Do you tend to not see when a few things in your house are out of place? Do you routinely not notice the piles until they are in the way or you are tripping over them? If so, you might have what professional organizers call “clutter blindness.” (An organizing book I recently read called this phenomenon “slob vision,” but I think “clutter blindness” is much less of a negative judgment on ourselves.)
Here is what some of my clients with clutter blindness experience:
- They don’t notice which specific bin or drawer they retrieved something from, so they don’t know exactly where to put it back. Things routinely get put back in the wrong place or not at all.
- They don’t notice when things start to slowly accumulate on the kitchen counter or dining room table until it’s reached a critical mass. By the time it’s reached a critical mass, putting all of the things away has become a project that takes a big chunk of time, so clients tend to procrastinate on putting things away.
- Other family members who don’t have clutter blindness are frustrated that the person doesn’t seem to notice, let alone take care of messes until the family member points it out to them.
I don’t know what causes clutter blindness. I do tend to see it a lot in our clients with ADHD, so I tend to believe that this is just another way some people’s brains are hardwired.
I haven’t found that it’s possible to really “cure” clutter blindness. Instead, I have found it much more successful to deal with clutter blindness by teaching people to tidy up on a schedule, rather than waiting until they see the mess. People without clutter blindness can be successful at sorting through papers once the filing cabinet is full, doing dishes once the sink is full, cleaning out the mail inbox once it gets full. People with clutter vision tend to miss these visual cues until the mess is often too overwhelming to tackle alone.
Cleaning and tidying up on a schedule fixes this problem. Making it a habit to wash whatever is in the sink every night is one example of cleaning on a schedule. Doing a 15-minute tidy-up with the family in a different room of the house every night is another example. Going through your closet at the end of winter or sorting through your filing cabinet after tax time are also examples.
The beauty of tidying up on schedule is that it guarantees results with minimal planning and effort. It’s way easier to clean out your mail inbox once a week then it is to wait until you can’t stuff another envelope in there.
So if you have clutter blindness, don’t worry too much! See which tidying up tasks you can assign to various days of the week or times of the year, and watch your home start to feel more under control.
Like this post? Then like our Facebook page or follow us on Instagram or Pinterest. In need of professional organizing services in the Portland, Beaverton or Lake Oswego area for your home or office? Contact us for a low-cost assessment and get an estimate on your project here.