clutterA common complaint from many of my clients is that their clutter is making them crazy. They are overwhelmed by all of it and don’t know where to start. Because of this feeling of overwhelm, they just don’t do anything, which causes a copious amount of stress in their lives.

There can be many reasons for the accumulation of clutter. Even the most organized person can end up with clutter. Many times the clutter is caused by situations in our lives, or a series of life events. Some of those events may be traumatic but not always. It could be an illness, either you or a family member, a second marriage for one or both of you, or even a death in the family. Your systems and routines can be upset because of these types of situations and staying organized can get away from you.

A lot of times these situations can add to the amount of stuff you already have, and you may have less time in your already hectic schedule to revisit those routines to make adjustments. No matter what the reason is that you came by this feeling of overwhelm, there is hope.

Use the tips below to eliminate your feeling of overwhelm, clear your clutter, and take back control of your spaces.

• Take a breath and remember to keep breathing. It didn’t get that way over night so it will take some time to get it back in shape.

• Figure out why you want to organize that space. If it’s making you crazy, figure out what the pains are. Defining the pain points can be motivators to keep the momentum going to reach your goals.

• Start at the beginning – at the door to the room. Look around the space. There may be an area that jumps out at you that you want to begin with.

• Look through an empty paper towel roll to pinpoint one small section. That can be your starting point.

• Work in small increments of time. Begin with 15 minutes and see how much you get done. Use a timer. When the timer goes off, you may be surprised at how much you got done. That could be the motivator to continue with another 15 minutes, then another, until you get that closet done.

• Ask a friend to help you get started. Sometimes we know what to do but won’t unless someone is there with us. Having someone there with you can put a fun spin on it. Put on some music that you both enjoy. You can even make a game out of it by racing with your friend to see how fast each of you can clear and organize one drawer or shelf.

How do you deal with overwhelm from clutter?