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12 & 12
Common name for A.A.®’s book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
4th Step Inventory
The traditional meaning is to make a written inventory of ourselves to discover our assets and character defects. Another meaning of Step Four is to physically sort through our stuff. See the “Recovery from Cluttering: The 12 Steps of Clutterers Anonymous℠” leaflet, available in the CLA store, and the 12 Steps of CLA℠.
7th Tradition
There are no dues or fees for membership; we are self-supporting through our own 7th Tradition contributions, neither soliciting nor accepting outside donations.
action lines
Telephone conference lines used for activity sessions
activity session
A phone activity session is a gathering of two or more clutterers who come together on a CLA conference call line on a designated day and time. They actively declutter, set goals, make commitments, announce victories, give and receive support in taking actions.
Non-disclosure of any information about a CLA member
The Big Book®
Common name for A.A.’s book Alcoholics Anonymous®
We bookend when we talk to other CLA members before and after taking difficult steps in our recovery. This way we can hold ourselves accountable for completing a specific task or project.
CLA member and helpmate in recovery. We may call buddies with our daily plan, or ask for help with a project.
CLutterers Anonymous
CLA-approved literature
  • CLA Literature: Literature written by and for CLA members and approved by WSO for use in recovery. Includes nine recovery leaflets, one leaflet for professionals, one newcomer booklet, and the CLA Meeting Starter Kit
  • A.A.® Literature: Includes Alcoholics Anonymous® (The Big Book®) and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (The 12 & 12)
CLA meeting directory
Listing of all CLA meetings
CLA’s quarterly newsletter written by and for CLA members
CLA Meeting Starter Kit
Contains sample meeting formats, documents, and literature used to start a CLA recovery meeting
closed meeting
A gathering of two or more clutterers where only clutterers are invited
Clutter is anything we don’t need, want, or use that takes our time, energy, or space and destroys our serenity.
Clutter-Free Day (CFD)
Day-long, regional recovery event that consists of CLA speakers, workshops, and fellowship
A person who struggles with having physical or nonphysical excess. Many clutterers may have difficulty with organization or have a tendency to procrastinate.
Creating or adding to physical or nonphysical clutter
Two-day recovery event that consists of CLA speakers, panels, workshops, recovery meetings, fellowship, some meals, and entertainment
Verbalization that includes: 1) advice-giving, criticizing, or making comments about what others have already shared, 2) questioning or interrupting, 3) talking while someone is sharing, or 4) speaking directly to another person rather than to the group. Crosstalk is discouraged during meetings.
Reducing or eliminating clutter
Event that takes place on a Phone Activity Session phone line where clutterers share their decluttering actions. There may also be speakers, goal setting, progress reporting, etc. See CLA Declutterthon.
delegate (noun)
Elected group member who 1) serves as a liaison between his or her home group and WSO by communicating information between both and 2) represents the group’s conscience at WSO
We provide a place for our possessions and return them there. We create a home for anything before bringing it in. When we add a new item, we release an old one. For accessibility, beauty, and peace of mind, we keep some empty space.
Executive Committee
The Executive Committee consists of WSO officers, committee chairpersons, and intergroup chairpersons. The purpose of the Executive Committee is to address specific concerns critical to the functioning of CLA.
Experience, Strength, and Hope (ESH)
What it was like before our recovery from clutter, how CLA helped us, and where we are now
Socializing with other clutterers
The Fellowship
The members of Clutterers Anonymous℠ as a whole
Our goal is to do one thing at a time.
format (noun)
Written and timed script for facilitating a CLA meeting
goat path
Narrow trail through piles of clutter
group (noun)
A CLA recovery meeting. Both recovery and business meetings are considered meetings, but only recovery meetings are referred to as groups.
Higher Power (H.P.)
Any power greater than oneself. (Some people prefer to use this term instead of “God.”)
A clutterer who excessively collects objects and/or animals, resulting in nonfunctional or unsafe living conditions for themselves or others
Excessive collection and retention of things until they interfere with personal effectiveness
home group
A single CLA group that you attend regularly and where you feel connected and comfortable.
Grouping of CLA meetings in a limited geographical area
meeting (recovery meeting)
A meeting is formed when two or more clutterers gather together to share their experience, strength, and hope, so that they may solve their common problem and help each other to recover from cluttering, using the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of CLA.
meetings, face-to-face
Meetings held in a physical location
meetings, phone
Meetings held on the telephone using a conference line
Newcomer’s Guide
Common name for CLA’s 28-page booklet “Is CLA for You? A Newcomer’s Guide to Recovery”
open lines
Telephone action lines between scheduled activity sessions
open meeting
A gathering of two or more clutterers where everyone, including non-clutterers, is welcome
Expected and enforced guidelines for behavior for a meeting or activity session
A CLA speaker’s detailed description of his/her experience, strength, and hope with recovery from cluttering
The process by which CLA groups register meeting and contact changes and additions with WSO. Yearly registration is required in order to be listed on the CLA Meeting Directory. WSO delegates from meetings are required to register as well.
Giving back to the Fellowship to enhance our own recovery (There are many ways to be of service, for example: at meetings, as a sponsor, at the WSO level.)
share (noun)
A CLA member’s brief description of his/her experience, strength, and hope with clutter
speaker’s meeting
A gathering of two or more clutterers at which one or more CLA members describe at some length their experience, strength, and hope with clutter and recovery
spiritual timer
A meeting volunteer who tracks and informs speakers of elapsed time
Clutterer who receives guidance from a sponsor in working the 12 Steps of CLA.
The CLA sponsor guides the sponsee through the program and the 12 Steps and is not necessarily a friend, but someone in whom we can confide.
Starter Kit
See CLA Meeting Starter Kit.
The 12 Steps of CLA.
We keep only those items we use and for which we have space.
The CLA Tools of Recovery
The 12 Traditions of CLA
We simplify our lives, believing that when we need a fact or an item, it will be available to us.
Clutterers Anonymous World Service Organization, Inc. (CLA WSO). CLA WSO is the corporate structure responsible for producing and mailing out literature; maintaining the CLA website; answering phone, email, and postal correspondence; support and communication among CLA groups; furthering communication among groups; and making decisions which affect the CLA Fellowship as a whole. All CLA members may attend and participate in CLA WSO General Meetings. Voting members include elected delegates from meetings, CLA WSO officers, CLA WSO committee chairpersons, and intergroup chairpersons.

A.A. and The Big Book are registered trademarks of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.