8 Perfectly Good Reasons for Staying Cluttered

My heart drops a little when I walk through a house with an organizing customer and I hear these words: “Yeah, I need to go through that.”

I need to go through that.

  • Yes, I need to go through that pile of paperwork on my desk, yet there it sits.

  • Yes, I need to go through my decades of photos and purge, yet there they lie.

  • Yes, I need to go through my closet of clothing I can’t wear, yet there they hang.

I’m great at keeping organized in some areas of my house while others just . . . well, it just takes a lot more effort to make it happen. And no one else can do it for me.

So why haven’t I done it yet?

Here are my 8 good reasons for “I haven’t gone through that yet.” Maybe you will relate to some of these too.

  1. Dread I dread the process. I dread the time it will take, the emotional or brainy decisions it may require of me, and the inevitable mess it will create while I plow through. Plus, I dread slamming into the same indecision I hit last time, knowing there is a real possibility I’ll end up shoving it all back into a box and putting it away again, making no progress at all.

  2. Tired I’m just tired. I know that I function best when I’m rested, energized, and fully capable of making coherent decisions about the stuff in front of me. I’m faster, more decisive, and can leap tall buildings in a single bound. But if I’m tired or hungry . . . I might as well build a monument and charge admission because that stuff isn’t going to move.

  3. Priority There are so many things ahead of that pile that need my limited attention that I know it’s just not going to happen. There are seasons of life where the pile of paper truly is not a priority and shouldn’t be, especially during crisis or trauma. But for the normal seasons, the mundane months, only words like “IRS audit” and “fire” will change the importance of that pile.

  4. Denial and Avoidance My worst culprit — I keep telling myself “I’ll get to that” when I know in my heart it’s the last thing I want to do. The question I need to ask myself in the middle of avoidance mode is this: what’s the worst thing that could happen if I actually dive in and deal with the pile? What is it that I believe I’m avoiding? Good food for thought.

  5. Don’t Wanna I. Just. Don’t. Want. To. And that pretty much sums it up. If I don’t look forward to the experience, I can think of about two dozen other things I can happily occupy myself with today that will meet many needs, produce great results and meaningful connection. That pile of paper really doesn’t produce warm fuzzies for me.

  6. I Honestly Don’t Have a Solution Once in a while, I avoid and deny and procrastinate because I genuinely don’t know what to do with the stuff in the pile. Maybe it needs to be donated. Maybe not. Maybe it’s documents I need to keep for a certain amount of time . . . or maybe not. (This one has easier since I created a Document Retention Schedule (how long to keep papers). It’s a free download if you’d find it helpful too.)

  7. More Questions Than Answers Do I even know how to sort through that pile? What will I find? What if there’s something emotional in there? What if I’m not ready to face it? What if I don’t have answers? What if I don’t finish? Where will I put everything? And the list goes on. The list of questions can paralyze you. The good news is this: you may not have the answers but someone else does! I just need a little help from a trusted friend, a great book, a professional resource, or some quality time with Google. Once I’m equipped or grab my purging buddy, I can get it done.

  8. Habit Good or bad, I have ways of doing things that have become part of my natural flow of life. It’s possible that any of the above operating methods have become habit. If so, it will require a commitment on my part to really dig in and make a change. Picking up as I go, putting things away the first time instead of later, being more selective when I purchase household items and clothing . . . all of these small changes add up to big simplifying. Our habits can kill us or build us. I prefer the latter!

Go through it. You can do it. I can do it. We just have to acknowledge our dislike of the process, get help, get equipped, get brave and charge in.

What keeps you “I need to go through that” mode?

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