March 10, 2014

Reader Question – How is it possible to live with clutter and not see it?

Photo by imagerymajestic
This question usually gets asked by a family member who is tired of looking at clutter that belongs to someone else. The next question often asked is “How do I make [the person] get rid of the stuff?
There are a few issues to consider:
1.   There are people who truly don’t see clutter because they are so distracted by everything in their environment.  People with attention deficits often walk right past piles that others find annoying. It’s not that they’re better at ignoring clutter; they just don’t “see” it.
2.   There are people who are so overwhelmed by all the stuff surrounding them that they just stop seeing it. Bring it to their attention and they admit that it causes them anxiety.
3.   There are people who enjoy having lots of stuff around them. Where others might feel crushed by the weight of the clutter, these individuals feel that their possessions bring them comfort.
Regardless of the reason people keep things, you cannot make anyone get rid of things they value. You can coach and encourage, but forcing someone to let go of things when he or she isn’t ready will not work. A neutral party, like a Professional Organizer, can help you come to some agreements that everyone can live with.
National Clutter Awareness Week is the fourth week of March. Will you bring attention to clutter in your environment?

Organized by Marcie TM: Save time and money by letting go of what you don't need and finding room for what you value
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