Clutter blindness is a real thing!
How do you know if you suffer from Clutter blindness? Here are 6 clues that you could look for to see if you are a victim of clutter blindness:
1 You have a high tolerance for piles
2 You are a 'Do it later' person
3 Your home is not your sanctuary or a place of retreat
4 Items tend not to have a home
5 Flat surfaces are covered
6 Other people point out your clutter and you are quietly surprised at what they show you
Clutter blindness is NOT caused by laziness.
It is the result of procrastination, fear and overwhelm.
Procrastination, or the 'do it later' tendency, leads to clutter blindness because we will buy something or be given something and when we bring it into our home there is no obvious home for it and so it is given a temporary place on the sideboard, for example. Then one of two things can happen, we use the item for a few times and keep putting it back on the sideboard or we forget about it and it remains in the same spot on the sideboard. By putting off the decision to find a home for the item we have created one more piece of clutter that we no longer see. It is hidden in plain sight, like background noise.
Fear also contributes to clutter blindness. We are scared to acknowledge that there is a problem because we don't actually know how to fix the situation and so it is easier to carry on stepping over the piles than to try to tackle the problem and quite possibly ending up with something worse.
Overwhelm is probably the hardest cause of clutter blindness to deal with. An overwhelming situation can be either confronted or ignored. By confronting the situation you are opening yourself up to mental anguish, hard work and the possibility of failing. By ignoring the situation you can carry on living as you are but with the constant niggle in the background that without change there will be no improvement in your situation.
"When you live surrounded by stagnant energy, it causes a dulling or numbing of emotions. When you start to clear it, you feel more awake and experience life more fully. You begin to rise above the mundane level of existence that clutter keeps you trapped in. You feel more alive" Karen Kingston
This is my landing. The keyboard has a fault so nobody plays it anymore. It was moved out of a bedroom and got no further than here! As it sits here it attracts all sorts of items that have no other home, as you can see we don't stop at putting things on top, we have started putting things underneath too! Today I mentioned that I want to clear the landing. The response -"Why?" Everybody has got so used to NOT looking at it that it is purely background noise! Totally hidden in plain sight!
This is, admittedly, just a small area in my house but when it is repeated time and again throughout your home it can very soon become overpowering.
So, where do you start to conquer clutter blindness? If you recognise yourself in some of the 6 points above, where do you begin?
First of all you need to distance yourself from the problem.
There are a few methods to do this. It is important that you try to view your situation with as little sentiment as possible. If you can, go for a walk and clear your mind as much as possible. This acts as a temporary reset. A bit like walking back into your home after a holiday. You may be able to achieve this by meditation or doing some gardening. The clarity doesn't last for long though so do the next step quickly! When you come back take a proper look at your room, take in items which don't belong in the area, items that are broken, piles of paperwork, anything that strikes you as not being right about the room. Make a note of what stands out most to you and tackle that first. If you notice lots of coffee mugs and plates that should be in the kitchen aim to make this your first step in decluttering the area. Don't aim to do everything in one go, you will perhaps start off enthusiastic but will experience burnout and overwhelm before you have finished.
Another way of getting a detached view of your situation is to take a photograph. Stand in the doorway and take one or two pictures taking in as much of the room as you can. Then view the pictures on the biggest screen you can. As I did with the picture of the keyboard, you will see things in the picture that you don't notice in reality! Again, look at what stands out to you most and tackle that one thing. Don't overface yourself or you will give up.
Finally,you can engage the services of a professional who can come and work with you through your clutter and set up organisation systems that are personal to you and your situation.
By the way - the landing is now clear! We have re-homed some items, put some for donation and loaded the car up for a trip to the tip. I've hoovered, dusted and tried to wipe down the walls which have lots of fingerprints on them around the doors and switches! I will put the before and after pictures on my Instagram page!
You can contact me via my email firstname.lastname@example.org or using the chat bubble on my website, I would love to help you!
You can message me on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Linda-J-Harper-Professional-Declutterer-and-Organiser-107805011001601.
I am also on Pinterest and Instagram if you need some inspiration! https://www.pinterest.co.uk/adnilenaj1314/boards/
I have also just rebooted my Etsy shop! https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/PrettyOrganisedToots