Updated: Dec 17, 2020
For as long as I can remember, I have been someone who moves at a fast pace. While doing so has served me well in certain areas of my life, it has limited me in others. What often happens is my mind moves and processes far faster than my body. This imbalance has led me to rushing through, not fully finishing and forgetting things.
Can you relate?
The reason a racing mind can lead to an untidy home is simple. When your mind quickly bounces from one idea to the next, your ability to stay in the present moment is more challenging which could cause you to lose track of what you need to do. Even if that "to-do" is as elementary as putting away a tube of toothpaste.
For lasting change it's important to focus on the root cause of physical clutter, which can actually be in the form of time and mind clutter
When I was at the height of my corporate career working around the clock with small children at home, I had looked around our home one evening and saw more clutter than made me comfortable. At first glance, I assumed most of it was my husband's or my children's, but I was wrong. The majority of the clutter in the house (items not put back into their designated spot) was mine.
This realization was somewhat of a surprise to me since I'm such an organized person and I love a tidy home. When I reflected more, it became clearer why this could be true. There were two big reasons I was leaving a clutter trail.
First, I noticed that my mind was often steps ahead of what I was currently doing. I was not operating fully in the present moment. If I was getting ready for work, my mind was thinking about my first meeting rather than simply focused on preparing for my day.
Second, I realized that I was not giving myself enough time to fully finish tasks. I found that I was often underestimating how long it would take me to do it. After tracking for two weeks how long I thought things would take to complete and how long they actually did take, my estimates were off, sometimes significantly. Needless to say, a mind and time clutter combo had been leading to the slow creep of clutter.
The key to a tidy home is putting things back, but the bigger component is in giving yourself ample time to actually do so.
When I gave myself both the time to finish the task and partnered that with a fully focused mind, I uncovered how tidy my home could be and how much clearer my mind was consequently. A tool I use almost daily to keep my mind on track is taking a few deep breaths when I find myself feeling anxious, rushed or overwhelmed. I often pair that with a mantra or intention, "You have enough time, just take that minute or two (or five) to get it done."
I share this story with you to help you see that even as a professional organizer I operate in real life scenarios just like everyone else. I have to be present to manage the daily clutter just like you. Using techniques that support a positive mindset will help support you in keeping your house stay tidy more often than not.
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