At its most fundamental level clutter is not about the stuff. Like everything, there can be polar extremes but somewhere is the middle there is a healthy balance. Everyone defines for themselves what their healthy balance is.
There is nothing wrong with having nice things, there’s nothing wrong with buying and shopping, however, when it compromises your health, financial well being or your relationships, it deserves introspection.
Not everyone with clutter goes to an extreme, sometimes situational disorganization sets in for many reasons. Loss of a loved one, new baby, moving across town or across country, can get anyone off track for a while, sometimes a few years.
When clutter and disorganization take over your life, like many other addictions in our society today, shopping and collecting can create as unmanageable a life as alcoholism or gambling addiction.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Do I, or my loved ones, have to sleep somewhere besides the bed, due to clutter?
Does our family have the ability to eat dinner together at the table?
Am I suffering financially due to my need to shop?
Has my spouse or loved one moved out due to clutter in our home?
Are these easy questions? NO. Are they honest questions? YES Do they make you uncomfortable? Perhaps.
Here are the steps to consider if you’re answering YES to anything above.
1. The first step to moving through any situation where your life has become unmanageable is to be willing to look honestly at the situation. We can’t change what we don’t acknowledge…you hear Dr Phil say it all the time. Sometimes we honestly don’t see that it’s a problem because it has been the truth for so long. Take a look.
2. Get physical help. If you have situational disorganization perhaps you just need assistance getting back on track, invest in your health and well being by getting it done and reducing your stress. Get a friend or professional to help you. If you’re behind on bills due to disorganization doing away with late fees and over draft charges alone could pay for assistance from a professional organizer.
3. Get spiritual help. The need to fill a space within is often what starts the cycle, whether it’s eating, shopping or drinking, there is often a deeper spiritual need that is unmet. Take the time to begin to explore yourself and your spiritual needs.
4. Be Kind to yourself. This process doesn’t happen overnight. And it is a process. Be kind and gentle with yourself. When you ask for support be sure to engage people who will be honest yet supportive, Professional Organizers are often trained for this, be sure to ask that when you interview and organizer.
5. Begin. In martial arts it is often said that motivation follows action. When we lack direction or motivation sometimes we just have to start small, perhaps, with guidance, and the momentum will build.
It’s critical to celebrate any progress and give yourself permission to do it in your time. Don’t compare your progress to that of a half our television show that really employs 30 people and hours and hours of work.
Know that you can do it but know that as you remove the physical items you will have a spiritual reaction to the loss and absence of things. Be aware that it is necessary to take care of your spirit and refill the void of stuff with what spiritually fills you. Be cautious not to refill with more stuff.
Organizing expert Kelli Wilson works with clients at a deeper level to get to the heart of their clutter issues. The fresh perspective in her articles addresses the inside job of dealing with clutter and disorganization. With a more manageable life as the goal, Kelli guides clients through the steps to getting their life back. Kelli lives in Sacramento but works with clients all over the country. She can be reached at www.asimpleplanconsulting.com or 916/765-6104.