Why the Clutter?

Do you ever wonder why you can’t seem to keep things in order? Maybe you stay up until 3 a.m. for a couple of nights in a row and completely reorganize your office or closet, but then, a few days … weeks … months later, it’s right back to where it was before. Here are a few ideas that might strike a chord …

The reasons you still have clutter despite your best efforts

  • You may be angry toward someone or something in your life. It often seems easier to “pad” the feeling with food, clutter, debt or procrastination than it is to actually face the discomfort of realizing you may have to make a radical change.What to do? Try any kind of therapy that has worked for you in the past: talking with a friend or therapist, writing, deep body work, etc. Just get those feelings OUT so they won’t have to end up in screaming piles around your house making you feel embarrassed, isolated or alienated from your friends and family, not to mention cause you to lose time, money and energy.
  • Unspoken resentment is a killer. It sits inside, seething, taxing your nervous system, sabotaging your efforts and relationships, and often causes an overwhelming feeling of living in chaos. Mental clutter is more insidious and every bit as damaging as physical clutter, in fact more so. There is hope, and acknowledging the issue is a giant first step.What to do? Why not try forgiveness? The secret to forgiveness: start with yourself. Easier said then done, but for deep change to happen, you must slow down and go within. Let those tears fall, because resentment is often related to the next option.
  • You’re grieving the loss of something. This can be the loss of a person, a time in your life, a situation, even a feeling. People often use clutter to insulate themselves from grief. There is nothing wrong with grieving … but it must be done in its own time.What to do? See if you can’t touch those deep feelings by writing or talking with someone you trust. Allow yourself those long-buried tears. Releasing them not only feels good, it gets the energy moving and helps you get unstuck from old, heavy thoughts and feelings. NOTE: this step can’t be done before its time. When you are ready, go for it, but don’t try and force it.
  • Feeling rebellious? Sometimes when we feel as if a parent, spouse, boss or other perceived “authority figure” has more control over us than we like, we use clutter as an excuse not to stand up for ourselves. We make a mess knowing we know will anger the person we are rebelling against, but it backfires and we are the ones who are most affected by the disorder. There are better ways to speak your peace than through clutter and disarray!What to do? Get honest with yourself. It’s not fun to grow up and take responsibility for yourself, but it’s something we all have to do eventually. Once you take a good look at the way you react in your life, you can choose a different response, one that makes you feel truly empowered, rather than by indirect means. You no longer have to stay the victim, unless you chose to. In the long run, it feels a lot better. I promise.
  • Are you feeling lonely? Loneliness is not the same thing as choosing to be alone; it’s more of a mindset. Often times, people try and fill the void inside with behaviors like shopping or anesthetizing themselves with food, alcohol, T.V. watching or chronic clutter. As you well know, these tricks don’t really work, in fact most of the time, they make matters worse, isolating you further and settling you into a comfort zone difficult to escape.What to do? Make a commitment to yourself to get out of your own way. Try an activity or event out of your usual routine. Yes, you may feel uneasy at first, but if you really get involved, the discomfort will melt away and you may even find friends you enjoy being with! See your clutter for what it is … stuck energy draining, rather than energizing, you. Ask yourself, “is it worth it?” and then listen to what comes up.

In short, clutter is always about keeping away what you really want. Ironic, isn’t it? When you think how attached you are to your stuff and then realize it’s stealing from your life rather than getting you closer to your goals, it just doesn’t make sense. It takes a lot of courage to face the wall of feelings, but once you get started, you are claiming your life and your space in a way you could never imagine when you are held hostage.

Duquette is a professional organizer and author at www.It’sNotAboutYourStuff.com, a lifestyle blog offering strategies to get your life flowing smoothly. To contact Jessica and the organizing team at In Perfect Order for phone coaching or organizing help anywhere in the U.S. and Canada, please visit: www.inperfectorder.com or by phone: 310.455.0627.

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