Ep 3 | Face Your Stuff with Dorothy The Organizer

September 12th, 2017 · 55 mins 52 secs

About this Episode

Dorothy Breininger, author and veteran professional organizer as seen on A&E's hit show “Hoarders” sorts out the mind-body-home clutter connection and related addictions.

Dorothy Breininger, aka “Dorothy The Organizer,” is known to millions as the fearless-yet-endearing problem solver on A&E’s Emmy-nominated hit TV series “Hoarders.” She is the author of seven books, including Stuff Your Face or Face Your Stuff. Dorothy is featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, O Magazine, and appears on the Today Show, Dr. Phil, the VIEW, The Doctors, QVC and PBS.

In this episode, Dorothy helps us make the connection between the clutter in our homes and addictions we may have in other areas of our life (food, alcohol, gambling, shopping, etc.). We explore some of the barriers that prevent us from making the choices we know are best for us and how to overcome them. Dorothy also shares her first hand experience working with clients suffering from hoarding and some of the resources available to help those with this condition.

Dorothy is offering Spark Joy listeners:

  1. A Free Guide on “How to Banish Clutter Creatively”
  2. A Free Cancer Concierge ebook that can help you learn how to organize yourself and your life in the face of a cancer diagnosis

To connect with Dorothy Breininger, you can visit her website, www.dorothytheorganizer.com for free tips, videos, newsletters, organizing resources for your life, home, office, and relationships. Be sure to check out her book “Stuff Your Face or Face Your Stuff” via her website or Amazon. Also, check her out on the hit show "Hoarders" on A&E.

Spark Joy wants to hear from you! Tell us your burning tidying questions or share stories about how KonMari has impacted your life. Find us at www.sparkjoypodcast.com, email us at contact@sparkjoypodcast.com to leave a question or comment for a chance to be featured on next week’s show. Join us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter via @sparkjoypodcast.

In this episode, you’ll enjoy:

  • Dorothy's three life-changing experiences that helped her manage her own clutter

  • What Dorothy learned about other culture's relationship with clutter after backpacking across 30 countries

  • How Dorothy climbed out of $360,000 of inherited debt

  • How Dorothy's work on Hoarders helped her realize her own addictive behavior around food

  • Netflix documentaries: Forks Over Knives and What the Health

  • Why we are looking to stuff to decide where we are going as a society

  • How food addiction is similar to alcohol or gambling addiction and leads to a perverse sense of self care

  • How living with an addiction or mental illness impacts our ability to make conscious choices

  • The three most common barriers we create between us and the problems we face and how to overcome them

  • Stuff My Face, Face My Stuff is available on Amazon and includes examples of over 30 different types of Twelve Step Programs

  • Landmark Education

  • How to apply a questioning method from Byron Katie's process, The Work, can tell you about what your clutter is saying about you

  • Lessons Dorothy's learned from working with extreme hoarding clients

  • The power of apologies

  • How to identify someone who hoards and common indicators

  • The connection between perfectionism and hoarding

  • What it was like to spend a night in a hoarder's home

  • What happens during a hoarder's aftercare and its similarity to a food addiction maintenance plan

  • Where to turn for hoarding help: Turn to www.dorthytheorganizer.com for tools and resources including a virtual therapy group for hoarders

Dorothy's Favorite Tidying Tip: "Left to right, top to bottom."

"Even if you feel sure you are right, never assume you know what’s best for another in terms of stuff. Simply re-arranging someone else’s stuff or worse yet getting rid of it without permission truly breaks the bonds of trust (especially with children)."

What sparks the most joy for Dorothy: Surprising friends, family, and strangers.


  • “What does your clutter say about you?”

  • “We all have stuff.”

  • “I got rid of the stuff so that I could create something bigger for myself.”

  • “People hoarded stuff in their homes, but I was hoarding sugar and flour on my body.”

  • “We’re looking to stuff to decide where we are going as a society.”

  • “We are teetering near 14 million people who hoard.”

  • “Barrier to facing our stuff: We blame others.”

  • “Barrier to facing our stuff: We refuse to look at our own mistakes.”

  • “Barrier to facing our stuff: We isolate instead of reach out for help.”

  • “Overcome the barrier: Dare to admit we are fully responsible for the things that we own."

  • “Overcome the barrier: Take a fearless moral inventory of yourself.”

  • “Overcome the barrier: Be with a group of like-minded people to help you get out of isolation.”

  • “Apologies created the path to clearing out the clutter in their house.”

  • “Even if you feel sure you are right, never assume you know what’s best for another in terms of stuff.”

You can find Karin Socci at The Serene Home
You can find Kristyn Ivey at For the Love of Tidy