4 Warning Signs of a Hoarder

4 Warning Signs of a Hoarder - Ann Again and again Reviews

~~~Guest Contributor:  H.G. McKinnis

In my early twenties, I lived with a hoarder I’ll call Mae. When I moved in, I saw she had loads of stuff, and I knew instantly she was a poor housekeeper. It wasn’t until I moved out, however, that I realized Mae wasn’t just a person who had a neatness deficit and a high tolerance for roaches. She was a classic example of a genuine hoarder.

We all like our stuff. We chose it, love it, and become attached. Any empty nester can tell you how difficult it is to move from a big house to a smaller one. It’s a challenge to throw out mementos and get rid of things that represent milestones, success, or investment. Not every person attached to their possessions is a hoarder, not even prodigious collectors. Hoarding, like other addictions and mental disorders, can’t always be recognized by outward appearances. Huge piles of clutter may be a symptom, but they aren’t enough for a diagnosis without supporting evidence. Here are a few ways to recognize a hoarding problem and begin to find help.

1) Inability to part with worthless, useless items
A serious problem often starts out small. As I look back on my experiences with Mae, the warning signs were all present. Her tables and chairs were stacked with worn-out books, paper bags, and old mail. She bought food in bulk “to save money.” The food often spoiled in the refrigerator, but Mae refused to throw it out. Instead, she created a “compost pile.” While she claimed she was improving the soil in her backyard, she was really only creating a burgeoning problem with bugs. When I noticed she had three copies of the same book, I suggested she get rid of the copy with loose, brittle, and missing pages. She said she was afraid the tattered version might be hurt or destroyed if she didn’t protect it. I now know that rationalizations for holding on to useless items—and even garbage—are classic signs of a  disorder.

2)  Insatiable desire for more stuff
Mae made monthly donations to a neighborhood thrift store, usually consisting of clothing her children had outgrown and items she had recently acquired and with which she had not formed a bond. Whenever she made a donation, Mae also shopped at the thrift store for stuff she felt was “too good to stay in the store.” She usually came home with slightly less than she had left with and elated that she had “pared down.” Then she would order things from catalogs as a reward for good behavior. The result? More stuff. I now know that hoarders often have some awareness of their problematic relationship with possessions, but they can rarely make substantive changes without intervention.

 

4 Warning Signs of a Hoarder - Ann Again and again Reviews
3) No problem getting rid of other people’s stuffMae couldn’t part with her own junk, but she had no trouble at all giving away my belongings. “Oh, my friend needed it,” she said when my clock radio went missing. At the time, I couldn’t understand this behavior. Now I know that it’s quite typical of most. Studies on the brains of hoarders have shown that ownership is a key factor when they make decisions. The disorder stems from their unhealthy relationship with their own possessions, but not those of others. Mae was unable to get rid of her old books and trash but had no trouble parting with her children’s belongings—and my stuff.

4) Issues that threaten health and safety
Hoarding problems tend to get worse over time. While stacks of newspapers or boxes of possessions may at first seem innocuous, tall stacks are a hazard. Hoarders have died in fires caused by their accumulations and suffocated under toppled piles. In Mae’s case, her papers and books housed a cockroach infestation. She could see that the bug problem was out of hand, but threw a fit if I mentioned getting rid of any of the clutter. She had a story about the value and use she might get out of each and every item. It is always difficult to intervene, but if health and safety are at risk, remember that hoarders are incapable of making necessary changes on their own.

Because hoarding is a behavior but not a disorder in itself, it is wise to look into possible issues that contributed to it and seek appropriate therapy. Depression leads the list of underlying causes of hoarding, but trauma, family background, dementia, and many other factors may also be responsible. For help with hoarding itself, consider programs like Clutterers Anonymous or Buried in Treasures, twelve-step programs that are run and maintained by its members and uses the mentor approach. If the hoarder herself realizes that change is necessary, and she makes the effort to work with the program, she can develop a tolerance for bypassing unnecessary purchases. As a friend or family member, remember that understanding and compassion can go a long way to helping a hoarder improve.

