As a professional organizer, I see and deal with all kinds of clutter. My clients have a vast array of education, age, and status. A time not too far in the past, people believed that only people of modest income would ‘hoard’ or that a person must be a ‘slob’ if they had a cluttered home. Nothing is farther from the truth, in my experience.
The majority of my clients are professionals or seniors who need assistance wading through the mounds of ‘clutter’. Most people think that they will be able to ‘get to it’ another day, however after years of letting it slide it’s too much for one person to finally deal with. Then one day, they finally sit long enough to look at the space with a critical eye and realize they don’t know where to begin. They try over and over to begin and win the battle only to find that they are more frustrated than ever. This is what I wanted to write this month…it’s what I call ‘walking disorganization’.
I describe this as a person who will start at a point in the home with the notion that things need to be decluttered and cleaned. I’ll put this theory in play with a short story to give you the idea.
Katie walked into her kitchen knowing that today was the day to tackle the mess as she couldn’t stand it any longer. Katie madly grabbed several items from the counter knowing that they were supposed to live in the bathroom. She darted to the bathroom (with every intention to return to the kitchen) and noticed that her son left toothpaste all over the sink and had splashed the mirror with soap. Katie then cleans up the mess and observes her husband's reading glasses on the counter. Katie scoops up the glasses and heads for their bedroom only to notice that the bed was not yet made, there were dirty clothes on the floor and her daughter’s teddy bear somehow made the trek it into their room. Katie makes the bed, returns the teddy bear, puts the clothes in the laundry hamper, and then realizes she desperately needs to do laundry. She takes the hamper downstairs to put in a load of laundry, gets interrupted by the telephone, etc etc…then wonders why she hasn’t accomplished her goal by the end of the day. Sound familiar? I call it walking disorganization because the person is in motion the whole day attempting to get organized, but cannot complete the task he/she originally planned. The person is drained because they’ve been truly ‘busy’ all day, but have yet to complete anything.
As I wrote in my last column, I coach my clients to start in one room and stay in that one room until the task is complete. This feels strange in the beginning, but once you do it on a regular basis, it becomes easier. Eventually, the theory is you will begin to get the hang of completing a goal and bask in the delight of achieving success. That success will then multiply in time.
This however can be really hard if you have small children, have ADHD, are diagnosed as being chronically disorganized, and/or a hoarder. A professional organizer can help you declutter and coach you on acquiring new skills for future success but if you strongly resonate with Katie, you may wish to seek assistance from someone who is educated in this field. Take comfort in knowing that help is not too far away.