Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The personal psychology of de-cluttering

As I mentioned previously, I come from a long, proud line of packrats. So what would cause me to go against my genetic grain and attempt to reorder my DNA to de-clutter?

Hoarding, some psychologists say, is a means for the hoarder to maintain some semblance of control in their life. Attachment to things becomes a thread of emotional security. For instance, if a beloved family member passes away, keeping all of their personal belongings is a way of keeping the connection strong; death is uncontrollable, but keeping stuff is. The irony is that clutter frequently makes things less controlled, so there is a spiral of failure waiting to suck you down.

De-cluttering, as it goes against the grain for me, is my own control mechanism. Life becoming overwhelming? Feeling stressed out? I can't control the situation I am in, but I can control the clutter within my house. Break out the garbage bins! Start the donation pile! It is time to de-clutter!

And, sure enough, I'm in the midst of a tumultuous time. I've organized two events within the past 3 months for over 300 people total. I've had my wisdom teeth removed. I've made some large purchases in the form of a new car and a travel trailer. I'm trying to refinance an investment property. Long to-do lists: I have them. All of this has left me (and my loving and patient husband) feeling wiped out and stressed out.

It has also left our house a bit of a wreck. Cleaning and tidying has moved down the priority list and it shows. As my circumstances leave me feeling overwhelmed and out of control, I seek to gain control of some aspect of my life. My house doesn't look like house beautiful. Target sighted.

Recognizing the impulse behind this does not mean the project loses credibility. Rather, I want to be aware of my motivations. The project will go forward. And you never know. Maybe I will feel better for doing it. Certainly having a more organized and beautiful house can't be all bad!

No comments:

Post a Comment