In our last post, we discussed the common excuses that people have when they justify their disorganization at home or work.
We also learned that to seize control of clutter, we have to be willing to let go of our old beliefs and habits so we can make some real progress with getting organized.
How does chronic clutter and disorganization cause stress?
Below are some of the common reasons why chronic disorder can also lead to chronic stress:
1. Stressed Mind – The more you see clutter, the more your brain reacts to it whether you like it or not.
You can ignore clutter as much as you want, but below your brain’s surface, your subconscious mind is working overtime to find solutions to the confusion. Unfortunately, without conscious guidance, your subconscious cannot create concrete and practical solutions.
2. Time Consuming – A cluttered environment was difficult to manage and navigate. You will have to spend double or triple the regular time just trying to find the things that you need. Often, people look for things when they are urgently needed, so the stress increases even more.
3. Things Are Lost – There will be situations where you won’t be able to find the things you need because of all the clutter. So you will spend a lot of time searching for stuff buried under the clutter and at the end of the day, your efforts will yield nothing. This is the harsh reality of disorganization that we have to accept to motivate ourselves to get finally organized.
4. Reduced Living Space – Clutter can quickly consume your living space to the point that you will only have a small nook left to move about.
If you don’t believe me, trying watching shows like “Hoarders” to see some extreme examples of how organization problems can conflate to the point where people are threatened with eviction by landlords and housing councils if they don’t clean up the messes in their homes.
5. Social Isolation – If your home is chronically cluttered, you may feel embarrassed about the situation, and this may lead to ignoring requests of friends to come over.
You may be limited to meeting friends in restaurants and other outdoor locations, which may not always be the most convenient option for all parties concerned.
How can you motivate yourself to become more organized?
Getting the right type of motivation can be hard especially if you’re “going solo” and your support network is tiny. Don’t worry –you can still do it!
Here are some ways that you can motivate yourself to clean up your clutter finally at home or work:
1. Create a De-Cluttering Schedule –Procrastination is the number one enemy of would-be clutter warriors. It’s very easy to say you’ll do something tomorrow, a week from now or 2 months from now.
The human mind cannot fully grasp the passage of time so a year’s worth of procrastination may feel like a week. You will have a much higher success rate if you set a specific day and hour for your first de-cluttering effort.
Do everything to remind yourself to clean up on the appointed day, even to the extent that you have to cancel other appointments so you can get something done.
2. Kick-start Your Efforts With Visitors –This is one of the fastest and most practical ways to get motivated. Invite some friends over for dinner or a movie night so your mind can finally relinquish its inhibitions about getting organized.
Be sure to invite friends that you secretly want approval from so you will become motivated to take action. It sounds silly at the outset, but trust me, the most brilliant ways to get rid of clutter come out when you have some great friends over.
3. Find Your Tolerance Level – This is critical for long-term management of clutter. Some people are averse to the idea of having clutter anywhere in their house while some are completely oblivious to disorganization.
You’re feeling stressed about the clutter at home or in the office because the clutter has exceeded your tolerance level.
You need to identify your tolerance level and use it as a benchmark for staying organized. If you start feeling stressed about the clutter, you have to do something immediately to relieve the stress (e.g. by cleaning up).
This is the only way that you will be able to remove this major stressor for good. Don’t worry – you will soon develop effective routines for getting the clutter out of the way!