June 02, 2008

Now You See It, Now You Don’t

People frequently ask me how someone can live with clutter and not recognize it. The truth is that some people actually don’t see the clutter around them. Clutter generally takes some time to build up and when it becomes too much for the person to deal with, he or she learns to ignore it. After a while, the person becomes accustomed to the mess and doesn’t recognize it for what it is.

People don’t recognize their situation due to cognitive dissonance, which means that what one believes and what is true aren’t connected. Therefore, someone who lives in chaotic surroundings may believe that everything is fine until someone else calls attention to it.

While the person living with clutter may have some awareness of the problem, he or she hasn’t accepted it and is in a state of denial. In other words, the person has begun to accept the abnormal as normal. Often, it is too painful for the individual to think about the situation and when an outsider comments on the cluttered home or office, it may be easier to ignore the comment than to break the habit of ignoring the clutter.

If you know someone who resists facing clutter at home or work, realize that it is hard to change habits. You can help by asking what you can do to make the person more comfortable in making the change to a less cluttered environment.

Organized by Marcie: Getting you organized so you have time to do what you love to do!

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