There are two ways you can deal with your clutter: by choice, on your own terms; or when the decisions are made for you. A natural disaster may wipe out your home and possessions. A health crisis may force you to downsize and move into assisted living. Municipal authorities can mandate a clear out.
If you would like to deal with your clutter on your own terms, before external factors intervene, I encourage you to start as soon as possible. It’s not going to get better by itself, and it’s not going to get any easier.
A new study supports my assertion. In a work published in Current Psychology, “Delaying Disposing: Examining the Relationship between Procrastination and Clutter across Generations,” researchers found “general procrastination tendencies may enable a lifelong pattern of responses to one’s environment that become increasingly maladaptive throughout the life cycle – simultaneously delaying disposal decisions.”
Or in other words, the longer you wait, the more your clutter will bother you and the harder it will be to let it go.
Whatever you are choosing to do about your clutter, I respect your decision. I just want you to be fully informed that waiting will only make it worse.
If you want to deal with your clutter now, but don’t know how to move forward, there are all sorts of people who can help. Friends and relatives, professional organizers, coaches, therapists all have something to offer for different types of clutter challenges.
I know that some people don’t have the resources to enlist help. I wish I had an.answer, but I don’t. All I can say is that if you are delaying because you feel like it will be easier if you wait, please reconsider.
The choice is yours, for now.
A side note–I am so proud to belong to the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD). ICD was founded by a group of professional organizers, in the mid-1990s, who wanted to better understand why clutter and disorganization is such a challenge for some, and not for others. They took a scholarly approach and started coming together regularly to compare notes and formulate even more questions. This effort evolved into an educational non-profit association that supports professionals who work with people who are chronically disorganized. ICD has a dedicated research team and one of its members co-authored the study quoted above. ICD has also contributed to other scholarly research on hoarding, procrastination and the effect of clutter on quality of life.