“What went wrong!!?!?”
“How did this mess return????”
You made a big push. Cleared out a ton of unwanted stuff. Created a space that felt good & looked good too. But time marched on & now you are asking yourself what happened??? All that work only to have the mess return!!!
I am here to tell you that you are not the only one that this has happened to. It happens & it can be a maddening, feel-like-you-want-to-pull-your-hair-out, kind of situation that is absolutely no fun!! It feels so defeating & it makes it hard to get up the energy & make the time to try again.
So what do you do? You know you want a change. You want to live with less mess.
First off, turn down all the thoughts that whisper there is something wrong with you & you will never get it right! There is no “right” & there is nothing wrong with you.
You need compassion for your journey. Compassion because you are learning. You are still in the evaluating stage of decluttering. A stage that involves experimenting. Trying things out. Seeing what works. Checking in with priorities & determining commitments.
Next, get to the root of what is keeping you from making time to keep things up.
- Was there a big event that hijacked your time?
- Too many new steps to remember?
- Did something in your life change or transition (sometimes even a change of season can throw you off-course)?
- Were you overwhelmed with too many new systems or habits to work on?
Pinpointing what you feel is really behind this backslide will decrease the likelihood that you fall into that same spot again.
Then schedule a date to restart. Schedule the time, and if you are a person that works best with accountability, tell a friend or partner to check in with you to see if you held yourself to your commitment.
Now try again. This time things will be easier & faster as you already have practice with sorting, letting go, and creating intentional space. Then, once you get your feet back under you, you can reinstate one small habit at a time to keep it that way. Commit to what Peter Walsh calls “completing the cycle.”
He uses the metaphor of laundry to discuss how we can stop the mess from returning. “If you put a load of clothes in the wash, and halfway through you turn the machine off and leave it for a few days, you will come back to a mound of smelly laundry. You have to finish the cycle. When you have a bowl of cereal, does the box go back in the cupboard? When you bring in the mail, do you immediately open and sort it?”
It take extra effort to get these new habits started, but soon it will become automatic & so routine that you won’t remember there ever being another way.
Be compassionate with yourself. There’s no room for judgment or shame and this is especially important when you are learning & growing into something new. You are changing patterns that have been in place for a long time, so offer yourself compassion & decide to restart with a fresh attitude. Let go of those old thoughts that tell you will never be able to live in a tidy house & re-instate those new mindsets & intentions about how you will care for your space & belongings. You can live with just the right amount. You can form new habits that will keep your space functioning well. You can create space for the priorities in your space & life!
Decluttering in one thing. Organizing another. And keeping it tidy is a whole other ball of wax. If you know you can make progress in one or two of these areas, but need accountability or deadlines to be sure to break the cycle of mess & make your new commitments stick then reach out & I can provide 1 hour of accountability service in person, through email or with a FaceTime call. And watch for my new offering that is coming soon- 6 weeks of tips on Keeping it Clear!