What lurks behind the clutter?

(c) Harry Gould Harvey IV

(c) Harry Gould Harvey IV


A powerful aha moment.

In the online community of my professional association, a colleague posted her dilemma about dealing with an abusive client. Thankfully I haven’t been in this position. I was drawn to the discussion though because I believe that, as professionals, we need to be clear about our boundaries and what is unacceptable client behavior.

I mulled on this lively discussion over the next few days. And then an aha moment woke me during the night – abusive organizing clients are afraid.

Wait. We’re talking about organizing and de-cluttering. Why would these clients be afraid?

The kind of change that comes with organizing can induce fear about all kinds of things, for example leaving their old (comfortable) life behind or losing memories of a loved one.

The fear could come from something more serious. They may subconsciously be afraid because once they’ve dealt with their clutter (or weight or addiction), then they have to deal with the real problem in their life – the unsatisfactory relationship, their lack of self-worth, grief, or regret over unfulfilled dreams. By always having to de-clutter their home, they have an excuse not to face the issue they’re avoiding.

This is why working with an organizer doesn’t always produce the desired result for some folks.

The rational part of their mind may believe that it makes sense to use an organizer, but the irrational, primitive amygdala in the brain takes over – they’ve been hijacked by their fear of what lurks behind the clutter. And so they put up barriers: “There’s no way I can get rid of these things.” “I can’t decide what to do with this stuff so I’ll just keep it all,” “These are too nice to just throw/give away.” The barriers come up because once the clutter is gone, their energy and focus have to go somewhere else. And that focus is often the root cause of the clutter.

Do you know someone who has been despairing for months or years over the state of their guest room, basement, garage or entire home? If so, have compassion. It’s not always the case, but this kind of clutter could be a symptom of an underlying issue that they’re unconsciously trying to avoid.

I’m not a therapist, but I do understand the relationship between clutter and being stuck in life.

I became an organizer to help people clear the physical and mental clutter that gets in the way of them having more time and focus, a better quality of life, and even significant transformation.

The way I work builds decision-making and problem-solving muscles which means that my clients not only get de-cluttered, they also get unstuck – they can turn their bedroom into a sanctuary, thoughtfully sort through photos and memorabilia to appreciate and keep the most precious, or make plans for achieving their work or life goals.

If you (or someone you know) are committed to clearing your physical or mental clutter so that you can get on with your life and achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself, then I’m your gal. Let’s talk.

Contact me for a free, no obligation, 20-minute phone consultation to see whether working with me could help you clear your clutter and move on. I work onsite in the Seattle area and by video call (Pacific time) across the country. If I’m not the right person to help you, chances are I know someone who can. Email me at Ellia@MindfulOrganizing.NET with a few windows of time that work for a phone consult, and we’ll get going.

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