DeCluttering Your Mind!

Over the next several months, we will be sharing info on “DeCluttering Your Mind”! Unfortunately, as women, we don’t always acknowledge to ourselves that we get tired of trying to keep all of the many balls of life that we juggle in the air on a daily basis! As we begin another journey of Ordering Your Steps, please share with us the number of hours of RESTFUL sleep that you get each night….

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The Psychology of Clutter – Part II

The more I research the effect that Clutter has on the brain, the more interesting the topic becomes.  If you haven’t already, take a moment to read The Organizing Story.  It gives a unique perspective on the challenge that an organizer may face.  When I look back on all my clients, I found that about 60% or more were very enthusiastic and motivated when they called me.  Some maintained their motivation throughout the process, but others lost interest, primarily the result of time and or money … or was it just too much for the brain to handle??

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As I read more in the article,  How Clutter Affects the Brain (and what you can do about it), it said that “Whether it be your closet or office desk, excess things in your surroundings can have a negative impact on our ability to focus and process information.  Similar to what multitasking does to your brain, physical clutter overloads your senses, making you feel stressed, and impairs your ability to think creatively.”

According to Brian Wallace in his article, De-Clutter and Improve Your Life, he believes that clutter can result in “strained relationships, due to arguments over lost items, missed appointments, forgotten errand and cluttered spaces.  Disorganization is affecting our life more than it should. These conflicts may even affect our sex life.”   Hhhhmmmmm…..

Lastly, Dr. David Tolin, director of the Anxiety Disorders Center at the Institute of Living and an associate professor of psychiatry at Yale University, says “that a cluttered and disorganized lifestyle can also point to deeper psychological and emotional issues”.  (see link* below for more info)

I am by no means, suggesting that if you have too much clutter that you need to go out immediately and get medical attention. 🙂 …Nor do I believe that professional organizers need a degree in psychology.  But as Dr. Tolin has suggested that “by focusing on understanding the root cause of the clutter, we are more likely to create lasting change when we do implement a plan to de-clutter our life”.   De-cluttering can decrease our stress, clear our mind, help you find more time for fun and allow you to breathe a little easier.

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So if we know this, the question remains why not stick with it, once we make up our minds.  It can be as simple as … I know that I really need to drink more water, I put a bottle water in the frig, take it out, put it in my cup holder in my car … and still don’t drink it.  We can lead a horse to water, but we can’t make it drink!

So for those that may need a little help with the chaos and to us who are trying to provide a little order, we must all understand that the more we know, the more successful we will be.  One day at a time!

The Organizing Story by Myiesha Speight

602655_10151085915695412_97443213_nI have the pleasure of presenting my 1st guest blogger, none other than my own daughter, Ms. Myiesha Speight.  She is currently entering her senior year of college majoring in English on a full academic honors scholarship at Winston Salem State University.  She is aspiring to become a world renown author and has already began to apply for graduate school, where she plans to pursue a masters degree in creative writing.  She loves writing and recently started her own blog entitled Standing Among Stars (please check it out).  She has also graciously agreed to pen “The Organizing Story”, a creative work of fiction to further illustrate the Psychology of Clutter.

So without any further ado, enjoy “The Organizing Story”….

“I’d like to explain how I work”, Rhonda said. She was having a sit-down with her newest client, Mariah Kellar. Rhonda is a professional organizer and usually liked to have a conversation before she began. “But first, would you consider yourself an organized person?” She asked Mariah.

Mariah took a moment to think about it. “Um,” She said. “I don’t know…yeah…maybe…yes! Definitely yes~”

Rhonda smiled at the woman’s indecisiveness. She was used to people being unsure about their organizing habits. After so many years as an organizer, she had seen people at every level of organization and she knew how to effectively help them proven in her 100% success rate. The reason for her success was simply because she was no normal organizer. “Organized? Well, there’s only one way to find out,” She said. “Let’s have a look see, hmm?”

Mariah was confused. “I don’t think I understand.”

