When I walk into a chaotic environment I listen for clues from my client about what may have
caused the chaos. Some people have always struggled to get and stay organized. They are affectionately referred to as “chronically disorganized” by professional organizers nationwide. Despite all their efforts they cannot stay organized. Those clients usually tell me that they have struggled with disorganization for as long as they can remember.
There are some people, however, who at one time in their lives were organized and able to maintain organized spaces at home and at work. When I learn that a client was once organized and has since gone downhill, I seek to identify what threw him or her off course. Following is a list of the disrupting events that can turn a person’s life upside down, making it very hard to maintain order in their lives:
- physical illness
- mental illness–particularly depression
- illness in a family member
- death of a loved one
- caregiving for an ailing parent
- home renovation
- frequent travel
- getting married
- birth of a child
- changing jobs
- losing a job
Any of the above events or issues takes either an emotional or physical toll or both that is above and beyond what is experienced in normal every day life. Since you have energy limits, any one of those disrupting events can eat energy that would ordinarily have been allocated to tending to your home, your papers, your things, and the variety of chores that you do to stay organized.
It’s normal for people to do what is easiest in times of high stress just to survive. Paper and disorder can back up at those times because tending to them doesn’t seem as important as surviving the difficult time. But, you may want to remember that your space also affects your energy. Disorganized, chaotic spaces are loaded with negative energy. Exposing yourself to that energy will only deplete your energy all the more making it much harder to muster the energy and motivation to dig out once the current storm has passed.
Once you are on the other side of a difficult time, you may find you have a nightmare on your hands — clutter and chaos that are overwhelming and not easily addressed because of the size of the challenge. You’ll be depleted from your ordeal and further depleted by the negative energy in your space.
If you find yourself experiencing any of the disruption I’ve described above, it is important to remain conscious of your space even if you don’t have time to keep up as you normally would. Avoid the inclination to just let go and let chaos reign. Make yourself take as little as 5 minutes a day to clear clutter and maintain order. Doing a little clearing and organizing on a regular basis could save you from a nightmare of your own creation. If despite your best intentions you are unable to maintain a basic order, ask for help from family and friends, people who likely want to help you through a difficult time.
Ask for help and save yourself!