Helping People with the Process of Elimination
I do a lot of speaking gigs and I always leave the event knowing that there is an unmet need and that I have been given a gift and a purpose that provides relief from the pain. As a professional organizer, I help people clear clutter, get intentional, and regain control over their STUFF. In short, I help people through the process of elimination. I ask my clients three simple questions to help them decide what stays and what goes:
1) Do you love it?
2) Do you use it?
3) Does it serve you well?
Once those questions have been answered, making a decision to keep, toss, recycle, or donate becomes much easier.
What I often hear in the voices of my audience members, or see in their eyes, is that many people are consumed by their stuff. The stuff in their spaces; the stuff in their lives; and the stuff on their calendars. And all this stuff is sucking the life out of them.
I also see embarrassment around clutter and overwhelm. Additionally, people often have strong emotional ties to stuff. To complicate matters even further, there are feelings of guilt and shame associated with the money spent accumulating the stuff. In short, their stuff owns them, instead of the other way around.
Stuff comes in all shapes and sizes. It could be clothes, shoes, purses, baseball caps, tools, paperwork, schoolwork, medical records, family memorabilia, collections, decorations, and “great deals.” It could also be volunteering activities, church commitments, charity boards, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, etc. It could be jobs or people that suck the life out of us. The list of “things” that clutter our lives goes on and on. The goal is not to necessarily eliminate all of those things, but to become very intentional about what we allow in our space, what we allow in our lives, and on our calendars, and with whom we share our precious time. By getting intentional, the process of elimination becomes almost effortless.
I often get asked, “How do I even start to deal with my problem of ‘too much stuff’?”
And my answer is always this, “Start small.” I do not care how small, perhaps a drawer, or the car, or the trunk of the car, but you must start and you must finish one project. Starting and not finishing an organizing project is a recipe for disaster. When we do this, we give ourselves license to beat up and bad talk ourselves, which compounds feelings of overwhelm, stress, and failure. I warn my clients that things look worse before they look better, so it is vitally important to stay committed to the process of going from A to Z. There are no magic fixes here, and adequate time must be allocated for every organizing task, regardless of the size of the project.
The process of elimination in the simple sense, provides a much needed momentum shift. Clearing clutter also provides an immediate visual impact that reinforces that we are on the right track, the road to less clutter. I liken clearing clutter to going on a diet and losing 100 pounds on the first day. You WILL feel lighter! You will feel emPOWERed! You WILL overcome the overwhelm! Just start and finish one project, and then with clear intentions, move on to the next.
If you are struggling with too much stuff and your home, your office, or your calendar is filled with people and things that suck the life out of you, then it is time to stop the clutter cycle and regain control. Put away the shame, put away the guilt, remove the facade, quiet the ego, and for goodness’ sake get some help!
Breathing is a good thing, and clearing space will give you the room you need to take in a full, deep, cleansing breath.
Andrea Brundage is a Professional Organizer and a Bringer of Calm. When you want compassionate guidance and gentle care, and when you are ready to fully breath again, contact her. The question is this: Are you ready to turn your “Chaos into Calm” ? Request an appointment at http://www.ProfessionalOrganizerAZ.com/get-started.