H.G. McKinnis is the author of the forthcoming novel A Justified Bitch: A Las Vegas Mystery [Imbrifex Books, August 8, 2017], a twisted tale of murder, hoarding and redemption. Learn more about H.G. McKinnis at AJustifiedBitch.com, on TwitterFacebook and at Imbrifex Books.

My Shopping Made Easier #TidyCatsAtCostco

This post is sponsored by Tidy Cats® and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer NetworkTM. I am being compensated to help create awareness of Tidy Cats available in Costco Stores located in the Pacific Northwest but we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers. Nestle Purina and Tidy Cats is not responsible for the content of this article. #TidyCatsAtCostco

When I shop I choose stores where I can get the most done in fewer stops. Price and convenience play a big part in my shopping choices that’s why I was so happy that our household’s litter of choice, Tidy Cats®, is now in Portland, OR Costco stores. There are items that make sense to buy in bulk because they are items that you’ll always need; paper products, health supplements (does wine count?) and cat litter. That is, of course, if you have a cat.

Another rainy day. Perfect time to shop at Costco!
Another rainy day. Perfect time to shop at Costco!

But, even if you don’t have a feline lounging around your house and giving you attitude, you’ll find that Tidy Cats litter works really well in other areas of your home!

  • Cat litter is a great deodorizer. You can use it to freshen the smell of your refrigerator in place of baking soda.
  • Make a “cat litter sachet” using cheesecloth, or another slightly open weave fabric, and place it in some stinky shoes to absorb the bad odors.
  • Prevent grease fires at your Bar-B-Que by placing a layer of litter in the bottom of your grill.

You don’t need to be a cat owner to need cat litter.

And now, for those of us in the Pacific Northwest, you have one more item to add to your Costco list. (But hurry! It’s only available for a limited time!) It wasn’t hard to locate Tidy Cats cat litter during my recent trip to Costco.

#TidyCatsAtCostco

Ta Da! Here we have a tower of 42 lbs. boxes of Tidy Cats, ready and waiting for you! My back was a little weak so a very helpful Costco employee “helped me” put it in my cart. (They also helped me put it in my van. Nice.)

#TidyCatsAtCostco

I choose to purchase items in larger containers, this way it reduces waste once the product is empty. Tidy Cats comes in a sturdy box that can be easily recycled, or repurposed! Once empty you could place a plastic liner on the inside then decorate the outside with wallpaper, washi tape or thick wrapping paper, and voila! A pretty container that could be used for anything! Use your imagination. How would you repurpose the sturdy Tidy Cats cat litter container once it’s empty? I’m looking for more ideas. Please share in the comments.

To learn more about Tidy Cats product line, please visit:  http://www.tidycats.com/

You can also join them on their Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/tidycats/

(*Disclaimer: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Nestle Purina and Tidy Cats. The opinions and text are all mine.)

(*READER COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.)

 

Tips For Safe Shopping Online

Tips For Safe Shopping Online - Ann Again and again Reviews

Online shopping is becoming a progressively larger part of our lives – no wonder with the irreplaceable convenience and great discounts!  I love it! Reductions in many popular stores are only available when purchasing on the Internet, and grabbing some Nordstrom coupons or other promo codes has never been easier with a large selection of coupon services online nowadays. However, the fear that our personal financial information will fall into the wrong hands has never been more real. How can we ensure our safety during an online shopping trip and have safe shopping online? Read on to learn more:

1. Know Your Retailersmoneyinfolder

There are numerous online retailers who have taken the time and effort to build a name and reputation for themselves. But what happens when you decide to stray from the beaten path and offer your business to a newer company? It’s fun to find a new store and share your discovery with your family and friends.  Just make sure you are sufficiently careful and aware. Packaging costs, delivery costs and any additional billing after purchases should be included in a manner that is evident before buying.

You’ll also want to know if you can track the item and if the product comes with any sort of warranty or guarantee.

3. Don’t Use a Site That Is Not Secure

Once you’ve chosen an item, it is time to make sure that the site you are using has been properly secured. Secure Sockets Layer is the most common form of encryption and SSL ensures that your credit card details are not shared with any other party. When you see an extra “s” being added to the http address you’re using, this means that you have entered a secure area. Some browsers will provide a padlock symbol as well.

