Staying Organized and Stress-Free, Part 1

How would you like to know how to seize control of clutter and stay organized for years to come?

Disorganisation is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “a state in which everything is out of order”.

When a person is disorganised, he often spends twice or thrice as much time looking for things that should otherwise be easy to find. He also feels periodically overwhelmed by the bourgeoning amount of clutter that he has to contend with on a daily basis.

Adults and children have different tolerance levels for clutter. Young children often don’t realize that there’s clutter in front of them unless an adult points it out. This is due to their age and their cognitive maturity.

Some adults who live in perpetual clutter claim that disorganization don’t bother them at all. Unless a person is suffering from conditions like compulsive hoarding, clutter is a major stressor that can cause substantial grief and stress to a family.

How organized are you?

Not everyone is an expert at staying organised, but some individuals need more help than others. To gauge your organisation skills, I’ve created a short list of items that you must grade from 0-3, with 0 being “no that’s not me” and 3 being “yes, this is exactly me!”. 1’s and 2’s represent the middle range (“this is sometimes true”).

  1. You find it difficult to find things at home because of the volume of stuff you have and how they are arranged/stored inside your house.
  1. When you open a drawer to look for something, it takes you more than 10 minutes to find what you need because of the clutter.
  1. You find it difficult to come early or on time for scheduled events and appointments.
  1. Procrastination is your middle name.
  1. Paying bills is often a monthly exercise of asking “how many weeks do I have before this company starts calling?”
  1. Family members, close friends or even colleagues are telling you to do something about the clutter you make at home or at work. You feel bad most of the time, but you feel that it’s hopeless or not worth your time.
  1. You are chronically stressed by clutter at home and wished it would just go away.
  1. You have a tendency to buy 2 or more copies of the same item so you wouldn’t have to spend time looking for the ones you misplaced.
  1. You don’t normally use lists because you think they don’t work.
  1. You often think that it’s going to take too much time to fix your clutter, so you let the clutter be.

Analysis:

Each person has a certain degree of disorganisation.

However, if the disorganisation is already causing chronic stress then you have to do something about it right away. If you answered more than 3 items on the list with a 3, you need to step up your game and start remedying your clutter issues. This current series will help you achieve that.

What’s the first step?

To beat down your clutter problems, you need to know why you have a tendency to cling to too much stuff. Here are some of the common excuses that people use to justify their clutter-field lives:

  1. “What if I suddenly need this one day?”
  1. “My mother gave this to me when I was 5 years old”
  1. “Someone out there will pay good money for this thing”
  1. “I can find something to match this someday”
  1. “Right now it’s broken but one day I will have it fixed and it’s going to work perfectly again”
  1. “If I lose enough weight, this is going to look so good on me again”
  1. “I’m sure that one of my kids will want to hand this down to their kids in 20 years or so”
  1. “It’s such a waste to throw it away, I bought it bargain price”
  1. “One day this is going to be a collectible and I’m going to have a true treasure sitting at home”
  1. “One day I’m going to have enough free time to start reading again, I want this to be there on that day”

If you find yourself making these excuses every single time you want to get organised, you’re only making things more complicated because you’re actually allowing the disorganisation to continue.

You need to stop rationalising your old habits if you want to make any progress in getting organized. If you allow yourself to hold on to really old and nonfunctional items now, there’s no way you can guarantee yourself a clutter-free future.