The goal of the ancient Chinese art of feng shui is to live in harmony with your surroundings. Carol Wheelock, M. Ed., is an interior designer who incorporates feng shui practices into her work.
She believes one of the reasons that people clutter is not trusting what the future will bring. Even though they may not use something, or wear something, they keep stuff around ‘just in case.’
Dr. Seth Meyers is a licensed psychologist and author who once explained on a Good Morning America segment that clutter is often a sign of bigger issues. Tons of unwanted clothes in a closet may fill an emotional void, and boxes filled with unfinished projects could mean a fear of making wrong decisions. Whatever the case may be “the end result,” as my old acting coach Brandice would say, is just that, “the end result.”
Cluttering results in clutter.
My Approach to Clutter
When I meet with clients, one of the things I do is make them see each item separately in full view. I ask them do they want it or have they used it in the last year.
It’s a yes or no answer and if they have to take a few seconds to respond I create a ‘Will Get Back To’ pile which they can easily sort through once we are done. To take it one step further, Marie Kondo, the author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing which is a bestseller in Japan and Europe, says throw it out if it doesn’t bring you joy. There is a 3-month wait for her services!
On my very first day on the job as a room organizer, my client hugged me 4 times and must have verbally thanked me a dozen for the work I was doing in her basement. I started by simply organizing a couple of bathroom shelves, then a linen closet, followed by the first stage of the basement laundry room, which by the way doubled as her workout room!
“I changed her life” as she put it, and that was only the beginning. It was December 31st and both my client and I started our New Year getting organized. She got a clutter-free basement and a clear mind, and as for me, I was well on my way to starting my business as an organizer.
I’ve always been a neat freak. My sister-in-law once asked me if I was compulsively neat like my brother, and my answer was along the line of “more so.” While doing my research for this article, I compiled lots of data on why people clutter.
I found that one of the many reasons is that it empowers them. Well, I started thinking about this and came to the conclusion that the same could be said for why people like me compulsively organize—it empowers us. I guess we both need each other.
My sister, who actually referred me to my first client, rolled her eyes and laughed when I told her that seeing my work-in-progress, and final project, was like looking at art, my art. After I realized what I said, or maybe it was just how I said it, I laughed too. Organizing other people’s things gives me a sense of fulfillment in being able to accomplish a task while being creative and, at the same time, bringing joy to someone else.
There is a euphoric feeling of liberation in getting organized and rid of clutter. There is a sense of newness of space. When I organized my sister’s basement and created a sports court, it inspired her to work out.
She happened to mention how happy she is with her new space to a fellow soccer mom and that’s how I got my first client. I won’t make you throw out anything that doesn’t bring you complete joy because I know that working with you through the process will bring joy.