Over the 18 years I’ve been working as a professional organizer I have learned that clutter is information. It tells the truth about aspects of a person’s life.
Some of the things I’ve learned from clutter are:
- this person has too many balls in the air, and the maintaining a neat, clutter-free and organized home is one of the balls that often gets dropped
- this person spends all their mental and energy at work, and upon arriving home drops everything and hits the sofa
- this person doesn’t make time to maintain an organized home
- this person does not have the habit of putting things away
- this person hates to cook
- this person really loves clothes
- this person has difficulty finishing tasks
- this person is really into disaster preparedness
- this person is an artist
- this person is committed to animal rescue
- this person loves the beach
- this person is a big reader
- this person has great difficulty making decisions
- this person has no idea how to clear clutter
- this person wants to be organized (has lots of organizing books)
- this person loves color and beauty
- this person hates doing laundry
- this person is very sentimental
- this person gets overwhelmed easily
- this person may have ADHD
- this person wants to scrapbook, but can’t get started
I could go on and on. The content of your clutter and the state of your clutter tell your story. That’s part of why I love my work. I look beyond the messiness and look at the clutter with curiosity. I ask myself, “What is this clutter telling me about this person?” I really enjoy deciphering the clutter to learn more about a person’s current reality and quite possibly their life story.
The clutter tells me much more than most people actually verbalize. That’s why I tell prospective clients not to clean up when I am going to be working with them. I tell them, “If you clean everything up I will have great difficulty determining the causes of the clutter accumulation.” When I can help clients identify the habits and behaviors that have led to their clutter problems I can then help them plan new behaviors that can prevent a meltdown of the order we establish.
What truths does your clutter tell?