4. Take The Time To Read The Privacy Policy

In out rush to get the purchasing process over with, we often neglect to read the privacy policy in full. But once you have clicked on the “yes, I agree” box, there is very little recourse if an issue happens to take place. Companies often sneak agreements into these privacy policies that allow them to share your information with third parties. If you have used online shopping retailers in the past and ended up with an inbox full of spam for your trouble, these policies are typically the culprit.

5. Record The Details Of Your Purchase

Once you’ve made a purchase, take a screenshot of the confirmation screen, so that you have proof in case of any future difficulties. You can also print this page off, so that there is no confusion if you need to contact a company representative.

 

The above tips should help ensure that you not only enjoy your “shopping trip” but also have safe shopping online.

 

4 Surprising Ways Your Shopping Senses Are Being Manipulated

I’m sure you’re aware the style of music playing in a store isn’t a mistake.  Classical makes you move slower, browse longer.  When it comes to colors chosen for a restaurant dining room studies show that red makes you hungry, therefore you possibly order more.  Read on to find other ways retailers do their best to manipulate our shopping senses.  (The Ebay one was a surprise to me.  And have you noticed the fragrance of certain departments in stores? And Apple?!  This is good info.  Read on!)

4 Ways Retailers Manipulate your Senses_infographic

 

(*Disclosure:  This information was shared with permission by AlternativesFinder.com.  Aren’t these findings interesting?)

What To Buy And What To Skip This Labor Day!

What To Buy This Labor Day - Ann Again and again Reviews
photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Will you be perusing the sales this weekend?  There are so many offerings it can get overwhelming on what’s truly a good deal now and what can wait.  Navigate Labor Day sales by learning what to buy now and what to skip to avoid drowning in a sea of bad purchases! Follow this shopping guide from consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch.

Buy: Mattresses

Holiday sales are always a good time to buy big-ticket items like mattresses and furniture. If possible, head to a local furniture or mattress store before the weekend rush to test out different options and research pre-sale prices so you can identify any misleading offers. Macy’s makes it easy to save this year — on Sept. 2, the department store launched a Labor Day furniture and mattress sale when shoppers can reserve their purchases before the sale begins.

Skip: Automobiles

Since Labor Day falls at the beginning of the month, car dealerships are less likely to offer a big discount despite what their banners tell you. A better time to shop for a vehicle is at the end of the month when sales associates are more motivated to negotiate in order to meet sales quotas. Otherwise, hold off until October when dealerships will be pushing excess 2015 inventory at even deeper discounts!

Buy: Summer Clothes

It’s hard to plan ahead to next summer when you’re focused on back-to-school, but now is the time to stock up on warm-weather essentials. Major retailers will reduce already-discounted summer items during the popular holiday shopping event, so look out for deals on swimsuits, sandals, linen suits and other lightweight apparel. Make sure you also look for Labor Day coupons to take advantage of these deep discounts from sites like Coupon Sherpa. For example, you can currently take an extra 25% off clearance items and 20% off sale items with this Lord and Taylor coupon code.

Skip: Back-to-School Apparel

While we’re still in the thick of the back-to-school season, kid’s fall clothing isn’t really a necessity right now as summer temperatures will continue into the first few weeks of the new school year. The best time to buy sweaters, jeans, outerwear and boots is in October. Wait for Columbus Day sales to scoop up the biggest savings!

What To Buy This Labor Day - Ann Again and again Reviews

Buy: Luxury Goods

If there’s a luxury-brand watch or handbag you’ve been drooling over, Labor Day is one of few shopping events during which you may score a lower price. Like other apparel and accessory retailers, luxury brands need to clear out summer inventory to make room for fall must-haves. Make sure you compare sales before you buy, and check out sites like TheRealReal.com for designer goods at cut-rate prices.

