Clutter is that which creates stress for you because of its overabundance. There is physical clutter, but also mental, spiritual and emotional clutter. It is not unusual for them to go hand-in-hand.
Clutter need be judged only in terms of how good or how bad it makes you feel. Often one holds on to clutter with the mistaken belief it offers them comfort or security. Yet, that is rarely the case.
Some people want to let go of the clutter, but find that they can’t. They fear being judged as lazy or incompetent, but that is generally not the case. People cling to clutter for varied reasons, which are often unclear to themselves. A psychotherapist can help uncover these issues and free you from their control. A professional organizer can help implement a decluttering and reorganizing process. Clutter To Comfort offers both.
Levels of clutter range from mild to severe, just as the impacts of cluttering can range from mild to severe:
The stressors endured by people living with clutter affect relationships, health, performance and life satisfaction. The extent of stress faced can become the motivation for change.
Change, however, is not without stress itself. People often don’t know how or where to begin. Decluttering can be a challenge, emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. This is especially true when one feels a sense of pressure from others to declutter.
Clutterers initially may have great difficulty parting with their “junk” (as perhaps perceived of by others, but which for them may be “treasures”). This often comes in the form of denial, when the clutterer refuses to “see” the problem. They may get quite angry and agitated at another’s insistence on confronting the problem and expectations that they must change. It can feel frightening to face.
When a decluttering process begins, the clutterer may initially seem cooperative, but that can change as they begin to feel great discomfort seeing their possessions being disposed of. This is when many of the underlying emotional issues which caused the clutter problem in the first place begin to arise. The clutterer may try to bargain and justify. It is not uncommon for anxiety and depression to peak at this point, not only for the clutterer, but for loved ones as well. Instead of giving up out of frustration, it is helpful to seek professional guidance to work through this stage.
It is very important to gently acknowledge the clutterer’s feelings and gently affirm their ability to create a more pleasing environment for themselves. It becomes important at this stage to remind the person what their motivation is and what their ultimate wish is for using the space.
Decluttering is done in stages and these stages are determined by the style of the clutterer and their individual needs. The first step is to do an assessment. This includes a walk-through of the area, and getting the client’s perspective on what change is desired. Questions and concerns are addressed, including time frames and costs. Assessment includes finding out what is working and what is not working; what the client likes and wants; and what the client fears and doesn’t want. The next stage involves making a general plan and making sure everyone involved is on board.
Generally the work or implementation stages include: clearing out the clutter and determining what will be kept and what will go; cleaning the space; and making the space suit the needs of its occupants. Decisions are made regarding what to do with the items no longer needed and those decisions are followed through on. Information is provided on how to prevent the clutter from recurring and follow-up appointments can be scheduled to assist in making sure that the new patterns of behavior are reinforced.
The sorting process is often the most challenging. Depending on the clutterer’s style, sorting can be done in as few as three steps (keep, toss, donate) or as many as a dozen: keep (as is, clean first, repair first); sell (garage sale, advertise using print media, advertise online, consignment); garbage (recycle, trash); return (to the store, library or another person); donate (to the charity of one’s choice); or “just can’t decide.”
Decluttering is a process of welcoming a new sense of simplicity into your life. Simplicity as a value recognizes that placing importance on quality trumps placing importance on quantity. It is a mental shift, that requires an emotional and behavioral shift as well. Although initially it may not be easy to put into practice, as with many things, it does become easier with time. With the implementation of a cleaner, clearer environment, we come to realize our inner self feels cleaner and clearer also. We begin to see that true abundance lies in those things unseen, but rather, felt. True abundance is not about accumulations, but rather contentment. Clutter To Comfort is about helping you seek what brings you true contentment.