“Clutter is Really Just Deferred Decision Making”

What do you think of this expression?  Do you think this is true?

I certainly do believe this and can be guilty of this myself.  Sometimes making no decision is really so much easier.   Not making a decision is really making a decision too.

So, what are some blocks to making a decision?

Perfectionism  –  If I cannot do it perfect, then there is no point in doing it, so I will do nothing.  Thinking that things have to be perfect or I can’t do it at all can be a huge block to making a decision.

Its Too Overwhelming – Perhaps the job is so big that you can’t even imagine where to begin.  Its just so massive that you think “what is the point as I will never be able to get this done, this is impossible, etc.”  So you close the door, try to ignore it, it becomes invisible, well you know the drill.

Misjudging the time it will take – There can be the thought that this could all be cleaned up in a day which of course is unrealistic.  I actually can relate to this as I have been getting some renovations done in my house and I tend to think that it is all going to happen magically fast but in reality it has taken a lot longer than I thought it would.  If you are not available or willing to set aside or put in some time its not going to happen.  Scheduling in some time in your calendar and/or making a plan is helpful.

Not Having Systems – Do you have a system for incoming mail, flyers, paying bills on time,  donations going out as stuff comes in,  cleaning out the fridge before bringing in new groceries, laundry getting washed and dried in a timely fashion?  Having systems in place and following through with these on an ongoing basis will help you to keep up.   Clearing Clutter is not a one time event, it is an ongoing process.

Not Knowing What I Want/Not Taking Control of My Life – It can be very challenging to know what you want for yourself and your life.  Perhaps you are a people pleaser and put others needs first.   Having too many interests (or sometimes too many choices) can make it difficult to make decisions about what to do with your time and your stuff.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

Having a Goal – I know there is a lot of talk right now about goals.  Having goals whether small or huge can really help with some of those decisions that you want to make.  Begin with the easy, small stuff to help you work towards those bigger goals.  Small changes made over time will impact on the bigger picture.  Small is Huge!!

Develop Some Systems – Even if it is one system at a time.  Look at areas that are causing stress and think about trying a new system or plan to deal with these areas in a better way.   If the issue is mail, paper or flyers coming in the door,   perhaps you could have a plan for Filing, Acting On, Tossing, Recycling.   Or maybe the issue is getting the dishes done on a daily basis.  If you really are opposed to doing dishes after meals, perhaps you could just get them rinsed off and plan to do them in the morning when you have more energy.  Doesn’t really matter what the plan is, as long as you act on it and it works for you.

Letting Go – You can let go of the perceived outcome of the situation and try to allow things to happen as they are meant to happen.  Let go of the fact that even if it is not perfect, that is okay.  This can be challenging but so freeing when you say to yourself “this is perfect just the way it is,  good enough is okay,  I can let this go, this doesn’t have to be perfect,  I have done my best”.  Ahh, doesn’t that feel so much easier.

Put Yourself First – This can really help you to be able to think about what is important to you.  Take some time to get to know who you are and what you want to do with your time and energy.   Learn to trust yourself and know that you are doing the best you can for yourself.   I really believe it is important to take some time for yourself every day.  Think about the goals you have for you and your life.   Ask for help when you need it.

Now it is your turn.  What are some things that help you with decision making?  I would love to hear from you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Kimberley

I am a Case Manager at My Sisters’ Place which is a program of the Canadian Mental Health Association London Middlesex. My Sisters’ Place is a program for vulnerable women. I love my job and all the wonderful women I work with. I am very honored to do this work with women who have been through so much and are so open in sharing their stories.
I initiated and designed a Clearing Clutter Support Group which I have been facilitating since 2007 with a co-worker. I love running this group and learn so much from the participants. We offer this eight week program three or four times a year.
I started my business Space For You in 2010 and work with individuals in their homes as well as offer some workshops in the community. I am available to speak to groups on “De-Cluttering Your Life”, “The Magic of De-Cluttering”, “Space Clearing” or really anything to do with clutter and hoarding.

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12 Responses to “Clutter is Really Just Deferred Decision Making”

  1. I find it helpful to consider “What is the worst possible thing that could happen if I decide to XXX?” and choose the lesser of two evils.

  2. Rob Turner says:

    Hi Kim,

    I was at your “Magic of De-cluttering presentation” at the London Public Library tonight (Sept. 29th, 2015) – just wanted to thank you, I found it really thought-provoking and useful. I came home and checked out your website, and just read this piece “Clutter is Really Just Deferred Decision Making” – I found it particularly interesting. In my own case I find myself feeling overwhelmed at tackling the piles of papers and other “stuff” that surround me, and realize that when I make that decision to not do anything, or put it off, that I get a little re-enforcement – a little of that anxiety goes away. One of my own issues is that I spend too much time on the internet and emailing – while I’m doing this, I forget about the anxiety I have about dealing with my clutter. So, time-management is another part of the problem…
    Anyway Kim, lots to think about…thanks again!

    • Kimberley says:

      Thank you Rob, I am so glad you enjoyed the talk. Paper is such a huge issue for most people. Sounds like you have some great insight into what is happening when you put off doing the work or find yourself doing other things. The more you can practice allowing yourself to be okay with a little anxiety the easier it will get. I hope you continue to have many more ah-ha moments.

  3. I agree completely. When I am (or my client is) worried about something happening (which interferes with making a decision), I try to stop (or get my client to stop) and think: What is the realistic likelihood of that thing happening? If the likelihood is great, is there an action I can take to prevent it, or to be prepared for it happening? If the likelihood is low, can I realize that and stop worrying about it?

    • Kimberley says:

      That is a great way to look at it Hazel. So often the likelihood of the worse thing to happen is so low it can be easier to make a decision. One of the things I notice is that individuals have a really hard time trusting their own instincts and self esteem is often the issue. Thanks for commenting Hazel.

  4. I like your point about letting go. It’s so important to have realistic expectations and to remind yourself that progress is better than perfection.

    • Kimberley says:

      Perfectionism is such a challenge for so many people. So often the thought is “if I can’t do it perfect, I won’t do it at all”. I love this reminder and what a great saying “progress is better than perfection”. Beautiful!!

  5. melinda says:

    I’ve been very guilty of magnifying the time I think it will take to do something, so I let it go, because I’m overwhelmed and paralyzed.
    This is a great article. My organizer, http://www.OrganizedByNicole.com
    posted this on her FB page.

    • Kimberley says:

      Thanks for letting me know about your Organizer and good for you to be working with her. Yes, I hear that a lot about people feeling so overwhelmed that they then feel paralyzed. We have a saying in our group that “Small is huge” so pat yourself on the back for what you are doing. Thank you so much!!

  6. Kimberley,

    Good information! I think you are right that clutter is really just deferred decision making!!! At some point, the decision has to made: to move your purse off of the kitchen table into your bedroom; to pick up your glass and take it to the sink, etc. In the everyday clutter, we just need to make that decision now, not later. Thanks for your post.

    • Kimberley says:

      Yes, for sure Debbie – sometimes making no decision is making a decision too in a way. Small decisions are a great way to start for sure. Thanks so much for reading and responding.

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