I recently spoke with a woman who was looking to clear her small home of clutter. She kept telling me that she was just too busy. And, then said that she would have to maintain it. Well, of course. I thought. Spending time and money having a professional organizer to set up goals for every room in the house and you don't want to maintain it seems uneffective.
She continued to say that her aunt and brother wouldn't help her because they thought she was too messy and would never keep it organized. If you know people who are chronically disorganized, please don't ever say this to them. These days, there are so many ways, sites to visit, like this one, and communities that can help a person with his or her disorganization. By saying that they will never keep it organized, you will stop them in their tracks and they will always remember that statement when they want to make a change.
After expressing her situation, I asked, "Let's put aside what your family is telling you. Do you want to get your home organized and feel more in control of your life?" She said, "Yes". "Well, then let's stop listening to the doubters and start from the beginning," I said.
I told her she needed to start small and stop worrying about how to get the entire project completed. Adding a recurring appointment (with an alarm) for each week to her electronic calendar works well to start the project. I like Sunday afternoons (between 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM) because people have usually done everything they needed to do over the weekend and they have a few hours before they start preparing dinner and for the next day.
When the day comes, I told her, allocate a few hours at first, clearing out the clutter in a main area of the home, like your living room or kitchen. Each week, add a few more hours till you get to about a 4-hour time slot. In four hours, you can dismantle an area and reorganize it completely.
When picking an area of the home, start with the main areas that others will see because 1. you will be able to see the results and how you feel about the uncluttered space, which in turn will reinforce positive behavior; and 2. You will show your family that you can clear clutter on your own and keep it that way.
I explained to her that clutter doesn't happen overnight. So, it will take time. We collect things over years so accept that it will take the time to move forward and clear the space.
After we finished the conversation, she was calmer and more motivated to do something about her space. She didn't need to listen to her family anymore and be a defeatist. She also realized that it was the time constraint not her being messy that was the real issue.
"Clutter is a cry for help. There is always something else that gets the person to the point where their home becomes a mess.
They just need help, not criticism."
~ Sabrina M. Quairoli
The take away:
We are fearful of clearing clutter in certain areas of our homes. We don't necessarily want the clutter but we also don't know what to expect when we can't blame the cluttered space any longer.
To help you curb the fear and take action sooner, here are worry questions to ask to help you start clearing your clutter.
What is the worst thing that can happen if you got rid of this stuff?
What would I do if that happened? What would the plan be? How will I take care of me?
What can I do NOW that will help me feel more comfortable when letting go of things?
These responses are different for everyone. What were your answers to these questions? Leave a comment below.
I hope this helps you get motivated to clear the clutter in your home. And, if you need help, please contact a Professional Organizer. Don't struggle on your own. Thank you for stopping. Please share your questions and comments below.
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