“Give me your hand,” Rhonda said. Mariah eyed Rhonda warily, but put her hand in Rhonda’s anyway. “Please take a deep breath and close your eyes.” Mariah did as she was told. She was beginning to get worried that her time was being wasted. Rhonda was known as the best in her field, but for what Mariah was paying, she wouldn’t be able to afford it if Rhonda was wasting time. A few minutes passed and it seemed that nothing was happening. Mariah opened her left eye to take a peek, but to her surprise, Rhonda was gone.

“Wait, where’d you go?” Mariah asked, looking around annoyed. She definitely deserved a refund if all Rhonda was going to do was play hide-and-seek.

“I’m in here,” Rhonda yelled. She added, “And I don’t appreciate that last statement, I don’t do refunds. Good Lord, it’s a disaster area in here.”

“What?! Where’s here?” Mariah asked.

“I’m in your mind, Mariah, and I’ve got to say, you’re not organized at all,” Rhonda said.

“How can you say that? I’m not perfect, but I’m not a slob.”

“I know better than that. Just because you look organized on the surface doesn’t mean you’re an organized person. If the state of your mind is of any indication, I have my work cut out for me. Goodness gracious, when’s the last time you cleaned up in here?”

“Well, excuse me.” Mariah replied. “I’m not really sure how to clean up something I can’t get to.  Besides you don’t understand, I’ve got a LOT going on”

“Good thing you called me then. You see, organizing begins in the mind. You need to get your mind in order first before you can begin organizing your space. You have to start getting rid of the things you’ve been holding to. Pick your priorities. Pick what’s really important to you and just let go of the rest.”

“You make it sound so easy.”

Rhonda chuckled. “It’s not, but it has to be done. I can’t organize your area if your mind is cluttered with things you don’t need.  If I don’t start with your mind, it makes my job a lot harder because there’s no guarantee you’ll keep up with the order. If there’s no order to your brain, I’d be wasting my time organizing the rest of you. Does that make sense?”

“Yeah,” Mariah said and she understood how Rhonda became the best.

“Excellent,” Rhonda said, rolling up her sleeves preparing for the feat ahead of her. “Let’s get to work, shall we?”

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The Psychology of Clutter

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I have been wondering what prompts someone to hire a professional organizer and after one or two organizing sessions, they decide to discontinue my services.  I try not to take it personal  :-(… If they didn’t recognize the need, they would not have hired me.

So WHY?

Let’s look at a few possibilities:

  • Boredom – The process can be a little tedious, but they seem to work through it well… and they can see the progress.
  • Not a Priority – Once the session is over, they may lose interest.  They become preoccupied with other things
  • Financial – They believe that they just cannot justify the expense. But I am cheaper than most?

So what do you think would persuade a person to be willing to continue the process, especially AFTER they’ve done the hardest part… Called the Professional Organizer!    They already know that De-cluttering is crucial to establishing Order!

So what is CLUTTER?  Let’s look at the definition:

  • (organizing), a confusing or disorderly state or collection, and possible symptom of compulsive hoarding
  • to run in disorder
  • to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness

We know that DISORDER has a grave impact to our mind, body and spirit.  Many of my clients believe that they are on the verge of being a “hoarder”, BUT the importance of de-cluttering appears to simply fall by the waste side.  Why?

Recently, I read an article by Mikael Cho, co founder of oompf, entitled How Clutter Affects the Brain (and what you can do about it).  In the article, Mike says:

Whether it be your closet or office desk, excess things in your surroundings can have a negative impact on your ability to focus and process information. That’s exactly what neuro-scientists at Princeton University found when they looked at people’s task performance in an organized versus disorganized environment. The results of the study showed that physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention, resulting in decreased performance and increased stress.

God gave me this revelation, when He gave me this ministry of Order Your Steps.   So I didn’t need scientific proof, but for some, it may shed more light on the mystery of Clutter…  I would love to better understand the true Psychology of Clutter.  Not the Why we need to do it, but the Why we don’t stick to it?

Another quote from Mike’s article that I really liked:

Clutter, whether physical or digital, is something you’ll always have to deal with but it can be controlled. Finding ways to steer the streams of consumption in your favor will give you a sense of power and a freed mind, leaving room for you to create and experience life without constantly filling your cup to the top with someone else’s sugar.

Any thoughts or suggestions for me?
Incentives, added discounts or is it purely psychological??