Skip: Halloween/Harvest Decor

Though summer isn’t technically over until later this month, retailers are already promoting fall in a big way with Halloween and harvest-themed decor lining store shelves. While you may see a small discount on these decorations, don’t let the temptation of the season entice you to buy just yet. In fact, the best time to buy Halloween decor is the last couple of days before the big event.

Buy: Outdoor Entertaining Essentials

The season for backyard parties and barbecues may be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean you can’t outfit your outdoor oasis with new entertaining essentials. End-of-season sales will offer savings of 40 to 60 percent on grills, patio furniture, umbrellas and servingware. In addition to in-store sales, make sure to look for these big-ticket items online, too: Overstock.com, for example, is offering up to 70% off outdoor furniture and decor, with many items shipping free.

Skip: TVs

On the cusp of football season, retailers are promoting some seemingly good offers on TVs to help shoppers kick off the opening game with a new big screen. However, the best two times to buy a new TV are during Black Friday weekend and at the end of January in time for Super Bowl. If there’s a certain model you’re eyeing, keep tabs on sales using TrackIf.com so you don’t miss out when the price drops.

Buy: Luggage

With the busy travel season behind us, you’ll find a bevvy of deals on travel goods like suitcases, duffle bags and other accessories. Look for deals on luggage sets to get the best bang for your buck. You’ll save even more by shopping online, so compare prices using PriceGrabber.com and scope out deals at sites like eBags.

Skip: Smartphones

Apple will likely release the newest iPhone on Wednesday, September 9, so hold off until this news is announced before updating or buying a new smartphone. Once the latest device is released, you’ll find huge discounts on old iPhone models, plus additional savings on Android devices competing with Apple to make sales.

 

(Shared with permission.  Andrea Woroch is a money-saving expert who transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers by sharing smart spending tips and personal finance advice. As a sought-after media source, she has been featured among such top news outlets as Good Morning America, Today, CNN, Dr. OZ, New York Times, MONEY Magazine, Consumer Reports, Forbes and many more. In addition, Andrea’s stories have been published among leading publications and sites such as Yahoo!, AOL Daily Finance, CNN Money, Huffington Post, LearnVest and New York Daily News. Check out Andrea’s demo reel or visit her website at AndreaWoroch.com for more information about booking an interview or requesting an original written article. You can also follow her on Twitter or Facebook for daily money tips.

For all media inquiries, please contact Andrea Woroch at 970-672-6085 or email andrea@andreaworoch.com

Have You Checked Out Pharmaca? Great Natural Health & Wellness Store!

pharmaca logo

I am a lotions and potions girl. When I was a teenager I subjected my friends to the latest skin care routine I read about in Seventeen magazine. When my husband and I go into Home Depot I’m looking for the Beauty aisle. (It’s not there yet but I don’t see why there can’t be a spa section right by the Bathroom remodel aisle.) I enjoy seeking out good, quality skin care and makeup and sometimes my favorites are in more than one location. My eye cream is at the mall, some make-up items are at a store across town and my cleanser and lotion is on-line. Recently I was introduced to a store that has all of these products under one roof along with items to help keep your house clean and chemical free along with a full-service pharmacy, Pharmaca.

Ann Again and again Reviews

Pharmaca began in Boulder, CO in the year 2000. From one small store Pharmaca is now located in 5 states (for locations click here) and has a full store on-line. Their certified practitioners will help guide customers through their selection of over-the-counter medications, alternative remedies, and natural cosmetics and body care products for a stress-free shopping experience. I felt a sense of calm when I walked in the store and was greeted with pleasant music and a cheerful “let me know if I can help you”.

 

Ann Again and again Reviews Pharmaca Integrated Pharmacy

 

After perusing the offerings in the vitamin and personal health care area I was drawn to, what else, the skin care and cosmetics section. They have a Natural Beauty Bar that provides the services of Brow & Facial Waxing. You can also have a full make-up application and/or lash application. These services are walk-in available but can also be made by appointment.

