It happens every so often. Things are going along fine with a home organization project when all of a sudden - someone gets triggered. The first time I saw it, I didn't know why my otherwise good-natured client looked like she wanted to crawl into a hole. There may have even been some rocking back and forth in her chair. Since then, I've learned to discern the warning signs of someone getting triggered and how to stop it from growing into a full-blown shut-down.
We all get attached to our things. It doesn't matter what the item looks like to anyone else - it could be a piece of actual trash, but to that person, it's a memory. If I suggest throwing it out, it feels like I am asking them to also toss away their memory as well. The defining factor is EMOTION. Emotion almost always tells us to make the wrong call.
Once my clients have called me, they are pretty fed up with the mess. They will do anything for their house to be neat and orderly. This is also emotion at work. They tend to pendulum-swing and toss everything, only to regret it the next week. We all have to find that healthy balance. It comes through asking thoughtful questions and being aware of the energy in the room.
When I see that sudden energy shift, here are a couple of things I have done in order to keep moving. If you are trying to organize your own home, maybe these examples will help you too.
1) Take a break and walk outside to breathe for a sec. Get out of a room that you've been in for hours and go outside. It’ll give you a chance to breathe and gain perspective. You may realize that these things don't matter as much as they did just moments ago. Nature is amazing at helping us remember what’s important.
2) Play a game. One client kept getting "stuck" on the question of keep, donate or trash. I thought that emotions were getting in the way. I set my phone alarm for five minutes and had her grab as many items out of her pile that could be donated. The donate pile was several feet away, so I ran back and forth grabbing the next item she wanted to donate and putting it into the donate pile. I was cheering her on and asking her to have that next item ready before I could run back to her. I probably looked like an idiot, but she's laughing, and she's associating donating this stuff with fun! She's also making very quick decisions and unable to connect emotion in that short amount of time. Once our five minutes was up, we had a huge pile to donate and she actually kept grabbing things to put into that pile. It's like a switch was turned on and I COULDN'T TURN IT OFF! It was amazing. By the way, this client is a VERY giving person. It's not about that. She just needed something to get her un-stuck. This game did the trick for her.
3) Think, rather than emote. If these things don't work for you, you may need to take a longer amount of time to really think about why it's difficult to give up your items. Clutter can be a form of avoidance. A disorganized home office that is impossible to work in, one side of the bed piled with clothing that causes you to sleep in another room, or a kitchen filled with expired foods - these are all things I've seen. Spend time thinking about the reasons you allowed this in the first place. Be completely honest with yourself. Face up to these things and begin to make changes. Every little step in the right direction helps you achieve long term gains.
I hope some of these ideas work for you. As always, if you need a pro, call or email me. I am happy to help. Don't allow your emotions to get the better of you when completing these projects and most especially - don't get triggered. Keep remembering that you are working to make a more simplified, clutter-free life for yourself. Keep your focus on that and you will have great results!