ATTENTION! This is for those of you who need to address some serious clutter issues! You know you need to but you keep putting it off. No more! Get to this ASAP! Let me explain why. Yesterday I was working with a client who I have done a few projects for. She is a lovely woman in her early 60’s who lives on her own and works full-time. Her home, which she has lived for the past 25 years, is beautiful. It is very welcoming and cozy. On the surface it looks very clean and tidy. But, once you look in the cupboards and closets (of which there are many!) you will see complete clutter and chaos. I went over yesterday to work on our current project, her two hallway linen closets.
Automatically, my assumption is that she probably has things in here that haven’t seen the light of day for 20-25 years. Most of which is old medications, beauty products, hair, bath and body care, far past expiration, that will need to be tossed. She however, like a lot of clients, is reluctant to even begin the process of going through it. These areas of her home are attached to emotional feelings like shame, embarrassment, failure etc. and are difficult to confront, it doesn’t even matter what the stuff is. Subliminally, the STUFF acts as a sort of layer of protection. Unfortunately, this negative energy is a part of your house and you need to get confront it and move it on out.
While I always like to remain empathetic to the client, I also have to move right on in and begin. I take out all items shelf by shelf and before you know it, we are onto our second Hefty bag and moving quickly. As I had suspected, I found old hairdryers, curlers, toothbrushes, heating pads, 23 tubes of toothpaste and loads of unused STUFF that just needed to be tossed. I also found good things that just needed to be categorized, organized and made accessible.
I then proceeded onto the linen cabinet. As I started to pull out OLD sheets and towels (that had not been used in 25 years) I noticed something strange. It looked like old diapers. Then I saw the hole in the wall. And then, I spotted mouse feces. Now, rodents are not something I’ve ever had to face head on with a client before, but I remained very calm since I knew this was going to embarrass her and potentially affect, or even halt, this process.
I calmly and quickly proceeded to throw everything away and clean up the mess and reassured her that this was going to be fine. The feces were not fresh so we don’t actually know how long ago this “mouse party” occurred or if dead mice are living in her walls but that, I will leave for her and her pest control company to find out. Everything in the cupboard was trashed except for a few white towels. We found an old piece of ply board in the garage and I covered up the hole, took off the old contact paper and wiped it down clean.
So, my friends, the moral of the story is do not let your clutter take over. We tossed at least 80% of what was in there. She didn’t need it or use it. She was completely unaware that she had mice living in her home, building a nest out of her clutter. Now she knows what can happen if you neglect spaces in your home. With my help, she now has a massive, empty, clean cupboard to put down some pretty contact paper and start over fresh.
Stay on top of your things and you will find that you will be in control of your life in many other ways as well. Stuff does not protect us. It actually holds us back from getting to what we really need to be doing.
Get rid of the things you no longer use! Donate old sheets and towels to animal or homeless shelters. There will never be an occasion where you are going to have a use for 45 old, stained towels. I promise!
If you are just too overwhelmed and don’t even know where to begin, try to get some help. Professional organizers are great as we only see your things as “stuff” and can be 100% objective so we can help you get through the process in a quick and super effective manner. Many offer package deals so it may even be more affordable that you would think.
If you are out of my location, check outhttp://www.napo.net to find a professional organizer in your area.
Move on and let go!