The Distress of Being Overwhelmed
It can be a daunting feeling to look around a room or a space filled with clutter (paper or otherwise) and to feel totally overwhelmed with the task of having to make order out of what seems like a mountain of chaos. We know we should “get organized.” We feel the distress from not being able to function in our spaces, of never being able to find things when we need them, of being weighed down by all the decisions our excess belongings will require. We are tired of living in such a manner and are determined to fix things, but as our eyes flit from one jumbled pile to the next a sense of hopelessness sinks in. Our energy drains out of us. We give up before we even start. We shut our eyes (or shut the door) and walk away and nothing ever happens—except that the piles get worse.
What you may not know (but I’m now going tell you) is that I also—when I walk into your homes or offices and see the chaos or disorder—could feel that same way. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked into a client’s space and have had one corner of my mind gibber the question: “Where are we going to begin?” It would be so easy to become tense and critical (as you no doubt sometimes are to yourselves), to give up and to walk away. But I don’t and there is a reason why.
“Hope” is a confident expectation of getting a good thing. It is a desire for something good with the belief that it is obtainable. It is a type of mindset that (for me) comes from years of experience with the way the organizing and creative processes work. And it is what I choose to bring with me when I walk through your door and into your space. I have a confident expectation that you can have a physical environment that will be able to support the marvelous creator that you are. It will happen—one small space at a time, one step at a time, one laborious decision at a time, and yes, if you would like, one enjoyable organizing session at a time.
How You Can Develop and Use Hope
Hope must be justified. There must be a reason why you can “confidently expect to get a good thing.” Anything else is mere wishing…which has no power to get things done whatsoever. If you desire a better physical environment for yourself, but you lack a confident expectation that you can actually transform your chaos into a calming beauty, then start producing some evidence to convince your brain otherwise.
- Begin with your bed. Just your bed. Tell your brain that you are focusing on this one thing and this one thing only.
- Strip the bedding and sheets off and wash them.
- Get rid of all the junk and trash under and around your bed. Make sure you get all of it.
- Don’t cheat. Don’t lie to yourself and tell yourself you “cleaned” the area when you know you didn’t. Lying to yourself makes you weak. Following through on your commitments and telling the truth makes you strong.
- Dust or clean the bed frame.
- Vacuum or sweep all around your bed.
- Make the bed with the clean bedding. And make it beautiful.
- Do a good job. Make sure the sheets are smooth and tucked in tightly. Arrange the bedding in a pleasing fashion. As my husband, Mitchell, (an experienced manager) says: “Finish your work so it looks like an intelligent being was here.”
- Stand back and admire your work. Really enjoy it. Revel in your success. (In fact, call or email me and brag!)
- Then tell yourself: “Well! If I can make the bed area look this nice, then just think of what I can do with the nightstands!”
And if your brain tries to tell you that you’ll never be able to make the nightstands look good, then point to your nicely-made bed and tell your brain to shut up. After all, you have the evidence right in front of you that you can make at least one space beautiful! And if you can make one space beautiful then surely you can make the next small space beautiful…(and the next one… and the next one…)