Is clutter causing chaos in your life? I think it’s reasonable to say that most of us have had a messy home at one time or another. But what happens when you live in a constant state of clutter? What long-term affect does living in an environment that is out of control have on a person?
Reflecting back on her childhood, a client shared that she felt growing up with clutter all around her prevented her from feeling confident. She said she knew that when she went out, no matter how she presented herself to the outside world, when she went home, the clutter, or as she referred to it, that crazy mess, was there waiting for her.
She recalled a time when she found her artwork and school papers stuffed into the kitchen cabinets, mixed in with cookies and crackers.
When she figured, what’s the sense of holding on to this if it’s just going to be hidden away, she decided to get rid of it. But when she did, her mom got furious with her. That’s when she secretly began throwing things out.
A dynamic young woman, in one of my support groups, expressed how she felt clutter was a barrier for a budding relationship she had during college. Fearful what her boyfriend might think of her messy apartment, she could not find the courage to ever invite him over. Never telling him the truth about her clutter, she just kept making up excuses until they eventually went their separate ways. She now recognizes that this may have sent a message to her potential partner that she was not interested in getting close. After all these years she confesses the clutter still has an impact on her.
Many people equate their clutter with feelings of embarrassment and shame. They tell me they feel as if they are harboring a huge secret and find it difficult to tell anyone, especially their friends. In some instances, they feel like they are letting their friends down when they are not able to reciprocate invitations to their home because of the clutter. This causes them to feel bad about themselves because they think they are always taking and not giving in return.
A spouse/partner or child may feel endlessly frustrated and resentful for having to live in a cluttered environment that is not by their choice. They can experience ambivalent feelings towards their loved ones and have a difficult time addressing some of these issues, especially if the person is very protective of their clutter.
The above examples showcase how clutter compromises relationships and can have lasting affects without the proper communication. If we want to change the influence that clutter has, it is extremely important that we bridge this gap. There are many aspects of clutter that need to be addressed for resolution. We need to look not only at the manifestation but the core issues surrounding it.
If you, or someone you know is affected by chronic disorganization or hoarding, there are various organizations and support groups that can offer insight and guidance on this subject matter. You can also reach out to a professional organizer, coach or mental health professional for help.
Patricia Diesel is a Life Recovery Coach and Professional Organizer dedicated to bringing herskill, inspiration and encouragement to those
who want to regain hope and enhance the quality of their life. She conveys her life transforming lessons through her travels, speaking engagements and media appearances, including GMA, Lifetime & TLC. She has helped countless individuals restore tranquility and sense to their lives. To learn more about Patricia, visit www.keepitsimplenow.com or you can contact her directly at 908-642-1226.