 

Ann Again and again Reviews Pharmaca Integrated Pharmacy

One my favorite skin care products is the Dr. Haruschka line. The Dr. Hauschka Lemon Lemongrass Vitalizing Body Wash is so good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ann Again and again Reviews Pharmaca Integrated Pharmacy

Before,during and after you test your products you can rinse off in the wash basin perfectly placed by a sampling of the make-up testers. You’ll definitely want to try the Dr. Hauschka Lavender Sandalwood Calming Body Wash.

Ann Again and again Reviews Pharmaca Integrated Pharmacy

 

 

 

 

Within Pharmaca you will find health supplements easily identified in symptom categories. If you can’t find what you are looking for trained staff is on hand – and one even noticed my raised eyebrows and chimed in with “Can I help you find something?” Now, if only my kids were that clued in to my expressions!

 

I’ve had lovely shopping experiences at Pharmaca and was so pleased with the customer service. The Pharmacy was well staffed and the waiting area had hot and iced tea for their waiting clients. If you choose to move your prescriptions to Pharmaca you will receive a $30 gift card, which will be spent well at this store, for sure! There are various monthly events that are focused on the health and well-being of everyone in your family. For August they are featuring the Healthy Mom & Baby event with lots of fun offerings. (Check your local Pharmaca for event dates/times.)

 

(*Disclosure: I was provided compensation for my review of Pharmaca. My opinions are truthfully my own and I choose to shop here now. Great store!)

Easy Returns With ReturnSaver And $150 American Express Gift Card Giveaway!





This information is brought to you by ReturnSaver.com. All opinions are my own.

Enter to win a $150 American Express Gift Card at AnnAgainAndAgainReviews.com !

Honestly, I would much rather shop online than go shopping at a mall.  I like to do online research, see what reviews the item’s received then have it conveniently shipped to me.  Trying things on is definitely more pleasant in the comfort of my own home.  Do you like to shop online? Or do you prefer to venture out? Do you find drawbacks of shopping online?

Shopping online is so easy and it can save you so much time and money. You don’t have to drive around to several stores wasting your gas, you can find extra coupons to save some money, and with a larger selection of sizes and colors, you’re sure to find your perfect pick!

But what happens when your perfect find arrives and it doesn’t fit right or it doesn’t look like it did online? Warning: Most of the time, the retailer makes you pay the return shipping. So you have three options: pay the shipping charges to send the order back; return it to the store (if that’s even an option); or keep it and lose money. Return shipping costs can rack up and take away from the good deal you had in the first place!

Let’s face it — none of those sound like great options. Any way you slice it, you lose. If you love to shop online but hate the hassle of the return process, here’s your solution: Meet ReturnSaver.com. Get the wrong shoe size, or maybe your child’s toy wasn’t quite right? No problem! With Return Saver, all your returns are now stress-free. All Return Saver members need to do is follow the store’s return policy and ship it back, via FedEx Ground®, for free! No need to be scared to buy something because of the pain of returning it. Return Saver members can return an unlimited number of their online purchases every year — to any online retailer!

Enter to win a $150 American Express Gift Card at AnnAgainAndAgainReviews.com !

Members benefit from the world-class service and reliability of FedEx Ground®, the exclusive shipping carrier for Return Saver, meaning they can track their packages and relax knowing their returns are in good hands.

Great new, too: I have an exclusive offer for you! Normally this program goes for $49/year, but for a limited time, my readers can enjoy this time- and money-saving service for only $39/year! Click here to sign up and stop worrying about return shipping costs!

Enter to win $150 American Express Gift Card at AnnAgainAndAgainReviews.com !

How It Works in 3 Easy Steps:

  1. Create – Log in to ReturnSaver.com and fill out a simple return label form in under a minute.
  2. Print – Attach the prepaid return shipping label to the package.
  3. Ship – Go to any FedEx location to return your purchase.

Sounds easy — because it is! With ReturnSaver.com, you never have to worry about return shipping costs while shopping online ever again. If something does not meet your expectation, you can easily return it!

