People often don’t make the link that their clutter can be blocking them from future opportunities. Whether it is mental clutter or physical clutter overtaking your mind and space, you may be too tired, too fogged or too stressed to make your real priorities and dreams come true.
My Feng Shui colleague Krista Polinsky of Soul Intent often says that too much clutter in your attic can block your future, while too much clutter in your basement can represent you holding on to your past. I love the symbolism in that statement. If you tend to cling to possessions from past relationships, deceased relatives or just plain procrastinate making decisions by throwing them into a space, you are not giving yourself the room and the emotional clarity that you need to start a new wave of your life.
If you are constantly burdened by the “stuff” that you never get to in your closets, your office and other areas of your home, you may be wasting time and energy on the same habits that have you running on a hamster wheel that never stops.
Nine times out of ten, when I first walk into a home to do an assessment, the owner walks into each room and spews a list of tasks they know that need to accomplish to get organized. They can always identify the furniture they no longer want, but haven’t felt like coordinating to remove from their home. They usually point out the piles of papers that they know probably just need to be shredded, but remain in multiple locations engulfing their space. That’s when I ask what is your block? What is preventing you from moving forward on this project?
Often I hear the same excuses. “I don’t have the time to go through it all.” “I hate dealing with paperwork.” “I don’t want my mother’s set of dishes, but I can’t just give them away, it was a part of her.” “I believe the desk is worth money, but I don’t know how to sell it.” Well I have answers for all of these excuses!
1. If you don’t have the time, schedule it. If you don’t put it on a calendar and hold yourself accountable to get it done you will always put it last on the list. You don’t have to do everything in one day. Commit to one night a week after work every month to go through one box and you will be doing far more than just letting it sit there.
2. If you hate dealing with paperwork, find someone who doesn’t. There are plenty of teenagers looking for extra money who can sort receipts and file for you for a very cheap rate. If you are getting too much paper delivered, consider getting off mailing lists, receiving your bills online or simplifying how many categories you have to parse your papers into to get them filed. Sometimes a 13-pocket expandable file folder labeled by month will be enough to capture your monthly paperwork.
3. If you don’t want a relative’s possessions, but you are attached to the memory, take a picture of it and find someone in the family who will love it just as much as your relative did. If a family member is not an option, give it to a friend. Making that connection will make you feel much more gratified than staring at the box taking up room in your home.
4. Believing something is valuable, and it actually being sell-able are two different stories. If you think something is valuable in your home, first do the research. Look it up on Ebay, take a picture to a furniture consigner or antique dealer. Just because someone in the family believed it was worth something because it is old doesn’t necessarily translate into dollars. If you do find it has value, make the commitment to sell it or honor it the way it should be properly displayed in your home. There are many resources out there to help you make it happen. Again, you need to make the time to get it done.
If you find yourself burdened by excuses, you need to ask yourself why you are really stopping yourself from getting it done? If you need help find it, if you need time decide what you can give up to get it done. Take the risk to deal with it and I promise you will begin to reignite your creativity, your motivation and your opportunities for new projects, career moves and relationships.
Kristin Mastromarino is a Professional Organizer and owner of Livable Solutions Professional Organizing (www.livablesoltuions.com) and The Organized Lifestyle Store (www.theorganizedlifestylestore.com. You can e-mail her your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org)