by Melinda Massie
One of the things I hear most frequently from anyone trying to get organized is that they don’t know where to start. To help people get over this hump, I wrote and recently published my first e-book, “Fabulous Foothold to Organization: A guide for getting started when you don’t know where to start.” In it I outline the initial process that I use with all of my clients no matter if they’re mildly cluttered or full blown hoarders. Following is an excerpt from my first three tips. These lay a solid foundation with which to build any organizational projects from.
Breathe and Cut Yourself some Slack
First things first: Take a big ole breath!
Take five deep breaths. This helps alleviate the stress you’re feeling from your current state of disorganization and prepare to face it and fix it. Whenever you feel stressed out during this process, come back to a nice, deep breath. It will help you every time.
Next up: cut yourself some slack. Stop all that negative self-talk because it’s not helping. From here forward, I want you to chill out and do the best you can with what you have and where you are. That guilt, blame, shame and stress can be much worse for you than the actual clutter.
NONE of us are perfect. Letting go of clutter and developing new habits to keep you organized takes time. Occasionally, old habits will slide back in like those old man sweats you’ve had for 20 years. They’re ratty and you know you should trash them, but sweet baby Jesus it feels so good when you put them on. Thankfully we eventually open our eyes, catch a glimpse of ourselves in those ratty sweatpants and realize that things need to change.
No harm. No foul. It’s all good as long as you get it back together whenever things try to go awry. Do what you can and that will be fantastic.
Own Your Hot Mess.
There is a very important step that we all have to take before we can truly deal with and release our clutter.
Sunshine, it’s time to own your hot mess.
Now I know that it’s easier to lay blame elsewhere. However the truth is that whatever actions or inactions we’ve been doing have put us in the exact place we are now. So while it may be challenging to take ownership of the hot mess, a beautiful thing happens when we do.
When we know and own that our actions got us here, we also know without a doubt that our actions can fix it.
Confidence in your abilities to dig yourself out is vital to the process and your success. I know without a doubt that with the right attitude and game plan, you can do it. But if you don’t think you can do it, no amount of my help will work.
If you’ve been casting blame onto others for years, this will be very challenging to accept. For those that are cluttered due to illness or other events truly out of your control, you didn’t even have a choice in the actions that led to the hot mess. However, this step isn’t about dwelling in the past or beating ourselves up over letting our home get to its current state. We no longer participate in the blame game – of ourselves or others. We accept these actions/inactions as part of the past and move forward without the mental whippings. No good can come of that anyway.
When you start accepting responsibilities it can be easy to start to beat yourself up again. But remember, we’re not doing that anymore! So when you start to wonder if there’s something wrong with you know that there isn’t.
Why am I telling you this? Because in the vast majority of homes I’m in, the excessive clutter is there to fill up some hole of what is missing. For a moment purchasing things may immediately make you feel better. However, those good feelings are fleeting and over time this is an ineffective technique that only adds to the clutter. Then there’s the downward spiral of negative feelings such as depression, anxiety and guilt that crop up with the clutter. Which makes you feel bad about yourself. Then you purchase more to feel better. Which adds to the clutter.
See where I’m going with this?
Outside objects won’t fix internal problems. Often, they make it worse.
So here it is, Sunshine. Objects will not make you better. They will not make you prettier, richer, or thinner. They won’t love you and they won’t even make you more organized. Most of all, these objects will not make you more worthy.
However, you’re worthy and enough because you have a heartbeat and reside on this earth.
That in and of itself worth celebrating, Sunshine! The more you accept and believe it, the easier the clutter is to shed.
It’s important to have your head in the right place and lay a solid foundation to work upon. Letting go of clutter is often a very emotional process. Having your head in a good place from the start will make help prevent the process from derailing as it goes along.
Want to keep going? “Fabulous Foothold to Organization” is available here: https://sellfy.com/p/vvRq/
Melinda Massie is owner of Organizing with a Side of Fabulous, a professional home organization company based in Fort Worth, TX. She works with mildly cluttered to hoarded people across the country. She was named “Best Personal Organizer” by Fort Worth, TX Magazine and her tips have been featured in Good Housekeeping, Lifehacker, Shape, Woman’s Day, and many other publications.
In addition to helping people with their clutter, Melinda is a writer and teaches courses at the Fort Worth Writer’s Boot Camp.
When not clearing clutter, Melinda performs as a supernumerary with the Fort Worth Opera. She also loves yoga, cooking and eating indulgent foods, and cursing (the words, not evil hexes).
And she especially loves champagne. She believes it should be used for any and all occasions.
Like a Tuesday.
Or to celebrate your organizing makeover!
“Fabulous Foothold to Organization” on sale now: https://sellfy.com/p/vvRq/