Organizing, Redesign & Staging

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Psychology of Cluttering

No, I'm not a psychologist or psychiatrist, but I have observed and worked with many, many clients on organizing their homes. With that experience I have noticed that people tend to feel powerless, as if they don't have control, over their surroundings. It may be your whole house needs decluttering, or it may be one room or one area. Doesn't matter -- the same thoughts apply. I want to remind you of a few things.

  1. You DO have control. It is your space. Your home, your apartment. You own the items inside it, not the other way around.
  2. Your space did not look like it did when you first bought/rented it. You added stuff. Therefore you can take away stuff. You may come up with reasons, excuses, etc.; you just don't want to rid yourself of stuff -- but you CAN rid yourself of it.
  3. You might need help, and that's OK. It is hard to give up habits, and most people utilize the assistance of others to do it (think: smoking, dieting, exercise).
  4. If you do nothing, nothing will change. Unless you live with someone who is motivated to do it themselves, the situation will stay the same -- for days, months, years -- unless you do something about it. Try one shelf, one surface, one room, one something to get started.
  5. Stuff is stuff, no matter what feelings you associate with it. Even if you throw out Aunt Ginny's vase, you'll never forget Aunt Ginny. Be realistic. When you get rid of clutter, you make space for new things and give yourself simplicity and visual peacefulness.