Updated: Mar 26
So, you seem to have too much stuff. Or, you aren’t able to keep your stuff in its place, and maybe it doesn’t even have a place. Whatever the problem, you are drowning in it. And you want it fixed. ASAP. If you’ve called for help and hired an organizer, you are definitely on the path to freedom. But I want you to know something. Much of the time your decluttering project is not just about the clutter. There may be more to it than just the mess or the stuff that’s in your way.
Sometimes we have clutter just because we’ve been through an extremely hectic time, like having a child on a traveling sports team and no time to spend at home doing the necessary things to keep the house up. Or having an illness run through the entire family and you’ve been just too sick or too exhausted to care.ring down your belongings than you think. Of course, I’m not trying to talk you out of it. I just want to help you not to get discouraged once you start.
Sometimes we have clutter just because we’ve been through an extremely hectic time, like having a child on a travelling sports team and no time to spend at home doing the necessary things to keep the house up. Or having an illness run through the entire family and you’ve been just too sick or too exhausted to care.
Other sources of clutter can be just too much stuff. Maybe you had a parent move to a nursing home and you have the responsibility of figuring out what to do with a whole other household. Maybe you’ve moved from a large house to one that is smaller, or you can’t convince the relatives to stop buying the kids so many toys.
But there can be another source of clutter, an emotionally charged hidden aspect. Many of us have trouble letting things go. We feel guilty, we feel scared, we feel stressed, anxious, embarrassed, we feel…(fill in the blank). I’m not necessarily talking about hoarding, although that would be an extreme example. I’m talking about our hang-ups. We all have different quirks, and some of us struggle more than others. One client hadn’t gone into a particular room in her house in years, other than to open the door and pitch something else in. Another client had great difficulty getting rid of every little thing because she keeps thinking of another useful purpose for each item.
There is a reason people hesitate to call an organizer for help. They feel like they should be able to do this for themselves, and may have even tried. Some people succeed, some start and restart the process, others manage to get through it with the help of a family member or friend, and then there are others who just can’t seem to make it happen. That’s ok. Really. I will say it again. It’s OK. Every situation is different. You are taking a giant step if you are calling in help because you want to make changes. And I am proud of you.
Organizers work quickly, and people are frequently surprised at how much we can get through in a session. Once we start the process, don’t be surprised if you find yourself balking at the pace. You may feel anxiety like it’s all happening too fast. “Can’t she just slow down and give me a chance to breathe?” you think. You know you are paying for their time, but you just can’t be pushed. I have seen this in the form of stalling out, in sickness and cancellation of sessions, and in other forms of emotional turmoil.
During your sessions with your organizer, please know that we understand. Yours is not the worst we’ve ever seen and your emotions will not surprise us or scare us away. We are ok with tears, we like to hear your stories and memories, and we understand that talking it out is good for the soul. We do what we do because we have a passion and an understanding for it.
Yes, clutter goes deep, more so than we like to think. So, do some thinking about your attachment to your stuff, and don’t be fooled into thinking that clutter is just “things” and things can’t hurt or cause emotional issues. One elderly client said this: “I never expected my stuff to outlive me.” To be sure, you will feel a sense of freedom when it’s all done, but you may have some emotional stuff to work through before you fully experience that freedom. We get it. Suffice it to say that you can expect to have strong feelings when doing a downsizing project. Highs and lows, lows and highs. Don’t let this discourage you, and if you are already deep into your project, take comfort that this is normal. Believe me when I say that it will be worth it in the end. Once we have gone over everything, and you’ve made your final decisions (yes, they are YOUR decisions, not ours), and when everything is put in its place you’ll be able to breathe a deep sigh of relief and start to feel that sense of freedom and newfound peace.