The personal relationship we hold with our stuff in our house is very fascinating. I think our stuff can speak volumes as to who we are, what we value, where we’ve been and even about what’s going on in our lives right now.
Take a look around your house right now. What kind of stories could be told about you?
Any special projects going on or events coming up? Can you see a theme throughout, like kids, sports, travel or a favorite color? Is there an underlying theme of chaos or calm? Can you tell that something is on your mind by what’s going on in your house?
I've been pondering and processing a project over the past few weeks. The project is HUGE in my mind because it’s a topic with which I’m relatively unfamiliar, but which is a crucial element for my business going forward. Getting started, even figuring out how or where to start, has felt overwhelming. And then came the actual learning part, which was equally overwhelming because of the journey I had to take through the “yeah, buts” and the “but, what ifs” and “what nows.” One ginormous rabbit hole!
This project wasn't a particularly difficult project to manage, but the struggle I experienced included being overwhelmed by what I didn't know and having no idea how long it would take me to figure things out. My disrupted state of mind became very obvious by looking around my house. I’m sure you can imagine what happened!
How I manage my stuff in my house changed. Let’s just say that there was a bit of an ebb. Things got a little messier, and dirtier, as I was slower to clean up after myself. I’m not talking about things becoming a complete pigsty, but there was a definite change that was the direct result of what was going on in my head. Even though I’d look straight at something that I should have picked up, and usually would have, I found myself actively deciding not to do it.
So, what was happening within my house was a direct reflection of what was going on in my mind. Interesting and valuable enough to even be able to make that observation. What I find even more intriguing, though, is exploring the why. There are dozens of reasons why, but knowing myself as well as I do, I’d say that there are two possible reasons.
The first possible scenario was that I was playing the ol’ self-sabotaging game by intentionally creating additional chaos to reinforce some subconscious barrier to actually manifesting my goals. I could do this by creating a distracting environment, which makes it harder for me to think clearly and to learn. Then I get to validate how difficult (my perception) it is and I pave the way to justify giving up and staying exactly where I am. Sound familiar?
Luckily, though, my internal guide and my drive are strong, so I don’t believe that this is what was going on.
I believe that the second possible scenario was what was actually happening. That is, I was semi-consciously replicating what was going on in my mind as part of my overall journey. As I began to get deeper into the rabbit hole, I was creating more chaos and confusion in my house and that external condition was a reflection of the chaos and confusion in my mind.
Then, when I reached the point where I had asked enough questions and learned enough from various people, websites and podcasts and began to understand how all of the pieces fit together, I started taming the chaos in my house. And as I got to the point where I could identify the process and tools for each dimension of the project and added what I needed to my Amazon cart, I really got serious about getting my house put back together, including doing some deep cleaning for good measure. I felt more in control of the project and I began to take control of my house back.
So, you can see what I demonstrated in my own behavior, even though I've owned a professional organizing company for more than a decade and have always been an organized person, anyone can struggle based on what's going on in their world at any given time. It’s part of being human.
Of course, there are people who will say that they “need” to have chaos in their space, especially those who are creative. Now, I’m not going to debate this or decide that it’s true for some and not true for others, but I will say that, in my experience, there’s a fine line between the effectiveness of chaos being true versus chaos simply being a longstanding habit. I’ve heard from many people over the years that chaos and the clutter in their house doesn't bother them. They’ve settled into “that’s just who I am.” In these cases, though, it isn’t really who they are, but rather a habit that they’ve created.
A key detail in all of this is having the ability to recognize the source of chaos (internal or external), identify what needs to be done about it, do it, and then calm the chaos.
How many times do you think that others have this overwhelm-on-the-inside-manifesting-on-the-outside experience, but don't promptly deal with it? And then maybe repeated it over and over?
When the chaos and clutter become the norm in the house, what kind of chaos and clutter could be going on inside?
How many times might you have had this same experience, but never went back to put everything back together?
Is it possible that you could have been sabotaging yourself with the chaos and clutter in your physical space?
Do you know yourself well enough to recognize your patterns?
Can you see your internal state of mind being reflected in your physical space?
Strive to develop the awareness required to recognize and identify that uncomfortable internal feeling and to understand how it manifests in an external way. Use that external clue to help confront what may be really going on. Mastery of these observations will likely lead to quicker resolution and forward movement in your life with whatever goal or situation has presented itself.
Get curious and have fun with it! And, hey, there’s enough chaos in the outer world right now. Wouldn’t it be amazing if our homes could all be calm and peaceful?