Dealing with your clutter is good for your life
I know your clutter, and I know its impact on your life. I know the confusion you feel about how to get rid of certain things, not sure if something is valuable, recyclable, re-usable, worth holding on to, or just plain junk. I know this process can be paralyzing. I know how easy it is to rationalize holding on to things you really don’t want, like or need.
I know it can be embarrassing. I know you may not have people over as often as you’d like because you’re beyond “just straightening up for company.” I know how isolating that can feel. I know how it feels to fall behind on your bills and rack up late fees because you haven’t gone through your mail in months. I know you overspend at the grocery store, mainly because you have absolutely no idea what’s in your fridge or your pantry at home.
I know how depressing it can be. I know that feeling of isolation feeds on itself, perpetuating helplessness, despair and the kind of hopelessness that comes with inevitable defeat. I know these feelings develop into subtle thought patterns that progress into unspoken personal beliefs that advance into rationalization and justification for giving up altogether on wide swaths of your life. I know that is a slippery slope — one that leads to avoidance and destructive behaviors. I know what kind of long-term impact this can have on the health and well-being of an individual — and on the family. I know that once children normalize this environment, they inherit the conditions that keep it going, generation after generation.
I know you wish you could snap your fingers and start all over again — with a smaller place and just the handful of things you absolutely love. I’m here to tell you, you can. I know, because I’ve done it myself.
As much as you love your little collections of things (shoes, jackets, bags, fill in the blank), I know you fantasize about a simple life, without all the excess. I know you really only love about 20 percent of your stuff. I know about 80 percent of your space is occupied storing the stuff you really don’t love, and rarely, if ever, actually use. I know the psychological, emotional, physical, spiritual, intellectual and financial impact this has on you, and on your family.
I know about the resentment you feel from tidying up all the time. I know the love-hate relationship you have with your stuff. I know about your shop therapy. I know the exhilaration you feel when you buy something new. I know the sense of euphoria you have when you walk into an immaculate hotel room for the first time, knowing it’s a clean slate, a blank canvas, a clutter-free haven, at least until you unpack.
I’ll tell you what else I know. Chronic clutter is not good for you. I know it can lead to seriously harmful conditions affecting your health and well-being, and that of your children. I know there is definitive evidence linking chronically cluttered spaces to a decrease in motivation, self-esteem and optimism — as well as an increase in stress, anxiety, obesity, depression, substance abuse, domestic violence, social isolationism, obsessive compulsive disorders, and countless other debilitating (and often preventable) conditions.
I know there are conclusive studies showing that kids who grow up in chronically cluttered spaces are exponentially more likely to live in persistent clutter as adults. I know there is wide consensus among the medical community, affirming that the part of the brain that manages executive function, specifically creative problem-solving and complex thought, is significantly less effective in chronically cluttered environments.
Now is your time to pull yourself together and do something about it.
Evan Zislis is founder and principal consultant of http://www.MyIntentionalSolutions.com, delivering hands-on organizational solutions and strategies consulting for households, businesses, teachers, and life transitions. His bestselling book, ClutterFree Revolution: Simplify Your Stuff, Organize Your Life & Save the World is available on Amazon. For more information about simplifying your stuff and organizing your life, LIKE ClutterFree Revolution on Facebook, call 970-366-2532, or email Evan@MyIntentionalSolutions.com.
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