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Underneath it all: Small dorm rooms give way to hoarding, collecting, and clutter

pencils Extreme hoarders may not only be a plot line for a reality TV show. Spring cleaning can take on a whole new meaning for students on campus who find letting go of old collections or clothes more difficult than most. Given the limited space of residence halls, students can face different challenges when it comes to items that offer sentimental value. Jamie Novak, an organizing specialist and creator of the website, Bite Size Living, visited Seton Hall to speak to students on how to declutter their rooms. The website features ways for individuals to use to de-clutter their space in a creative fashion. Jessica Proano, assistant director of first-year area for housing and residence life, helped hold the event featuring Novak. The program encouraged students to think of creative ways to work with the items in their dorm room to maximize space and learn ways to not be afraid to let go of items. Proano said not being able to declutter may not be a result of wanting to hoard items, but instead students becoming unsure of how to get rid of items. “For some it might be sentimental, for others it might just be not knowing what to do or how to dispose of something,” Proano said. Ireisha Vaughn, a junior double major sociology and behavioral sciences, said she has many friends who consider her a hoarder, but she disagrees. Vaughn said many of the items that she does keep, although they may increase in number, may be of use in the future which can make it harder to get rid of. “I would say… as long as you are keeping items that may be essential in the future then it shouldn’t be considered hoarding,” Vaughn added. “Also determine what is needed and what is not needed is a major key.” Although Vaughn does try to limit the items she keeps in her dorm to essentials, she said she does have an extensive set of wristbands and pencils which includes a collection of more than 500 pencils from all over the globe. “I started my pencil collection in elementary school when my cousin bought me a tall pencil back from Disney World and I refused to use it or throw it away,” she said.   Stephanie Gomulka can be reached at


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