Enter to win a $150 American Express Gift Card at AnnAgainAndAgainReviews.com

Now for the giveaway! To help you get started on your worry-free shopping, ReturnSaver.com is giving 1 lucky reader a $150 American Express Gift Card. Just enter on the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway runs from March 2 at 12:01am EST – March 16, 2015 at 11:59pm EST. It is open to US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


 

This information was provided by ReturnSaver.com and SavingYouDinero.com. Ann Again and again Reviews is not responsible for fulfilling the prize.

4 Surprising Ways Retailers Manipulate Your Shopping Senses

I’m sure you know the style of music playing in a store isn’t a mistake.  Classical makes you move slower, browse longer.  When it comes to colors chosen for a restaurant studies show that red makes you hungry, therefore you possibly order more.  Read on to find other ways retailers do their best to manipulate our shopping senses.  (The Ebay one was a surprise to me.  And have you noticed the fragrance of certain departments in stores? And Apple?! Curious.  Read on!)

4 Ways Retailers Manipulate your Senses_infographic

(*Disclosure:  This information was shared with permission by AlternativesFinder.com.  Aren’t these findings something?!)

Did You Know These Big Companies Are In Your Cupboards?

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Did You Know These Big Companies Are In Your Cupboards? - Ann Again and again Reviews

I’m not oblivious to the fact that companies like Nestle and Kraft have a wide net over the foods that are offered in grocery stores. But I was surprised to find the reach a particular company had with regard to butter – even though the brands are different, they are all owned by the same company. Money isn’t spread around, it looks to all be going into the same pockets. When standing in the grocery aisle it appears you have many choices, but do you really?

Top Grocery Brands Comparison: Latest Research On Big Food Companies Exploiting Our Shopping Habits

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Back-To- School Spending Easier To Manage With Bluebird From American Express and Walmart

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Ann Again and again Reviews Bluebird by American Express and WalMart

Ann Again and again Reviews Back To School Royalty Free Stock Images - Image: 10434419

As our family counts down the days of Summer time fun I have my eyes on ads for Back-To-School deals.  ‘Tis the season to buy packs of pencils, stacks of notebooks, grand entrance tops and shiny shoes.  (My youngest loves anything with sparkles.)  Are you all set with your Back-To-School shopping?  Getting organized with spending is an important thing to do, and a continuous lesson no matter what your age.  My 15 year old is becoming comfortable shopping with out me, and going to the mall with her friends.  (Do I hang behind and shadow them?  Um, well… yes.  Yes I have.  But any way.)  I don’t feel entirely comfortable handing over my debit card for these shopping trips and cash isn’t something I always have on hand.  Recently I was introduced to a way to manage spending that will not only help keep us within our Back-To-School budget, it will also allow me to control spending in a way I’ve never seen before – Bluebird by American Express and Walmart.

Ann Again and again Reviews Bluebird by American Express and WalMart

Now that my oldest daughter wants to go shopping with her friends this is going to be a different shopping season for me.  She wants to be in charge of things on her Back-To-School list.  Responsibility is a good thing and I need to do my best to embrace this choice, no matter how much it tugs at my heart. Growing up!  It’s inevitable, right?  Does your child(ren) like to go shopping without you now too?  What age were they when they asked “Mom, can you take us to the Mall?  Oh, and you don’t have to stick around.”  *heavy sigh*

The more I learn about Bluebird the more comfortable I am that spending will be under control.  I found signing up for a Bluebird account to be quick and easy.  With your Bluebird account you receive a card that you load with whatever dollar amount you like.  This account can also have 4 sub accounts, and each sub account receives a card with the persons name on it. Within these accounts you can set a daily spending limit, turn ATM access on or off and receive spending alerts.  All of these functions can be performed on-line or from your smart phone.  I will be setting the spending limit and I will be able to see where the money is being spent.  We’re beginning our Back-To-Shopping so I’ll be sharing more of our Bluebird experience with you.

What ways do you keep your Back-To-School spending in check?

To learn more about Bluebird please click this link:  https://www.bluebird.com/#why-bluebird

 

(*Disclosure:  In adherence with FTC and WOMMA guidelines I am being compensated for my participation in the American Express and WalMart Birdbird program.  My opinions are truthfully  my own.)