Stop the Madness!

Decluttering a lifetime in your home

I’m not a hoarder…. But I certainly understand how easy it can be to become one. I admit I don’t clean as much as I should but my home suffers from the clutter kind of mess, not the dirt kind. Of course I totally get that the dirt gets to hide in the clutter after a while which is usually the only thing that gets me motivated to reorganize and clean up.

So why are there so many people out there with messy homes? Well, we are a busy species with very short attention spans. With so much to take our attention away from unpleasant things it becomes quite easy to ignore the chaos building up in our peripheral views. Taking a hard look at the messes we ‘leave for another day’ can be hard to do. It brings up feelings of shame and exhaustion, just the idea of spending the time to clean it and even worse to figure what to say goodbye to.

Humans like to collect things. In fact there are a few species that like to do that. Monkeys, beavers, chipmunks, several species of birds and so many more out there that would surprise you. Of course humans are the only ones that live in big boxes and have longer lifespans to collect so much more. We create attachments to inanimate objects because it’s easier than applying them to living beings or the living being it was supposed to be attached to is no longer there. Sometimes it is a missed lifestyle or dream that keeps us holding onto ‘what could be’. These are a few factors that usually fuel a hoarder disorder.

As many crafters out there know, that last one is a slippery slope! Crafters, makers and artists are creative and we can see opportunities in so many things. Sometimes it's hard to filter what is actually realistic to hold on to and to say no to an opportunity that comes up in order to save the ones we already have in progress. This is definitely my issue.

When I see my rooms getting narrow and having to step over things and shimmy around other things it gets overwhelming. I look around and I just see all the things that I wanted to do with the stuff but not enough time to do it all. I find it can take months, even years to really concur things. I can get one room organized and it feels awesome but I run out of energy to tackle another room and then the chaos creeps in, time gets away from me and next thing I know all the hard work gets undone again.

So what’s the solution? To be honest I haven't found a perfect one yet. I have however found a few things that help.

First up is work small. Don’t take on everything in a room all at once. Set small goals of tackling one type of thing at a time. The positive feeling of getting a small task done will give you motivation to take on another. It's a slow build but it is the most rewarding because it is achievable and it lasts.

Next, ask for help when you need it. Sometimes it's needed at the beginning to get you started. Sometimes it's needed when you hit a wall as to what to do next. Sometimes it's needed to move big stuff so you don’t throw your back out in the middle of a clean up and can’t continue because you're too busy being in agony!

The last thing that I can suggest is to think of others. A lot of the stuff that our household is holding on to can be used by someone else now rather than being held onto by us with only a small chance of ever getting used. Giving away unused items to my neighbours has been great! I know some of them can’t afford to buy these things and they are grateful for the gift. Also selling some things is great too cause now there is a bit of a cash reward for all the hard work I’ve done. I get so much from just knowing the stuff isn’t just going to the dump and will now make someone else happy or make their lives better in some way. It’s therapeutic in a way and you can get the whole family involved in giving to others.

So today I’ll tackle a part of my basement. I’ll find treasures that have been forgotten about and I’ll make a lot of decisions as to who will benefit most with it. I’ll ask for help moving the big stuff and not try to push a couch up a flight of stairs by myself. Hopefully I’ll be able to find great stuff to give away and a few to offer up for sale so I get a little reward for’ll probably be art supplies to be honest.

Good luck out there to anyone else struggling with the clutter!

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