Stop Clutter and Organize Your Life
"“Bottom line is, if you do not use it or need it, it’s clutter, and it needs to go."
Is your house a mess? What about the car? Do you have to clear off the dining room table before guests can sit down to eat? If you have trouble finding what you need and it bothers you or others, you’ve got too much stuff and here's how to do something about it.
That’s the topic of this month newsletter: Stop Clutter And Organize Your Life.
Differences: Not everyone is upset by clutter. These are the people who know what pile to go to, to find what they need. These people can live in disarray. If you’re living alone and you're OK with the mess, this newsletter is not for you. However, most of us get bogged down by clutter, and it not only disturbs us but it causes anxiety. Hoarding can also become a compulsive behavior.
Perfectionism: Believe it or not, some hoarders are perfectionists. They try to do everything perfectly, but when they’re not, they give up. This is all or nothing thinking -- either you clean up the clutter ‘perfectly’ or not at all.
Fear:Some hoarders have this scenario “as soon as I throw something out, I’ll need it”, so they keep it – just in case. But in most cases, they won’t ever need it and if they did, they could probably buy or borrow another one.
Personalization: They attach memories or feeling to objects ex: a shirt that hasn’t been worn in 10 years can be discarded. But hoarders say “how can I give this shirt away? I wore it to my son’s graduation. I wore it to our family picnic – there are so many memories tied to this shirt” then back in the closet it goes.
Anxiety: Your environment should be peaceful, but disorganization can build anxiety. Hoarding can become a compulsive behavior.
Comfort: Most of the time, we live in a mess because there’s not enough storage space. However, if you’re comforted by clutter, the more closets or shelves you have, the more junk you will collect. Neatness might be the goal, but many people are comforted by having lots of stuff around them.
Compulsion: Can you resist buying things on sale, or passing up a good deal. You tell yourself you ‘must’ have this, or it’s such a good deal you ‘can’t resist’. If you don’t buy it, it's calls your name and to relieve the anxiety, you buy more stuff. This is like any other
Thinking: A decision process is not that difficult, so don’t make things complicated. Can you use it or not? Is it a need or a want? If you ‘think you might’ need it, you probably don’t. So keep your thinking simple and move on.
Setting Goals: Don’t be hard on yourself. The clutter didn’t develop overnight and it’s not going to instantly disappear. Analyze the problem. If you need more space, get shelves or filing cabinets. If you collect too many newspapers, throw out the old ones. It’s old news anyway and if you really want to read last months paper, it’s available on line. Set a goal for the week and work at it.
1) You don’t have to organize everything at once – a little at a time is better than nothing.
2) Don’t be afraid of throwing things out, you’ll probably never need it anyway.
3) Don’t attach memories to objects. If you must, take pictures and file them in the computer.
4) Make your home a peaceful place.
5) Create enough storage space. Add shelves and bins.
6) Don’t add to clutter by buying more unless you also throw something out or give things away.
7) Don’t make things complicated.
Change your thinking
about throwing things away.
8) Don’t be hard on yourself. Set small goals for the week and accomplish them.
You may hate clutter, but if you live with it, you become used to it and when you clean up, it seems strange. You may feel so uncomfortable that you start to clutter again but keep organizing. The more you get used to an organized environment, you’ll change your thinking, and feel liberated from the mess.
Q & A
I’m worried about my room-mate. He has phases where he’ll drink excessive amount of alcohol and says it’s to kill the pain. His parents are separated and his dad is ill, but both of them are still alive. I tried to talk about his drinking, but he laughs it off, saying he only binges and that I drink too. I drink, but I don’t binge. He can’t even go out to dinner or go to movies without bringing a bottle filled with straight alcohol.
How can I help him get his life in order, when he won’t listen?
Your room-mate has discovered that ‘alcohol dulls the pain’ so he’s ‘self –medicating’ by drinking and not dealing with his problems. If he’s not already an alcoholic, he’s on the road to becoming one. Here’s more information on
Your room-mate needs help. You can suggest he has a drinking problem, but he’ll deny it. There are AA groups for young people (sometimes on campus) but he’ll probably resist this as well. Talk instead about his family problems and suggest that he gets counseling. If he establishes a relationship with his counselor, he may be open to getting
help for alcohol abuse
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