Neat Freaks Have Clutter Too
If you consider yourself a neat freak without clutter issues, you might think again. We often think of people with clutter issues as those seen on an episode off TLC’s Hoarders, but clutter can show up in seemingly neat and tidy environments too. It’s just organized clutter.
Just because your closets are organized doesn’t mean there’s not stuff in there that’s keeping you stuck. It just means your stuff is properly folded and correctly labeled. And you’ve probably been that much more strategic in storing and organizing your clutter out of sight.
It only takes one item with your vice grip on it to keep you stuck. It’s not about the quantity of cluttered items you have, but the amount of emotional holding of the items you have.
Organizing is a way of exerting control, which can be a good thing. But when it’s out of balance, then it can start to take over you. The paradox is that those who are the most organized actually feel the most out of control. Their tidy environment gives them a sense of being in control of their world. But it also covers the pain of feeling out of control. This could mean not living the life you want to be living or being in a life you don’t want to be in.
In an overly tidy environment, the analytical left-brain is fully in charge, preventing the emotional right brain to play.
If you decide you would prefer less structure and embrace a more creative life, then working with your home is a great place to start. It’s not so much about getting less organized as it is noticing what drives your desire for organization. Notice what emotions come up when you see the dishes in the sink. Catch yourself in the moment. Notice your desire for order. At the root is the feeling of having no control in your life, or at least in some area of your life.
In the same way the overly messy person distracts their emotions with stuff, the overly neat person tricks everyone, including themselves, into thinking they live the perfect life. They may even pride themselves on being clutter free. If this feels like you, try leaving items sitting out more often than usual. This may not be a permanent desire for your home environment, but it may trigger the underlying emotions that are really at issue.
Neat freaks may also experience the opposite problem of clutterbugs and that is getting rid of too much. I occasionally have clients whose homes are sparse and void of any personality. You may know someone like this. When you go to their home, it feels stark and cold.
Releasing too much is as much of an issue as holding on to too much. Balance is the key. The goal of a clutter intervention is not to achieve minimalism necessarily, but instead to create a supportive environment that expresses you and functions well for you and your family.