Some of us, even as we profess a need to “get my act together,” are actually afraid of getting organized. These fears include:
1. Doing it “wrong.” Perhaps we grew up in a home with a perfectionist parent who insisted that there was one right way, right tool, right time for organizing, cleaning, and everything else. We may have been told, “If you can’t do it right, don’t do it at all;” so we don’t do anything about our chaos because we are uncertain what the “right” way is.
2. Being consumed. We’ve tried to be organized in the past and it took all our time just to put things in order. We don’t want to become obsessive about neatness, but that seems to be the only alternative to chaos.
3. Losing our identity. Many of us have cluttered homes and offices because we identify ourselves by the things around us. Knitting or sewing supplies reflect our desire to create special garments for our loved ones; stacks of books about starting a business tell us that we want to do something extraordinary for the community; canning jars show that we want to be thrifty; boxes of photographs, college papers and memorabilia remind us of the places we’ve been, the things we’ve done in the past.
4. Success. As long as we stay in “someday I’m going to…” mode, we don’t have to prove ourselves. The disorder around us is actually a sanctuary from having to make a go of a particular dream.
5. This is who I really am. It’s not unusual for someone frustrated by their own inability to overcome disorder to sound like an alcoholic in denial: “I can get organized anytime I want! I just don’t want to right now…” Deep down, there is a concern that they are out of control and unable to conquer the problem on their own. Admitting this is akin to confessing failure as a person, rather than realizing that everyone needs a boost now and then.
Living in chaos and disorder keeps us stuck in our fears. As one who dealt with these fears myself, I can attest to the freedom that comes from conquering them. What fears keep you trapped in clutter? Let us know in the comments section!
Brenda Spandrio, The Declutter Lady
I’ve taken an actual psychological test that said I’m a perfectionist and I’m convinced that’s true, but I think at least part of what’s slowed down my decluttering process is another source of fear. While I’m cluttered, I always have something on my plate, I know there’s always something I have to do., but what about afterward? I’m afraid my life will be empty, that I’ll have no goals and won’t know what to do with myself.
Brenda Spandrio says
I had those same fears. In fact, when I finally did get my home decluttered and organized, I did have that “now what?” feeling. I ended up starting a business!
What are your dreams that have been put on hold because of clutter and chaos? Are you an aspiring artist, writer, business woman? Do you like to craft or quilt? Do you desire to be more involved in your community?
Clutter holds us back, keeps us anchored in a stagnant place. If you were free, what would you ‘want to want to do?’ That next thing could be the motivation you need to complete your decluttering project.
That said, I’m a firm believer that decluttering for people like us has to be part of our life, not the whole thing. So what activity can you take on and still do your daily decluttering tasks?
Hope this helps!
kim gay says
what a window into my life growing up. i have always wondered why i could be such a perfectionist on the inside but be surrounding my self and creating it chaos and disorganation at the same time. the aniexty,stress and inability to sometimes make adecision stands in the way. i would love to have you contact me. i think i need your personal help. thank you so very very much. savannah ga
Hi, Kim: We do a lot of “virtual” work and I would love to discuss how that works. email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.