I just stumbled onto heartsupport. My sister and I were talking yesterday and she asked if I was interested in counseling. I told her I’d think about it, she said she would pay for it and had a couple friends who really benefited from it. After that I kept seeing ads for better help and talkspace in my newsfeed. I couldn’t believe how expensive it was and then saw a comment in one of the threads about heartsupport so here I am. I seriously don’t know what I’m doing. My house is a mess, my finances are a mess. Every day I envision myself doing what I need to to move forward and start clearing out the clutter, but in reality it never happens. I can picture myself doing the things, but I never do them. I don’t know why. I’m self employed and work at home so I feel I’m less productive because of all the things around me that need to be done that I’m not doing. It’s hard to work at my desk because it’s covered in things that don’t belong here. I don’t know, I feel like my problems are pretty minimal in comparison to others but it’s really starting to take a toll on me. I just don’t know where to start…
First of all, welcome to Heart Support.
Knowing where to start has been a challenge for me most of my life. Not only that, but the problem seems to be widespread. Life is demanding, with all kinds of tasks, projects, and expectations to be dealt with. It’s easy to become overwhelmed. It’s like walking into a messy room, with different parts of it demanding attention, all at the same time.
The question, “where do I start,” can trigger confusion and discouragement. Also, when starting any project, often the most difficult thing to do is take the first step.
I read somewhere that every day, making your bed is the first step. It’s so you can say to yourself, “now I have that small part of my life in order.” If you can convince your mind that bed making is the first step, then the next step, regardless of what it is, is likely to be less daunting.
I’m pretty sure that you are concerned about more than just bed making, but housekeeping seems like a pretty good metaphor when it comes to organizing and prioritizing. You can look around a messy room and say to yourself, “I just can’t deal with all this.” Alternatively, you can look at a single scrap of paper or item out of place and ask yourself, “can I do just that one little thing?” It’s far less difficult to face doing that one little thing. Then you can choose the next single thing that you will do, and so on.
If deciding where to start is a sticking point, choose a couple of options and flip a coin. Where you start is usually less important than if you start.
I tend to choose the most difficult thing or the thing that I most reluctant to face first. By getting the worst thing out of the way first, I’m doing it when I have the most energy, and the thing I dread most is behind me.
I used to be the opposite. I would put things off until the last minute, and often missed deadlines. Oh well, live and learn.
First of all, welcome to HeartSupport! I am glad you found us.
I think Wings has said some very wise things already. I wanted to add that for me (we are all different so it might not work for you) making a (short) list can sometimes help. For example “clean desk” and then put little tasks on the list. It would be something like:
- take off the trash and put it in the trash can
- collect the dishes and bring them to the kitchen
- put important papers in 1 stack
- collect things that don’t belong in that room and take them out
This is ofcourse just an example. But it can be helpful to take that first step. Once you have done 1 small task the next small task will become easier to do.
If you tell yourself you have to clean up the whole house your brain won’t be able to handle that. But if you tell your brain that you will first clean up the desk, then the rest of the office and after that every room one by one it is hopefully easier to cope with it.
When it comes to the finances I always see the same basic advice: write down what comes in every month and what goes out every month. Having an overview of what your income is and what flows out every month will help to see if you need to make any changes. There are several programs for the computer or even apps for the phone to help you put it in a nice overview.
If your sister would be willing to pay for counseling that would be so nice of her!
One thing that is important to know as well is that you are valuable and you matter!
I hope you can let us know how you are doing, we are here for you.
Thank you! After I posted yesterday I came into my room and for the first time in months instead of visualizing myself doing something while doing nothing I spent about an hour sorting out some clothes and have a bag and a half of items to be donated. One of my problems is having piles of clothes in a couple different areas while having no where to put them away because the dresser and closet are packed with forgotten and unused items. Hoping to make some more progress today. I have heard advice about making your bed every day before. I think that would be a good thing to resume doing daily. I usually throw the covers back up so it looks like a sloppily made bed, but maybe there’s something to be had from doing it right. I think about my kids and I don’t won’t their memories of childhood to be a cluttered mess, or not wanting to bring their friends over because the house is chaotic. And I don’t want to live this way. Everything has felt at a standstill because I constantly feel like the clutter is closing in on me. I also have issues with accumulation and love thrifting so if I see a really good deal it comes home. Maybe I need to think about it in terms of leaving the treasures for someone else to be excited about finding for the time being. I have stacks of books I’ve bought and want to read but haven’t had time…or I don’t really try because the environment is too distracting. I’ll keep plugging along, just the bit of progress I made yesterday felt good. My sister reminded me that I used to always host holidays and birthdays at my home and I haven’t hosted in a few years because I don’t want others to see the mess
Thank you for the advice. The advice about the lists happened to be my New Year’s resolutions. Someone had asked me about resolutions and I hadn’t given it a whole lot of thought prior, but my response was that I was going to make to do lists. I remember I used to be much more productive when I had a list. I’m not sure exactly what the issue is, that I’m avoiding doing things. Maybe a sense of paralysis stemming from the feeling of being overwhelmed. I agree the my sisters offer was very generous and kind. I didn’t realize just how expensive it was until I started looking and thankfully found heartsupport. I’ll take her up on the offer if needed, but I’m going to try being present here first. It seems like such a great community.
I see that you have already taken the first steps in decluttering your home, I am so proud of you for that!
It seems that the clutter has indeed paralyzed you in a way. And once you have clutter it tends to attract more clutter.
If you look online there are some great free resources that could help you with the decluttering process. And we are also here to support you and cheer you on. You got this, one step at a time.
My mom was a hoarder. Our house consisted of narrow paths through the rooms, surrounded by clutter. Her room was feet deep in clothing she would never wear again. I don’t even want to talk about the kitchen.
Surprisingly, even though I hated the situation, I found that I had a bit of a hoarding impulse myself. I suppose I still do. However, I don’t like clutter, so even when I have too much stuff, I pack it away so I don’t have to look at it. When it comes to clutter, you can only pack away so much before the cabinets and closets are bursting at the seams. So, once or twice a year, I go through and get rid of stuff that I haven’t touched or thought about for around a year. For me, it feels really good to have storage space to spare.
Our house is quite small and only has three 2’ x 4’ closets. With the exception of one or two items, at the end of the season, for example in the spring, I donate whatever winter clothing I haven’t used. There is an 18 in.² linen closet and a couple of shelves over the washer and dryer. Other than that, there’s just a couple of dressers, kitchen and bathroom cabinets. So, we dare not accumulate much in the house.
I built a shop in the backyard. It has lots of shelves and cabinets, along with two workbenches. That’s where I find it incredibly easy to accumulate clutter. I have de-cluttered and reorganized it recently. Most of what I got rid of was electronics, old power tools, books and records. I also have an ongoing turnover of “stuff,” because I like to fix and restore things. When neighbors throw stuff out, such as repairable furniture or gardening equipment, I drag it home, fix it up, and more often than not, just give it away.
I have found it helpful to reframe my perspectives about daunting tasks and the idea of letting go of things that “I might use someday.” For example, rather than emphasize in my mind what I’m letting go of, I think about the space that I am gaining. Sometimes I even look at it as “allowing more oxygen into the room.”
It is 900% easier to clean a space that is not cluttered. Absence of clutter has a calming effect on the mind. Perhaps it can be thought of as “accumulating” peace of mind.
You mentioned leaving treasures for someone else. That sounds like a wonderful idea! No doubt, there are many who would be happy to receive such treasures whenever you are ready to part with them.