Yes, a cluttered home. You may think that all perfectionists keep a perfectly ordered home. A place for everything, and everything in its place. But a perfectionist who lives with clutter? Seems at odds, doesn’t it? Ironically, though, perfectionists can be really good at hanging on to clutter simply BECAUSE they’re perfectionists. And here, for the first time ever, they share their secrets. Now you, too, can keep a cluttered home like a perfectionist by just embracing one of these seven principles:
“It may look like chaos, but it’s organized chaos.” –This line is handy when anyone expresses surprise that you, of all people, have a cluttered home or office space. It will help you retain the title “perfectionist” because it has the word “organized” in it. And, everyone knows that one of the traits of a perfectionist is being organized.
“This is something only I can do.” – Use this statement when someone offers to help you deal with the clutter, or (worse!) suggests you bring in a professional. Of course, only you can do it best and to your exacting standards.
“I want to do it right, so I need to plan one whole weekend and just do it.” – This is a great reason because wanting to do things “right” is a hallmark of being a perfectionist. It will also ensure that you NEVER get around to tackling the clutter because there will NEVER be a whole weekend lying around for you to grab.
“If I spend time on this, then other things will get backlogged.” – This is an important defense because a perfectionist would never want to get backlogged on ANYTHING. But being backlogged on STUFF is OK.
“My schedule is so jammed, I can’t set aside time for this.” – Since a jammed schedule is today’s barometer of success, you’ll feel very successful when you say this. You’ll also feel a sense of accomplishment for having said “no” to dealing with the clutter so that you can do the things in your jammed schedule.
“I want to wait until I can see my way clear and have the energy to tackle this clutter.” – This is a variation on #3 and #5, but, it still feels true to your perfectionism to be sure you have everything necessary – including energy – before starting to de-clutter.
“It’s too mentally and emotionally exhausting. Every time I start, I get overwhelmed.” – Save this gem for a time when you ARE on the brink of doing something about the clutter. It will get you through until the feeling passes.
By now, you’ve realized, of course, these “secrets” are really excuses. But the perfectionist’s trap – maybe yours, too – is real: You feel all conditions must be perfect in order to deal with clutter. But ideal conditions never happen. The stars never align. So, your clutter lingers and continues to gnaw at your sense of orderliness and the serenity you long for when you walk through your door.
Tips on How to Take the Clutter out of Your Home
Recognize that calling clutter “organized chaos” is just playing word games. And you know it because you feel stressed living like that.
You may need to be involved in the process, but going it alone is a sure-fire way to fail. Besides, having someone help you (whether it’s a friend or a professional) will keep you focused and provide a sounding board or second opinion as to whether to keep something or not (especially helpful when it comes to clothes). The buddy system is a good motivator and a lot more fun…especially if a glass of wine is involved. 😉
You don’t need a whole weekend or even a whole day, for that matter. You just need to start the de-cluttering process. There’s a Chinese proverb that says: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” That first step may be only a baby step, but it’s something that gets you on your way. And it’s OK to take baby steps during the entire journey. Sure, it will take you longer to reach the goal, but it is also certain that if you don’t budge at all, neither will your clutter. It will still be there a year, two years, and five years from now.
Feeling backlogged? Get help with those “other things”. Or you may just need to say “no” to something, at least, temporarily. When you decide that the benefits of clearing clutter are worth it, you’ll find a way.
You ONLY need 15 minutes. Can you set aside 15 minutes? We’re willing to bet you spend at least that amount of time on social media. Before your next Facebook fix, set a timer for 15 minutes to work on de-cluttering. Work only that amount of time and no more. Repeat this exercise daily until the clutter begins to recede. Breaking it down to small chunks helps you focus, knowing you “don’t have much time.”
Here’s the reality: You’ll never see your way clear until you see your clutter clearly. Also, you’ll have MORE energy to do other things in your life once you’ve dealt with your cluttered home. You might not believe this until you’re on the “other side” of clutter, but clutter drains you in many ways, not the least of which is energy.
First, re-read the point above. And then recognize you don’t have to do it all at once. Think of it in terms of small bites…like those Halloween candies that come in “Fun Size”! So take it one closet, even one drawer, at a time. And give yourself a pat on the back for doing something about it.
Create an Uncluttered Home Sanctuary
It’s true that the effort involved in cutting down clutter can be both time-consuming and emotionally/mentally draining. But the long-term impact of it is well worth it. Wouldn’t you like to walk into a space that doesn’t give you that feeling of suffocation or guilt but instead is a welcoming haven, a sanctuary, a retreat from other pressures? De-cluttering your space may be a journey, but one that brings with it many rewards. Each step will bring you closer to your goal and an inner sense of calm.
What’s a place in your home where clutter accumulates easily? Or, what’s your go-to organizing hack that helps you keep clutter at bay? Tell us in the comment section below!
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