Overcoming the Overwhelm
Updated: Jul 28, 2019
Let me guess.
You open the door / cupboard / drawer / box and are faced with a pile of clutter.
You instantly feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and have no idea where to start.
That's how I felt when I had my clutter challenge back in 2001.
I'd done precisely this on and off for 3 years with my clutter.
I just couldn't motivate myself to get on with it, and when I occasionally was feeling positive, I hadn't got a clue what to do with it all.
Just looking at it all drained me.
Then when we do finally get started we don't get as much done as we'd like to get done.
When we finally get on to 'doing the doing' we want it all gone NOW - don't we?!
Of course sadly we know deep down that the clutter didn't appear overnight so it's not going to clear overnight.
Even though we may know that, it doesn't mean we have to like it (!).
That happened to me every time I tried to clear my clutter on my own.
Until I discovered the Clutter Clearing Process, I was stop, start, stop, start again.
I failed every time to get very far because I just didn't know how or where to get started.
Here are the 7 most common things people do when they don't know where to start or feel overwhelmed:
Close the door / cupboard / drawer / box and leave it for another day. It's been there a while already so what difference will another day or week make?
Find something more important / urgent / interesting to do instead.
Force yourself to do something, even if it's just moving it around a bit so it doesn't look so bad or moving it to another room / hiding it because you've got visitors coming and you don't want them to see it like this.
Maybe you've decluttered in the past and done a little here, a little there. You've created piles of types of clutter - and then moved those piles from corner to corner, room to room, run out of time or energy so piled the piles on top of each other - perhaps even resulting in a clutter 'avalanche' which means it all gets muddled again and next time you have to re-do what we've already done.
Maybe you decide to be ruthless and start in one room, start to see an improvement there so decide to leave that room and move onto another room, never quite finishing one room before the clutter returns.
As the bin bags sit in the hall / rubbish bin, you start to wonder whether you made the right decision. So, as time passes, you decide to do a quick check of what you've thrown out. Hum.... maybe that'll come in useful and it should come out of the bin bag. Before you know it, more is kept than has been thrown out.
Maybe you call a friend or family member to help, or accept an offer of help. After all, they've already told you that you 'just need to get on and do it'. It'll be easy, right? They'll help keep you motivated. They'll encourage you. They'll be able to tell you what you should and shouldn't keep because they're so naturally clutter free in their home. And it's free help. You arrange for them to come over, it starts out OK, but then after a while they loose their patience as you struggle to make the decision to throw things away, voices get raised, they resort to getting the bin bags out and putting 'obvious rubbish' in them so that at least it's not a completely wasted day. You feel you 'should' be grateful, but on reflection it hasn't helped at all and you're now suspicious of what they've thrown away.
Bad news I'm afraid.
You're perfectly normal if you've done any - or all - of the above....!
I was overwhelmed by my clutter when I had it in 2001, which is why I had it - and ignored the growing problem - for 3 years.
However, when I spent a year studying naturally clutter free and organised people, I discovered that there are secrets to overcoming the overwhelm.
15 Secrets to Overcoming the Overwhelm.
Take it one step at a time. Rome wasn't built in a day, your clutter didn't appear overnight, it's not going to disappear over night.
Set a realistic goal for completing one room.
Break down the clutter into bite-size, manageable pieces. A box here, a shelf there and do one with each Clutter Clearing Session that you do.
Take one room at a time. Don't flit from room to room - focus and finish.
Do no more than 2 hours of Clutter Clearing at a time until you finish that room. Then you'll see a real difference, feel a sense of achievement and motivate yourself to move onto the next room.
Make sure you are using a method or process that will actually CLEAR and reduce the clutter.
Make sure it has more options that 'keep', 'throw away' and 'charity / recycling'.
Include a not sure option. We must give ourselves permission to be unsure what to do with something we may not have seen for quite a while.
Limit the amount of time you spend categorising and sorting of the clutter, otherwise you'll run out of time and energy to action the categories.
Set a timer and do no more than 30 minutes of categorising and sorting followed by actioning the categories.
Make sure you are actually REDUCING the amount of clutter you have i.e. letting go of things you don't need and won't use in a clearly defined period of time. Yes, everything you own MIGHT come in useful - but how often has it actually come in useful, and can you actually get another one if you do need it in the future?
Make time to do your Clutter Clearing and be realistic with how much time you spend doing it. 2 hours of Clutter Clearing twice a week, using a process that ensures you reduce the amount of clutter you have is much more realistic to fit into your life than a whole day or week.
Notice, acknowledge and celebrate the difference each and every time you do your Clutter Clearing. Take a photograph at the end of each Clutter Clearing Session so you can have a record of the changes each time.
If you've got clutter out of your home when you've done a Clutter Clearing Session, that is ultimately going to make more space in your home. So reward yourself for successfully decluttering!
Minimise the build up of clutter by minimising the amount of potential clutter coming into your home.
There's a lot to deal with, isn't there?
That's why there is no quick fix solution to your Clutter Challenge, it requires time and effort.
If you are struggling to get started or overcome the overwhelm, then you should know that the Clutter Clearing Process is specifically designed to enable people to get started and overcome the overwhelm.