Why People Can’t Clear Clutter on Their Own

Scanned Image 102540058I don’t get mad very often, but one thing that really frosts me is when husbands deter wives from getting help for clutter clearing because they think their wives SHOULD be able to do it on their own. I can easily say in the 15 years I’ve worked as a professional organizer, I’ve never heard of a wife doing that with her husband. When husbands want to get help, most wives usually cheer them on, grateful that some task will be completed with that help.

It’s easy for a husband, who has an assistant, support staff and a wife at home to take care of his clutter, to decree that his wife should be able to dismantle many years worth of accumulation of stuff. But, I view that type of response by a husband as a sad statement of how little he understands the complexity of clutter clearing, how little he knows about his wife, and how little he is willing to extend himself to understand his wife’s needs and support her in her efforts at self-improvement.

As a result of my last experience of being angered by the actions of a thoughtless husband, I came up with this list of some of the reasons why some people can’t clear clutter on their own. 

  • They have difficulty making decisions, and there are so many decisions to be made when clearing clutter.
  •  They don’t know where to start or how to start because the energy of the stuff is so overwhelming it shuts down their thinking.
  • The quantity of clutter overwhelms them.
  •  The type of clutter overwhelms them (especially paper and little stuff).
  • They don’t know how to sort items by category to be able to create a new order.
  • They don’t know what to do with the stuff they keep and/or the stuff they are getting rid of.
  • The condition of their environment embarrasses them, and touching the stuff stirs uncomfortable feelings of regret that they let their space get into such a state, and shame about themselves for not having done things differently.
  • They shut down because there are items mixed into the clutter that stir painful feelings of grief, loss or failure.
  •  The quantity of clutter is too much for one person to deal with all alone.
  •  They don’t knowing effective strategies for avoiding overwhelm and maximizing the probability that they’ll experience success.
  • They have a brain-based condition like ADD, anxiety or depression that makes taking action and completing tasks difficult.

I could go on and on. Clearing clutter, especially clutter that has accumulated over years is no small feat. It is a complex process that has physical, mental and emotional components. When a person asks for help to clear clutter, they really need it!