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When clutter co-exists with ORDER! - 22nd May 2023


Most people's idea of a cluttered space is one where there is too much stuff and it is chaotic and muddled. That is not always the case though. In fact, for those of us who love order, it's important to recognise how order can actually contribute to clutter. Yikes, who would have thought it?




It will come as no surprise to readers that on the whole I am an orderly person as regards storing my possessions. I've been like this since I first discovered the delights of organising my bookshelf when I was a child. It's part of my nature. My husband is pretty similar.


Recently in my Facebook group two members alluded to how they had ended up with way too much stuff, simply by being organised! I confess I have in the past found myself in pretty much the same situation.



Being ultra organised can be a factor in accumulating clutter


Let's imagine you have a well organised system for storing your paperwork. Maybe it's in a filing cabinet, or similar piece of furniture. Paperwork turns up on a regular basis, and you diligently add it to the content you have already stored. You make sure that it's all in date order, or some other kind of order, that means you can easily find what you want should the need arise. 


You continue to do this for a long time. Years even.


You may not realise that you have kept years, and years, and years, and years, worth of documents. Some of them are bound to be obsolete now, or will never be needed by you because they are out of date. But the process of adding content is so ingrained in you that you don't even notice how much you have accumulated, you just keep adding to it. It's like you are wearing blinkers and running on a programme that you can't control. 


It's not always paperwork. The same situation could apply to any kind of possession, really. Imagine really well organised clothing - but there is too much of it. Imagine really well organised books, but there are too many of them. You get the gist.



How much is too much?


Only you can answer this. One big pointer is when the content bursts out of its allocated storage area. I don't mean that literally. But when books no longer fit on a large bookshelf, or clothing no longer fits in a large wardrobe, or paperwork won't fit in the filing cabinet, that is a very big clue that action is needed. 

To be honest you might have way too much content before you get to that point. If paperwork only takes up half the cupboard for instance then it frees up the other half to store other kinds of item. 



My own story


My husband also runs a business from home and it generates way more paperwork than mine does. We keep basic current information in my office and periodically we archive it into our loft. We are obliged to keep it for seven years for tax purposes. A few years ago we did this periodic archiving process and realised we had several years worth of paperwork up there that was in excess of the requirements. That was a big realisation. We had been so fixated on keeping and organising the content we added to our loft that we had not given a thought to addressing those records that were becoming obsolete. Hence, our shredder was kept very busy for a a few days!

Now of course we remember that the archiving process is two stages. Add the new stuff and remove and destroy the oldest records. That way our loft will not get taken over by ancient business paperwork.





If you really struggle with the concept of releasing out of date material, then it's worth asking yourself, why that might be. A part of you finds it very satisfying and necessary to organise your content, and I get that. But when you are organising content and resistant to the fact that some of what you have organised is no longer needed then you might have a challenge on your hands. 


All I will say is that there is always a reason for our behaviour, no matter how odd it might seem. You weren't born like it! You learned it subconsciously for some reason and that means you can unlearn it, if that's what you choose to do. If this strikes a chord for you, then do get in touch. Coaching could be a way forward for you with this. 




Keywords: organise, storage


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