Woman stressed
    5 Wild Emotions When Dealing with Clutter

While working with clients who have clutter, I have noticed the many different emotions they go through. This week, one of my clients was crying from feeling so overwhelmed. I had a business lunch planned but quickly cancelled my attendance because I knew she needed me to be there for her. After the organizing session, she was hugging me with joy. Another client this week went from feeling embarrassed and lost, to having tears of joy. She was so excited to have her little girl’s room decluttered and organized and couldn’t wait to surprise her daughter. Because emotions run high for those with clutter, I want to share some of the unwanted emotions that I have personally witnessed with my clients. I also want to share some tips on how to avoid those negative emotions.

1. Overwhelm/Anxiety:– What I hear the most is that any time a client walks into a room that is cluttered they are overwhelmed and sometime they suffer from anxiety.

Tip: Often the reason for being overwhelmed or having anxiety is because they do not know where to start. Start small. Don’t look at the whole room, but instead focus on doing one small area. Pick one corner or one shelf and go through the items to determine if any of it can be thrown out, recycled, donated or sold. Once that area is done, move on to the next shelf or another area that is close by.

2. Sadness: Those with a lot of clutter often feel sad, and may suffer from depression. They often feel bad for family members who also have to deal with the clutter, and feel isolated if they can not invite friends and family members over. It is most upsetting when their children can not invite friends over.

Tip: Rather than feeling sad, focus on how you can make a difference. Write down your goals and focus on one goal at a time (ex. Kitchen area, bedroom closet, storage room, basement etc.) When would you like to complete that goal? Take a few minutes and schedule time in a planner to complete your goal.

3. Disappointment: If you have clutter, you may feel disappointed in yourself because you can’t keep up with clearing the clutter and keeping your home clean. You may even feel like a failure.

Tip: It is all about your mindset. You are not a failure and don’t think that you are. Having clutter is very common. You are not alone. To prevent clutter, there are tools and systems that can be put into place so you can change the behaviour of creating piles, not putting things away, and cleaning up. A professional organizer can help you with creating a system that works for you.

4. Frustration: Can you relate to going in to one room and feeling frustrated by the clutter, and then walking out and going into another room and also feeling frustration? I have spoken to clients that said they were frustrated because they get some things organized and then in a few days, it is back to being disorganized again.

Tip: In order to become less frustrated, you have to keep on top of your clutter. For example, once you have your kitchen counters cleared and cleaned, you have to make a point of clearing it every day and wiping it down. Same goes for other areas of your home. Take a few minutes before you go to bed and make sure everything is in its home. Don’t leave things piled on the staircase or in corners.

5. Embarrassed: Often the first thing I hear from clients when I walk into their home is how embarrassed they are.

Tip: Don’t be embarrassed. Instead focus on making changes. Also, if you decide to hire a professional organizer, not to worry, we have seen it all and it doesn’t faze us one bit. We are there to help you get your home clutter free and organized so that you can feel peace while being in your own home.

If you have clutter and experience any of these emotions, I would love for you to leave a comment and share your story. Remember you are not alone, and if you feel that you are not able to clear the clutter on your own, there is help out there for you. Just ask for the help and you will feel so much better once you are organized.

Until next time,

Kathy McEwan is a professional organizer who helps her clients go from feeling overwhelm to finding peace. If you would like more information, please visit her website at www.secondsetofhands.ca and her facebook page www.facebook.com/secondsetofhandsconciergeottawa

10 replies
  1. Linda Samuels
    Linda Samuels says:

    I love how you talk about the emotions that can surface during the organizing process. And you’ve given some good strategies to help work through some of the difficult emotions. I like how you’ve normalized the feelings that can surface…and the idea of focusing on not what was, but how to move forward. Just beautiful.

  2. Seana Turner
    Seana Turner says:

    Love this post, Kathy. I agree with Linda… love that you have shown how normal these feelings are. We all have them at times, and the messaging we give ourselves greatly influences how we will respond. Mindset is everything!

  3. Sabrina Quairoli
    Sabrina Quairoli says:

    Great information, Kathy. I agree that everything needs to have a home and the item needs to return to its home after using it. It’s a mantra I keep reminding my kids. They haven’t quite understood the importance of this yet. Hopefully, one day. Thank you for sharing.

    • Kathy McEwan
      Kathy McEwan says:

      Thanks Sabrina, I have 5 children and I can tell you, even as adults they still did not return all things back to their home. Maybe you will have better luck than I did lol

  4. Liana George
    Liana George says:

    I think you did a great job of identifying the many emotions that our clients feel. So many times we try to tell them “It’s okay” but in all honesty we need to let them have their emotions, even if they aren’t pretty. It’s part of the organizing process to move from “negative” emotions to “positive” ones and that’s why we are there to help! Loved the strategies you share too. Great post!!

  5. Karen Sprinkle
    Karen Sprinkle says:

    Excellent post. As I was reading this, my garden clutter (a.k.a. weeds) came to mind. I’m feeling many of those emotions when I go outside right now. I had a bicep tendon injury about this time last year that made weeding very difficult. By the time it had healed – late August, I had lost interest in the garden.

    • Kathy McEwan
      Kathy McEwan says:

      Thanks Karen, I hope you are well enough now to tackle your weeds.I know what you mean. I remember when my grandmother started to get older and she was not able to tend to her garden. She always had a beautiful garden so when she got to that point of not being able to do it, it broke my heart.


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