It is there, waiting for you. Every time you walk past That Room, you can feel IT behind that door. The Clutter. Where do you even begin?! You can feel the anxiety broiling inside you. You are about to turn on your heel and walk away, the word "Nope" already half-formed on your lips.
STOP! It doesn't have to be like that! Who says stuff is your boss? It isn't!
Does looking at your cluttered area make you feel like running away? Cindy Glovinsky (2004), author of One thing at a time: 100 Simple ways to live clutter-free every day suggests countering every desire to run away or negative thought by saying or thinking, “Breathe”.
“I can’t do this,” you think. “Breathe,” you remind yourself. “It shouldn’t be this hard!” you wail. “Breathe,” you state. When you are calm once more, then you may start to make changes to the cluttered space.
Dr. David Stoop (2017), author of You are what you think: Using positive self-talk to change your life, teaches that what we believe to be true forms our thought patterns, our self-talk. “These thoughts are causes of our emotional and behavioral responses”, (p. 31). He further asserts that the first step to breaking the cycle of anxiety and worry is to “make a conscious choice to change your attitude, your behaviors, and your Self-Talk” (p. 150). This means that when the Nope starts to strike your ability to cope and make changes, it may be time to reflect on and change your Self-Talk.
Are thoughts like, “I’m a horrible person for letting it get this way,” part of what forms your Nope? Stoop (2017) suggests doing something, “no matter how small a step it is” (p. 118), to break the cycle of depression. In the case of your disorganized space, try picking up one thing, and only one thing. Does the item need to go somewhere else in your home, or within the same room but in a different location? Or, are you planning on getting rid of the item? If so, move it to the space in which you gather items for donation. Done! You made one decision about one thing and acted on it. Once you have made the very first decision, which can be one of the hardest, you can start making more decisions about other things. If you need emotional support, and/or physical assistance, ask a loved one or a professional to assist you, or even better, both.
Glovinsky, C. (2004). One thing at a time: 100 Simple ways to live clutter-free every day. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.
Stoop, D. (2017). You are what you think: Using positive self-talk to change your life. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell