I’m not a fan of the word “clutter.” Or even “declutter.”
When someone uses the word about my stuff, I feel judgment. My stuff is in the way and not worth much — those things I bought or loved or shared with family at one time.
When I call my things “clutter,” it doesn’t feel much better at all.Here, it’s a black cloud spewing a rainstorm of “should’s.”
Worse yet, what happens when my “clutter” keeps coming back? Why is that and what can I do about it? Let the sunshine in, and for goodness sake, let’s get it to stay awhile.
This is one of the most difficult questions for organizers as we work with each individual client. Each of us is wired differently. The ability to really tune into the client is key. It’ s not about rearranging and reorganizing the stuff.
Reorganize all you want; it’s not going to matter one whit if it all returns, is it?. But why does this happen when people work on their own – or more importantly, what can we do to prevent the return of the stuff?
Here’s a key question to consider if you’re someone whose stuff won’t stay under control. Reflect on this. It won’t be a quick answer.
What will you be able to do with your life ? Who will you be?
Don’t answer with “not buy duplicates,” or “have more time,” or “find things more easily.”
Go one level deeper. Journal it. Talk to a friend. Talk to an organizer who has the right skills and fit for you. Go away for a retreat and think about it. Go walking and reflect.
The level deeper could sound like this. These are real life examples of clients who have answered this question for themselves, either before they call me, or as we begin working together, when I ask them this question. They begin this reflection and the answers unfold as the days go by. It is a powerful exercise.
I want my house/time/space/stuff/papers more organized, so that ….
- I’ll have more time with my singing group. Creativity is important to me and I haven’t made time for this, for me.
- I’ll be a better role model for my daughter. (Organizing skills are for life, not just our stuff, right?)
- I can have space to work on a new hobby I’ve started. My children are grown. I have the freedom to create my next chapter.
- I can create my new business I’ve been dreaming about.
- I’ll have space to write my book. I know I have a book in me. But how can I take time to be creative when things are not under control.
- I can have more fun with my grandchildren.
- I’ll feel more in control of my whole life. I’m tired of running. That’s not how I want my life to feel.
- I won’t feel guilty about working on my own hobbies or going out for fun. I’m looking forward to what’s next.
- My partner and I can stop arguing about the stuff and enjoy our time together. Time is precious. We waste a lot of energy on this. I want more time together, good time.
Once you do this deeper level of thinking, you’ll be inspired. You’ll have internal rewards that will spur you on at each step. (Internal rewards are more effective than external.)
If it’s too much for you, or you’re having a hard time letting go of the past, if you are stuck or don’t know where to begin this thinking process, who could help you talk it through? Looking to your past, you can talk with a therapist. Looking to your future, you can talk with a life coach. Great ones are worth finding. Make a difference in your life.