I believe that getting rid of clutter is all in your head.
Once when I was advertising for one of my home organizing master classes, I got a comment that said something like:
“Decluttering isn’t hard. You just purge, purge, purge! Nobody needs a class on this!”
While that person is certainly entitled to their opinion, I respectfully, yet forcefully disagree. And science backs me up.
It’s been said that “Clutter is just delayed decisions.” (Actually, Barbara Hemphill of the Productive Environment Institute coined the phrase “clutter is postponed decisions.”)
This is absolutely true. Clutter is any item that is somewhere it doesn’t belong. The problem is, most of us haven’t DECIDED where things belong. Thus, all of our stuff piles up in corners and on desks and on floors, bookshelves, and everywhere else.
So what’s so hard about making a decision?
It turns out, there’s a lot that’s hard about it.
In fact, making a decision is one of the biggest energy drains on our brains. And as explained in this post (The Real Reason You Feel So Overwhelmed), your brain does everything it can to conserve energy.
Making a decision is one of the things that takes up the most energy for our brains.melissa b. howell
In the book The Source: The Secrets of the Universe, the Science of the Brain by Dr. Tara Swart, she explains that logical decision-making is very energy-intensive for our brains. And the point of actually making a decision uses the most energy–not all the thoughts that come before it.
So if you ever find yourself thinking and thinking and thinking, but unable to make a decision, it’s because your brain is trying to conserve energy by avoiding the thing that uses up the most energy– actually making a decision.
But when you push past the struggle and make a decision, something magical happens. It’s almost like your brain can finally relax and move on to other things in your life.
And this is exactly what happens when you declutter your home. Once you put forth the effort of deciding where everything goes, it frees up your brain for more important things.
But here’s the key: Decide once, and then put things where they go, every time.
If you have to decide over and over again, with every new thing that comes into your home, of course it will be filled with clutter. And this is exactly why your home has probably reverted to clutter, even though you’ve probably cleaned it up in the past. Your decisions were temporary. Or you forgot what you decided last time.
There is power that comes with making a decision–even if it turns out to be the wrong one.melissa b. howell
Then at least your brain is freed up to figure out that it was the wrong one! And remember–when you’re getting rid of clutter, rarely will your decisions have life-or-death consequences, so it’s o.k. if you regret some of your decisions. It’s all part of learning!
So is decluttering easy? Not unless you’re one of those magical unicorn types of people for whom it comes naturally.
Do you need to take a class to learn how to do it? Well, my experience is that most people do. This is not something we were taught in school, or at home. But it’s never too late to learn!
It’s time to give your brain what it really wants. Clarity. Certainty. Order. You’ll be astonished at the difference a few decisions will make.
Want help decluttering your home? Watch my free Home Organizing Master Class!
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