When you’re entrenched in your daily routines and activities, your home and workplace can become generic scenery. This might be a good thing if it means you’re focused on your responsibilities and what matters most to you. However, if you’re no longer seeing your spaces because you’re numb to their presence, it might be time to pause and take a look at the backdrops to your life.
Even though you might not focus on the things in your home and office, they still might be affecting you. An easy way to test this is to really “see” a room, clear all the clutter from it, organize the things that remain in the room, and then gauge how you feel in the clutter-free room compared with how you feel in other spaces. Do you want to spend more time in the clutter-free space than you did before? Do you feel calmer, less stressed when you’re in this space?
It seems counterintuitive, but it can be difficult to “see” the clutter in our spaces. We sense clutter, but as we move through our regular lives we lose sight of it. The following are ideas for how you can spot the clutter in your spaces:
- Invite friends over for a party. Knowing that people will be coming into your home helps you to imagine your place the way they see it.
- Invite your boss into your office for a meeting. It’s like a party in your home, but at work (and, sadly, likely less fun).
- Snap photographs or take video. Reader Susie describes this process in the paragraphs below.
- Hire a home stager to come in and explain how he/she would clear your space to put it up on the market for sale. You might not follow all of the advice, but it will help you to see what others see.
- Have a friend with a toddler visit. Let the child roam through your home. Trust me, he’ll find every piece of clutter below waist level and touch it, pick it up, or try to eat it. (Obviously, monitor carefully.)
- Similar to the previous suggestion, have a friend with a labrador puppy spend some time in your space.
Reader Susie recently wrote in to tell us about the experience she had “seeing” the clutter in her home. I believe it summarizes the discovery process nicely:
I needed to videotape some rooms in my house for insurance purposes. Having just cleaned cleaned cleaned (knowing I was taping), I shot the tape and then watched it quickly before I needed to take it to the safety deposit box.
But when I watched the tape, I was astonished at the amount of clutter and crap on surfaces throughout the house. I realized that the camera’s eye was picking up clutter my eyes were simply moving past! So I scrutinized the tape, marched back to those rooms and really went through the stuff, making firm decisions and tossing several items.
I can’t tell you how much it helped to see these rooms through the video. Everyone: get out your video camera and give it a shot. You’ll be amazed at what you’ve never really seen….