Choose A New Perspective About Clutter

My guess is that most people have the perspective that clutter is an indication of a failing of

The truth: I drop things on this counter that belong elsewhere. I avoid moving them because it takes effort, takes me out of the kitchen, or with all the clutter I don't even see them anymore.

The truth: I drop things on this counter that belong elsewhere because it’s easy to do and provides relief in the moment. I avoid moving them because it takes effort, it takes me out of the kitchen, it requires that I make a decision about where things should go or with all the clutter I don’t even see them anymore.

some sort, a reflection that they have let things slide, have lost control, and/or have not been conscientious about maintaining order in their space. Clutter = negative reflection of you. With that type of energy draining perspective, is it any wonder that clearing clutter is a much procrastinated task? I have another perspective to offer, one that is more neutral and more interesting.

Clutter = information. Clutter tells the truth about what’s going on with you and your life. When I clear clutter I learn many things about my clients. I learn what they love, where their life journey has taken them, what they procrastinate doing, and where they are challenged in their lives. You have a choice to beat yourself up about having clutter or you can look at it and ask, “What does this clutter indicate about me and my life? What are the truths I have been avoiding or unconscious of that I would benefit from facing?”

Now, some people will automatically go to the easy, automatic answers when searching for the truth. “I’m lazy.” “I’m just a slob.” “I don’t have time.” However, the truth is usually much more complicated that that. Following are some of the truths that clutter indicates:

  • I have attention deficit disorder and executive function deficits make getting and staying organized hard if not impossible.
  • I went through a rough patch when caring for my elderly parents and wasn’t able to keep up with everything.
  • I get bored easily and putting things away and cleaning up on a regular basis are boring.
  • I have difficulty getting rid of things.
  • I have a buying addiction. More things come into my house than go out.
  • I don’t know where to start clearing and how to do it.
  • I feel totally overwhelmed when I look at the clutter and my brain freezes when I look at it.
  • There are many things here that don’t belong to me, and I’m angry about having to deal with other people’s stuff.
  • I have difficulty making decisions, and there are so many decisions to make when clutter clearing.
  • I love my stuff and don’t want to get rid of anything.
  • I’m afraid I’ll make a mistake when I clear clutter and then I’ll be upset.
  • I love ____________ . Fill in the blank with whatever you have accumulated because you love it. A person who loves horses might have horse statues, pictures of horses, medals from horse shows, etc.
  • I’m stuck and don’t know how to get moving.
  • I’m afraid if I clear clutter I won’t like what I find out about myself.
  • I’m afraid of change. 

I could go on and on about what clutter communicates. The possibilities are endless.

Imagine what it would be like if you approached your clutter from a neutral position, with curiosity about what you can learn about yourself and your reality. Sure, you may have to face some truths you don’t like, but they won’t harm you as much as a negative perspective that keeps you stuck in self-judgment, feeling like a slacker, a loser or worse. Negative perspectives keep you stuck. A neutral or positive perspective creates the possibility for progress and forward movement.

You have a choice: see clutter as a failing, an indication of character defects or see clutter as information that you can use to problem solve your clutter challenges. Face your truths without judgment, and you’ll find yourself empowered to identify resources for help and/or take action.

What truths does your clutter tell? How can you use that information to motivate you to tackle your clutter or get help to bite the clutter clearing bullet?