerless over clutter—that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood God.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


12 Traditions ofClutterers Anonymous (CLA)

1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon CLA℠ unity.

2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as expressed through our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

3. The only requirement for CLA membership is a desire to stop cluttering.

4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or CLA as a whole.

5. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the person who still suffers.

6. A CLA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the Clutterers Anonymous℠ name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, or prestige divert us from our primary purpose.

7. Every CLA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

8. Clutterers Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

9. Clutterers Anonymous, as such, ought never be organized, but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

10. CLA has no opinion on outside issues; hence the Clutterers Anonymous name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, television, and all other media.

12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.


Clutterers Anonymous FAQs

When was Clutterers Anonymous founded?

Clutterers Anonymous was founded in February, 1989 and had its first meeting in May, 1989 in Simi Valley, California. The two women who founded the program wanted to obtain some order in their lives and decided that a fellowship similar to Alcoholics Anonymous could further simplify their lives of clutter and provide them with the opportunity to help others achieve the same goals.

Are there Clutterers Anonymous Zoom meetings?

Open to all Clutterers Anonymous members, there are virtual meetings and telephone meetings available if attending a face-to-face meeting is not an option. Telephone and Zoom meetings can be found here on the official Clutterers Anonymous website and are available every day of the week. Members interested in Zoom meetings must contact the person in charge of each meeting via email to gain an access ID to join the meeting group.

What is the literature for Clutterers Anonymous?

Clutterers Anonymous has free, downloadable pamphlets available to anyone interested in the program that list the 12 steps, 12 traditions, a clutterers questionnaire and the 12 tools of recovery. Because the fellowship is modeled after the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, Clutterers Anonymous uses the same “Big Book” that Alcoholics Anonymous uses. The Alcoholics Anonymous literature is used because it helps members of Clutterers Anonymous recognize their own destructive behaviors and how alcoholics have successfully used the 12 steps for their own recovery processes. “Came to Believe,” “Daily Reflections,” and “As Bill Sees It” are also some of the Alcoholics Anonymous literature used for the fellowship of Clutterers Anonymous, which can be found and purchased here.

What are the Clutterers Anonymous affirmations?

For many members in recovery, switching negative talk into positive statements can help encourage taking risks, making changes and empowering individuals in recovery by improving the mind and the spirit. Reciting daily affirmations when in recovery in Clutterers Anonymous can help members feel better as well as improve their success into a more positive lifestyle. Recovery affirmations for members of the group include:
1. As I declutter my life, I open up space to receive the support and comfort that I need.
2. As I let go of what is insignificant to me, I am better able to enjoy those things that are important to me.
3. Before I accept any new commitments, I release one that demands equivalent time and energy.
4. I accept my progress as proceeding in my Higher Power’s time.
5. I acknowledge and celebrate all my victories, small and large.
6. I affirm abundance and prosperity, thus releasing my need to hoard and control things.
7. I allocate space and time for each item that I have or bring into my home and life.
8. I allot more time than I need for a task or trip, allowing a comfortable margin for the unexpected.
9. I am entitled to surroundings of beauty, harmony, order and serenity.
10. I am ready, willing and able to change my relationship with clutter.
11. I create at least one clutter-free zone or room in which I keep only items I use and love.
12. I actively participate in my own life.
13. I gratefully accept “what is” rather than demanding the people, place, and things be my way.
14. I guard my integrity by principles, not yielding to external pressure.
15. I live in a clutter-free environment, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
16. I lovingly release those items that are no longer useful, trusting that whatever I need will be provided.
17. I participate with my clutter by putting my attention and action on it in the present moment.
18. I schedule quiet time for communing with my Higher Power.
19. I set reasonable goals, remembering that my first priority is my well-being.
20. I trust my ability to make the best decisions regarding my belongings, purchases, and commitments.
21. I trust myself to know what is important vs. unimportant, sufficient vs. excessive, or necessary vs. inconsequential.
22. People and relationships are more important than my lifeless possessions.
23. Time is a precious gift, so I use it wisely.
24. With every item I release, I create space in my life for more joy and energy, as well as new insights and experiences, to come in.
25. With the help of my Higher Power, I take responsibility for manifesting my desires, wants, and dreams.

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