If there’s one thing I know for sure it’s that our thoughts can affect our reality. Take housekeeping for example. I told myself for years that I was lousy at it. As was evidenced by my cluttered house. I’d walk in from work, take one look at the piles of laundry and toys and papers everywhere. Then I would keep thinking: I’m such a slob! I’m such a lousy mom! I just cannot declutter. Why even bother trying?
Then, of course, I’d have a moment that tipped me over the edge. When I would say: look, chickadee, you have got to take control of this chaos! Sometimes it was sparked by panic when I couldn’t find something super important. Like my keys. Or it was due to yet another argument with my (then) husband about what a crappy housekeeper I was. Or even more panic inducing: company coming over.
So, darling, no matter how overwhelmed you are feeling about the state of your home, I feel you. I know how it is to begin going down the trail of thinking “I will always be living in a hot mess.” While simultaneously knowing that in order to retain my sanity, I had to tame the chaos.
Clutter wears you down mentally.
And sometimes? That clutter convinces you that a tidy home is impossible. That no matter what you do, you will never when the battle against it. And your clutter will also try to convince you that you are simply incapable
Clutter makes you feel ashamed of your home. And yourself. And all the while it tells you: you cannot declutter.
First let me remind you, darling, that your surroundings do not define your value as a human being.
Having a messy home doesn’t make you a bad person. Believing that you cannot declutter isn’t because you’re “stupid” or other derogatory things I have thought about myself in the past.
However, living in a cluttered home can greatly affect your self-esteem.
That’s why clearing clutter has become one of the things I’m passionate about when it comes to being a life coach. Because clutter drags you down: mentally and emotionally. And clutter affects how you feel physically, too. Because everything is energy. So, what can you do when you feel like you cannot declutter?
Here’s seven ways to deal – and shift that inner dialogue.
One – Remind yourself that your home did not get cluttered overnight.
When we put unrealistic expectations on ourselves, we will always feel frustrated. While it would be nice to have a perfectly tidy home by working hard a single day or a weekend, that likely isn’t going to happen.
Give yourself permission to slowly declutter.
What I mean by this is to be honest about the time and energy you have to devote to tidying up your home. Rather than expecting overnight success, recognize it may take several days or weeks. Choose a single room to declutter, then move on from there. Otherwise, it’s easy to get even more overwhelmed because you’re flitting from room to room.
Yes, I know you want everything neat and tidy NOW. But getting in over your head will always lead to you thinking you simply cannot declutter. Period.
As I’ve shared before, employing timers helps. So does my tried and true “bin and bag” method.
Two – You must get rid of things.
You can’t organize too much stuff. And, darling, storage boxes under ever bed and overflowing bookshelves and closets means you have too much stuff.
Be methodical. Only keep what “sparks joy”. Don’t keep things because you spent a lot of money on them. Or because someone gave it to you as a gift. The most important thing is to make sure that everything has a place. Because if it doesn’t have a place, you will always have clutter.
Three – Recognize if you are experiencing a challenging season.
There will always be seasons in our life when we feel as if we cannot declutter. That’s because sometimes, life simply gets in the way of us taking care of our home.
We have big demands on our lives thanks to a new job. Or someone in our family is sick and needs some extra help. And don’t discount different stages of life having an affect. Even good ones. I can remember how much harder it got to stay on top of things when my first child went from baby to toddler.
When you are tired, over-scheduled, and constantly on the run, of course your home is going to suffer.
Cut yourself some slack. Stop telling yourself that you’re a failure because your home is messy. And then, make a plan to get your home in shape so that it supports you no matter what season of life you’re experiencing.
Four – Let go of the perfectionist vision you have for your home right now.
Maybe one day you can finally do a deep-clean and scrub that gets every nook and cranny of your house cleaned, but for right now, stay focused on getting things put away and the stuff that is just “stuff” that doesn’t have a specific home dealt with.
Your home should support you in living a life that is loving and nourishing. And life, my darling, will never be perfect.
Five – Speak more kindly to yourself.
You would never criticize a friend for getting overwhelmed and feeling like she cannot declutter, and you should give yourself the same kind treatment.
Yes, the little piles of mail, laundry that never gets folded, and dishes in the sink will get on your last never. Especially when you can’t find something important. But, darling, telling yourself you’re a loser won’t help.
Instead, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are a strong and capable human being. And can do anything!
Six – Be willing to hire some help if you cannot declutter alone.
If you feel as if you’ve gotten in over your head? Yes, for the love of all that is holy, hire someone to help you.
One of the great things about hiring someone to clean your house? They are going to be more judicious about what is clutter and what isn’t. That’s because they don’t have any emotional attachments to your stuff.
And because they clean professionally, they aren’t going to get overwhelmed.
Yes, I know you may feel like things are too cluttered to even clean. However, don’t let that stop you. My cleaning lady and I have worked out a system. Anything that doesn’t seem like it belongs in a spot gets relocated to ONE location. That way, she tidies and cleans. And then, when she leaves, I only have to deal with ONE space to declutter. That makes it so much easier to take control of the chaos!
Seven – If you feel like you cannot declutter alone, link up with a friend.
A good friend who loves you and knows you really well? She can help you decide what things are worth keeping. And what can be tossed. This is especially helpful in decluttering your closet or kitchen! Likewise, you can give her the same tough love while decluttering.
Like, do you really need to keep that coffee grinder you got as a wedding present ten years ago if you don’t drink coffee? And do you really need to keep that flowered dress that you paid a lot of money for but isn’t flattering?
It’s a win-win all the way around. You can spend time with a friend as you can divide and conquer. And better yet: you each have an extra set of hands to get your home – and then her place – whipped back into shape.
Darling, no matter how often you tell yourself that you simply cannot declutter, there is hope.
You can transform your home back into a haven. A welcoming space where you can unwind after a long day of working hard. A home that feels like a sanctuary for you and your loved ones. Your home can be a place to help you make your dreams and goals come true. Remember that you don’t need to make your home into a sparse prison of minimalism.
The goal is simply to take back control. Create a loving space that looks lived in, but isn’t drowning in clutter. And, most importantly, you don’t have to make this happen alone or in one day. No matter how tidy or messy you may be, you deserve to live a life you love.
Darling, you deserve to live in a home that supports the vision you have for your life. Don’t let a little clutter and negative thinking get in the way of that.
If you feel you cannot declutter on your own, join me for 30 days to slowly tame the chaos.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that you cannot welcome new things into your life if you don’t release some of the old stuff. You need to begin to purge things from your life. Getting clear in your life by dealing with your physical clutter (big clutter and small clutter) will allow you to direct your precious energy towards creating the clear path to living your best possible life.
Join me for 30 Days to Clarity: Clutter Busting Edition
2022 Course Dates:
- Before the Holidays: Beginning Sunday, October 30, 2022
(*Note: As of 2018, this course is lifetime access. That means, you’re IN at no additional cost anytime the class runs.)
Course Investment: $21.Purchase Clutter Busting Email Course