Beneath the clutter and the process of sorting out the collected mess in people’s homes lies the real truth of why people live with disorganization. Truthfully, this sort of chaos doesn’t happen overnight-it builds over time, whether through neglect, indifference or not having the time to deal with the surmounting piles of mail, paper, clothes or general clutter on tables, floors and drawers.
Mostly, disorganization is the symptom and result of the problem & not entirely the problem itself (though it certainly can become a significant issue). Underneath those piles lies the real root of your disorganization, which is the ability to address & handle those messes and, more to the point, what those piles represent in your life.
Dana Claudat wrote a fantastic article for the Mind Body Green blog on what the mess in your home means, and how dealing with it isn’t just addressing the mess, but allowing yourself the opportunity to examine what it represents in your emotional life & to foster growth from the chaos of clutter.
Whenever I encounter a home or a whole life that is entrenched in clutter, I feel very excited.
Why get so psyched over a huge mess?
That clutter is like a roadmap. It’s a huge opportunity to grow and change, whether your clutter is piled up, stuffed in drawers, splayed all over desktops and digitally dispersed.
Clutter doesn’t just happen. Clutter builds for many reasons.
A few big emotional reasons clutter can build into a mountain:
- Low self esteem and self-destructive behavior
- Lack of structure
- Shock or grief that’s never been handled
- Fear of failure or success
- Lack of focus
- Draining relationships
And the list goes on.
Do you know what’s hiding beneath your clutter?
The wild thing about clearing clutter is that in the excavation of the mountain of mess, the emotional patterns tend to unwind as the piles shrink and clear space is created. Even if you don’t know when or how it began, as you clean up your space you’re likely to find many other things shift around you in your life.
A woman messaged me recently in the middle of her own clutter clearing. She was suddenly hit with a wave of panic as she de-cluttered her home in the midst of a huge life transition. She told me that she felt she had to stop the clutter clearing because it seemed like her life was spinning out of control.
When she pushed forward, despite the wave of anxiety, she finally found a calm she’s never experienced before.
Another professional organizer sent me a note to say that it felt like her life was blowing up (things broken, weird drama) as she cleared clutter in her own home. When she was able to get to the other side of the mess, everything around her settled into peace
I’ve realized the same for myself.
The emotions stuffed away in those drawers, woven into those bad habits, piled up in closets … they don’t always elegantly unfold and get sorted into bins and baskets. Sometimes they blow up in chaos and catch you unaware and tempt you to abandon your clutter-clearing mission.
Ironically, when all sorts of seemingly unrelated chaos and heavy emotions pop up while creating order, this is how I know that the clutter clearing is really working!
If you’ve ever done a juice cleanse or switched your diet for health reasons you’re probably aware of the detox phenomenon where things get seemingly worse before they get better. No one expects to get a cold when they switch to a healthier way of eating but it sometimes happens as part of the process.
The same goes for you and your clutter. The clearing of stagnant stuff you don’t need is a detox for your home, so don’t get scared by the temporary chaos that might pop up.
Yes: a little turbulence is a sign that you are making some big headway in truly de-cluttering your home and your life.
The opportunities that come from getting to the other side of your mess are huge.
I’ve seen people make tons of money after de-cluttering their finances or their office, relationships bloom once the weight of the past was dealt with both physically and mentally in the process of clearing clutter and have even had clients report huge weight loss following a big closet clearing. I’ve seen allergies improve, energy levels soar, confidence and radiance go through the roof.
So what opportunity can your clutter bring you?
Dare to get to the other side, and you might be astonished.