How Clutter Breaks Us Down
Why that seemingly harmless mess in the garage may win in the end
We’ve talked about it before. In this age of Amazon deliveries and on-demand services, even the most efficient and clean folks among us find themselves swimming in a sea of cardboard and packing material. It’s not just internet commerce though. Sometimes we inherit a mess from a loved one who has passed. Other times, we try to downsize or move homes, only to find that our organizing system and our junk has no place in the new house.
There’s a pattern that becomes clear when you see this process carried out enough times. The hope here is that you can see these warning signs to create awareness of an impending issue. That will give you a fighting chance to beat the mess before it swallows you whole.
Think I’m being dramatic? Then maybe you don’t personally have the problem. I guarantee someone you love is suffering silently under their own junk pile. Use this blog to help them out. Maybe they will return the favor when you are in need.
How Clutter Makes You Feel
We don’t always know how it happened, but our reaction to is similar from person to person. It doesn’t matter the reason for the mess, what matters is that we can identify and mitigate its symptoms.
Like all effective stresses and anxieties, the fear of the worsening of the situation fuels the stress. The more you look into the future and anticipate the worsening junk pile, the more stressed you become.
It is hard work to clean up our messes, let alone to stop them from happening. Many of us are physically unable to overcome the junk. Things like old couches or an old refrigerator become looming, immovable objects that feed our fear of our worsening situation.
If you’re blessed enough to have the physical and emotional strength to clean up your crowded garage or to sort through your loved one’s estate, most folks don’t have the time to do the job right. Many don’t have time to do the job at all.
As the stress grows, so does the embarrassment. No one wants to lift that garage door when they know the neighbors might see what’s behind it. Messes make it appear as though we don’t know how to manage our own lives. They make us look dirty or lazy.
We start to feel like everyone else is cleaner, more organized, better. We don’t see each other’s messes, and we don’t talk about them, so soon it begins to feel as though you are the only one with this “lazy” and “dirty” problem. It feels like personal weakness, even though millions of us have this problem.
Eventually, the embarrassment leads to isolation. Once we’ve been isolated –– cut off from the folks who can help us better the situation –– we’ve lost the battle. The next and most unfortunate step becomes inevitable.
The mess feeds the stress. The stress feeds the embarrassment. The embarrassment leads to isolation. And next? We throw in the towel. We give up.
Not caring is the easiest way to deal with the embarrassment and stress. You eventually start convincing yourself that it doesn’t matter. Why care about being apathetic (yes, we see the irony there)? Isn’t it better to “not care,” than to stress and worry?
It’s a problem because apathy leads to a worsening mess. As soon as you “don’t care,” you will start adding to the pile. You will become blind to the growing, worsening situation. Once you’ve become apathetic, the junk has won.
Stop the Cycle
One. Hire help. Call a friend. Ask a nice neighbor. I use Go Trashy, the on-demand junk removal app. It doesn’t matter if it’s an old couch or yard debris, Go Trashy lets you snap a pic of the stuff, then you get an upfront price as you select your prefered hauler. A couple hours later, the mess is gone.
Two. Create a plan. Sometimes a sibling or a good friend can be your best ally here. Be honest with them about the help you need, and then offer to help them with one of their biggest pain points. Work together to keep each other accountable and progressing toward a better life.
Three. Pay it forward. Show your mess to the world and let others know that they are not alone. Everyone has embarrassing junk that needs to be cleared out. Or go over to that longtime neighbor of yours and politely offer to help them sort through the storage shed out back. Most of us want to be better.
Go Trashy is on-demand junk removal
You snap a pic of the stuff you want gone
You get upfront prices from background-checked Providers
You select your Provider and your stuff is gone within hours