Have you ever watched the TV show Hoarders?
It’s about people who hold on to possessions, knick knacks, and even garbage forever, completely filling up their houses with junk.
OK, so it’s sensational reality TV, but I can’t turn away from these train wrecks! The clutter inside their homes is a reflection of the clutter that’s in their minds. Their inner hurt and despair is manifested in the obsessive disorder of hoarding.
So, you may not have a TV crew following you around or dozens of volunteers cleaning out your house, but I bet you have your own clutter problem.
Take a quick look around your home. Do you see certain spaces that are clutter magnets? Do messy areas reflect another kind of mess you’re dealing with in your head?
Here are some of the most common types of clutter and how they show up in physical and emotional ways in your life.
- Definition: Clutter that controls you through fear.
- Physical: The business suits you wore at an old job that you might need again if you fail at what you’re doing now; the clothes in your closet that are 2 sizes too large but you might need them if you regain the weight you lost.
- Emotional: Beliefs about yourself and how you’re going to fail eventually (“I love my cupcake business, but when it fails, I can always go back to accounting”).
- Definition: Clutter that you hold on to out of an obligation (real or imagined) to another person.
- Physical: Terrible Christmas sweaters from Aunt Mildred; your grandmother’s wedding china that she wanted you to have but you think it’s tacky.
- Emotional: Staying at an unfulfilling job because the people are nice or someone recommended you for the position; staying with someone you don’t love anymore because your mom likes him/her.
Security Blanket Clutter
- Definition: Clutter that you believe protects you like a security blanket or shield.
- Physical: Any clothes that you don’t wear anymore but they remind you of when your life was “perfect”; dozens of books you don’t read but at least books won’t hurt you the way people do.
- Emotional: Friendship with people who “protect you for your own good” and want you to play small; deciding that you’re not going to date anyone because it’s not safe and familiar.
- Definition: Clutter that is so ingrained into your daily life that you don’t even notice it anymore.
- Physical: The pile of bills and papers on your kitchen table that you’ve never sorted through; anything you bought that you planned to use but instead it stayed unopened in its box for months…or years.
- Emotional: The endless stream of negative self-talk going on in your head (“You’re such a loser! You messed up again!”) that’s become such a part of you that you don’t notice how negative you’re being.
- Definition: Clutter that doesn’t represent the true you, but rather, the ideal version of you that you or other people want you to be.
- Physical: High-heeled shoes when you prefer flats; music, movies, or activities that everyone else likes but you can’t seem to make yourself enjoy no matter how hard you try.
- Emotional: Acting like a caricature of something you’re not (dumb bimbo, brainy nerd, zen goddess); feeling like you’ve lost what it means to be you.
“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” Albert Einstein. Tweet this!
Although it’s easier to clean up the physical clutter, it’s sure to return if you don’t examine the underlying emotion clutter that caused it.
Want some help cleaning up your life’s clutter? Get your free Ready, Set, Go! coaching call with me and we’ll make a plan to get you organized.
What type of clutter do you notice in your life?