The first month of a new year often tends to make people stop and deal with some of the clutter in their life, whether it be actual paper, unwanted items or emotional clutter.
The act of purging means to “rid (someone) of an unwanted feeling, memory, or condition, typically giving a sense of cathartic release.”
Recently, I helped someone organize their house of clutter and paperwork. As I was working my way through each room, they asked me how I could do this so quickly and know what to do with it. My response was easy- I have no emotional attachment to the items or papers. I simply see it from an organizational point of view. Paper’s need to be filed, clothes need to be either washed, or given away as they are too small and unwanted items need to be donated. In my mind, everything has it’s place.
As simple as it may seem, it’s much more complicated. Often people who have difficulty keeping their environment un-cluttered suffer more from their mind being cluttered. They are usually overwhelmed by emotions dealing with something else and aren’t able to tackle the tasks, and over time it becomes too overwhelming. The thought of dealing with paperwork and getting rid of things simply just stresses some people out. They don’t have the time or energy or where-with-all to deal with it, so they just ignore it. Other’s just have no ability to keep track of their belongings. These are the people that lose things every day, have bills in the bathroom and leave a trail of things everywhere they go. Everybody knows at least one person like this!
My client told me that she thought I had a gift for this. I’m not sure about that, but I definitely have a knack for organizing and filing and tackling mounds of paper.
Another client recently hired me to purge and organize their adult daughter’s old bedroom. Again, another story of too much stuff and not knowing where to begin. Perhaps it was a case of nostalgia, or a case of emotionally not ready to move on from childhood. Regardless, sometimes it is easier to have someone else organize your space and give you a proverbially “clean slate” to start with.
This month, I myself have been very busy cleaning out paperwork I held onto from previous jobs, previous endeavours such as my Master’s degree, and previous chapter’s of my life. Sometimes a little time is all you need. Something that you thought was important in the moment, a few months or years from now may not seem so. Priorities change, emotions dissipate, and time heals.
There are a few rare human beings that do not keep anything, and live a very simplistic life with few belongings, limited paperwork, and lots of closet space. Maybe these people have a better grip on emotional attachments, maybe they attach to people instead of things. Should we envy these people – maybe. Bad for business for me though!
If you find the idea overwhelming, start small. Get a box and when you walk through each room in your place put something in the box. If after a few weeks, you don’t notice it gone, leave it in the box. Once the box is full, get rid of the box.
Regardless, taking the time to purge at least once a year is good for the soul. And, the simple act of purging really does give you a cathartic release. If you get the“urge to purge“ and you just don’t know where to start….call me!