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Is disorganization affecting your self-esteem?

by respaced on January 4, 2011

Disorganization isn’t just a space issue or a problem we can solve by taking a trip to the Container Store. It’s a quality of life issue, and as such, it strongly affects our thoughts and emotions.

When we are disorganized, we might think to ourselves “it’s because I’m lazy” or “because I’m a slob.” We start to use a lot of “should” statements in our thoughts: I should clean this up, I should get rid of this, I should have everything put away at the end of the day. It’s like having a little dictator in our heads!

Sometimes as moms, we secretly think to ourselves that we aren’t very good at being stay-at-home moms, because a good SAH mom would have figured out how to keep her home picked up and pulled together by now.

I’ve noticed that for a lot of moms, their clutter makes them feel worse in the winter time than in the summer time. The reason is, in the summer time, we’re outside a lot more with our kids or gone on outings and vacation. But in the winter time, when it rains and is cold for 5-6 months, we’re stuck inside, which means we get to look at our clutter for 18 hours a day. We are profoundly affected by our environment, whether we realize it or not and for a lot of moms, the more time we spend staring at our clutter, the more negatively we think about ourselves.

And how do these thoughts make us feel? Terrible.

Disorganization influences our feelings and our mood. It makes us feel guilty for not being able to maintain a neat and tidy home. Guilt often brings with it shame and anxiety. But when we look at the size of the mess and think about what it will take to clean it up, we feel frustrated and completely overwhelmed. If the mess is bad enough, we might even feel hopeless and a sense of despair.

This is no way to live. But choosing to make organization a priority in your life can change all that. When we are organized, we have consciously made time and space in our life for what matters most. We have chosen to give ourselves the room to live out our values. Learn how to get organized by reading how-to books, visiting organizing websites and blogs, taking a class or hiring a professional organizer.

If disorganization is negatively affecting your thoughts and feelings, maybe this is the year to embrace the change that organization can bring.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenny January 24, 2011 at 4:31 am

I am one of those SAH moms that is a little overwhelmed with our stuff:) I've been slowing trying to weed things out as the kids grow older and as we get settled more into our life routine. I'm feeling good about my progress, but there are many more projects to tackle. Thanks for the post, reminds me that I'm not the only one.


andrea January 8, 2012 at 4:58 pm

This is so well written and exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you.


respaced January 9, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Thanks, I’m glad you found it helpful. Hope your organizing journey gets a little bit easier for you now.


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