One of my early clients once said to me: “there’s nowhere I can talk about this stuff”. By “stuff”, she meant the various feelings of self-criticism, frustration, shame, and all-round helplessness that she felt about having a messy home and not liking it.
This is one of the reasons why I was attracted to this work in the de-cluttering field in the first place: looking at our spaces and realizing how important they were in relation to our overall sense of well-being.
What we surround ourselves with matters. How we feel in a room in our own home matters on so many levels, but somehow we don’t seem to think that we can talk about it as we see it as a personal failure if it doesn’t all look just so (and one’s “just so” will be very different from the next person’s).
This early client was a successful senior professional, very capable in her work and respected in her field. That she couldn’t keep her house organized was something that she kept very separate from her work persona, and she couldn’t quite reconcile why she couldn’t deal with what seemed like a simple activity at home, when she successfully completed far more complex tasks at work.
Lately, I have had a number of similar conversations again and I notice how many people are affected by the mess in their homes, and more importantly what the consequences are in the various areas of their lives: their relationships with those around them, their concentration levels at work, the impact on how they socialize (by feeling too ashamed to invite anyone into their home), and most importantly how they feel about themselves.
This stuff matters, and the first step is to notice that it does. Be honest and truthful with yourself and pay attention to the (seemingly) small consequences of the mess.
And when the time is right, make a start, one thing at a time. The trouble with mess is that it can feel overwhelming and we just see the mountain. We forget that the mountain is in fact nothing more than a pile of small stones, so even when they seem endless, if we take them away one at a time, eventually we will have cleared the lot. Just make a start. Just do it.
And finally, if you can rope in anyone to help, that will make things much easier!
If you need help getting started, 👉 get in touch and let’s chat.