New Year, New You

Local experts share tips for decluttering your life and inspiring positive change

By Laura DeSisto | Photography by Kris Hughes

Each year, when the calendar flips to January, many people make resolutions to start fresh—to lose weight, kick a bad habit or finally tackle that mountain of stuff in the basement or attic. Unfortunately, statistics show that few people keep these commitments. We asked three South Shore residents to lend some expert advice, structure and accountability. With their guidance, this could be the year you beat the odds and turn those New Year’s resolutions into lasting change.


For the last 17 years, Cohasset resident Molly McGowan (aka “The Clutter Coach”) has been helping South Shore residents clean out and organize their homes.

“In theory, this is something that anyone can do on their own,” says McGowan. “The reality is that the clutter and disarray often builds up to the point where people literally feel paralyzed. I help them get ‘unstuck’ and once we get going, the organizing process becomes contagious.”

McGowan utilizes a simple, three step process for every room in the house: throw away, give away and put away. “Once you throw away and give away the items that you don’t use or love, the key is to put away the remainder in a very organized fashion,” she says. “And that often includes the use of clear plastic containers and labeling everything so that even the young ones in your house have no excuse but to put things back where they belong.”

While working with clients, McGowan is fond of repeating mantras such as like goes with like. “You can’t imagine the number of times I go into homes and the coffee cups are in a cabinet that is literally the furthest away from the coffee maker,” she says. Another one of McGowan’s favorite sayings is one in, one out. “It’s ok to go to HomeGoods and get new throw pillows, but you better give away the old ones or you will soon have a mountain of stuff,” she says.

McGowan has many repeat customers who value the positive changes she helps them to make not just in their homes, but also in their lives.

“What I have noticed since working with Molly is that we spend much less time trying to find things and therefore we have more quality time with our family,” says Dede Kelly of Scituate.

More info on instagram, @mollythecluttercoach



After working in the healthcare field for more than 15 years, Anne Dwyer of Hingham was in her late 30s when she began having health issues of her own.

“I was getting nowhere with traditional medicine so I started looking into alternatives and eventually was able to heal myself by modifying my diet and making simple lifestyle changes,” says Dwyer. 

Determined to help others experience better health, Dwyer went back to school and got certified in health coaching through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and went on to establish the wellness business Health & Harmony.

For the past five years, Dwyer has helped hundreds of South Shore residents find their own path to wellness through both individual consultations and her very popular group detox sessions.

“Throughout the year I offer a 5-day cleanse, a 10-day sugar detox and a 21-day lifestyle change. I start with a teleconference to go over the plan and then I support the whole group through a private Facebook page, individual phone sessions and daily emails,” says Dwyer. “My plans include delicious recipes and a detox goody bag and are a very affordable way to quickly reset your health. For those who need more one-on-one support, I offer three month and six month plans.”

Dwyer’s detoxes eliminate the most common ingredients that trigger inflammation and fatigue:  gluten, dairy, corn, sugar and alcohol. “Most people report that they lose weight, have more energy, less brain fog, better sleep and less bloating,” she says.

When the detox is over, if clients begin experiencing any of these symptoms again, Dwyer will refer them to a colleague who conducts food sensitivity testing. “It’s amazing the number of people who are walking around with hidden food allergies or sensitivities,” she says. “Eliminating these foods is often life-changing.”

In addition to diet changes, Dwyer recommends that clients frequently engage in other “detoxing” activities such as yin yoga, massage and acupuncture. She is also a fan of infrared saunas, which she says can help to pull toxins and heavy metals out of your system. “Think of it as an oil change for your body,” she says. One of these saunas is available at Hullistic Health in Hull where Dwyer keeps office hours three days a week. More info at



In 1992, author Julia Cameron published “The Artist’s Way,” a self-help book, that quickly became a bestseller and inspired creativity workshops and classes to spring up around the country. South Shore resident Margot Cheel discovered the book 20 years ago and put together a 12-week course that she has been leading locally ever since.

“The course is about taking stock of your life, uncovering long forgotten dreams and gathering the courage to make changes, large and small,” says Cheel. “The approach is very creative and that is where the ‘artistic’ part comes in. The groups tend to be very lively and we have a lot of fun.”

Over the last several years, Cheel has kept the same framework, but has begun using other books as the text for the class. Most recently, she has led a class inspired by the book “Your Spacious Self” by Stephanie Bennett Vogt. “The book focuses on clearing the clutter in your mind, surroundings and relationships and letting go of long-held beliefs that no longer serve you so as to open up to new perspectives and possibilities,” says Cheel. While it is easy to live your life on autopilot, the course allows participants to take a step back to see what is and isn’t working.

“I have led hundreds of people through the course and I feel truly privileged to have witnessed remarkable transformations, including one person who quit her corporate job to lead outdoor skills programs,” she says.

The course also inspired Cheel to make some bold decisions. “As a result of taking the course, I began flying in small airplanes and eventually got my pilot’s license and became an aerial photographer,” she says. Cheel plans to conduct another 12-week session utilizing “Your Spacious Self” in the spring. More info at

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