When I meet most people and they hear what I do, the typical first response is “Wow. I sure could use you to clean up my house!” This is usually followed by a hearty laugh and a comment that may vary, but pretty much involves a claim that she is a hoarder with a conviction that the town where she lives will most certainly call the Board of Health and have her evicted if they ever discovered the condition of her home.
Please note, I say “she” when referring to these acquaintances because most of these self-proclaimed pack rats are women. My response invariably goes something like “I am sure it is not that bad!” Well, maybe these women are right…maybe they are borderline hoarders (although I doubt it) and I am probably right when I claim that their situation is not as bad as they think. Here is the simple truth; most of us have way too much stuff. Yes, even me…a downsizing expert with a really messy garage.
Here is what I would like to say to all the people who feel they are about to be swallowed up by their possessions; is it important enough to you to want to change the way you live? If it is, if your clutter is out of control and makes you inefficient, saps your energy or inhibits you from having friends over, you might want to tackle this beast. If your clutter is a minor annoyance that you can joke about, acknowledge that and move on. How we live should be a reflection of the character traits that make us who we are. We can’t all be Marie Kondo (author of the best selling book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up), nor do we want to be! Give yourself permission to be who you are.
So, what if your clutter does impact your life in negative ways? What if your home has become a collection of possessions that are no longer important to you or don’t fit comfortably in your home? Here is my simple answer; do what you would do when any situation in your life becomes out of control. Get help. You wouldn’t hesitate to call a plumber or an accountant if you needed one, so find the right person to help you de-clutter. For many, it can be a trusted friend or family member and for others, it is hiring an expert. Either way, you have taken the first step in making your home a reflection of who you are and who you want to be. And the next time you see me, tell me about your progress. I will be so happy for you and maybe it will motivate me to clean out my garage!