A cluttered life
People often fall into two categories when they hear the term professional organizer:
OMG I need one of those right now!
Who would pay someone to organize for them? That is ridiculous.
For people in both of those categories, the following videos are very helpful to watch. Created by three UCLA social scientists, the videos present a stunning, visual ethnography that reveals the material culture of dual-income, child-centered households in contemporary America (and many other first world nations.)
Please take 6 minutes to watch this:
It can be reassuring to see other homes filled with clutter — to know yours is not the only one. Most of the people we work with don’t believe other homes might also have a secret room full of unused stuff. But, surprise! Most homes do.
Many homes have multiple rooms overflowing with so much stuff they don’t even know what it all is! This collection of things piling up in homes is not an anomaly. As a team of professional organizers, Get Organized Already gets to see these rooms and piles all the time.
When I watched this video I wasn’t surprised by one single photo or word spoken. Even the worried, self-deprecating tone of the mother being interviewed was familiar to me. That woman, or women a lot like her, call me every day.
But, when you don’t have a career that takes you into the corners of people’s homes, this video is surprising. Isn’t it?
What isn’t surprising is the effect the clutter has on us.
It’s creating some significant stress for the families — particularly the mothers.
They suggest mothers are more stressed because they are responsible for tidying up. The mothers in this study also worked 30+ hours a week outside their home.
Can I tell you a secret I’ve noticed after 8 years of talking to people about their clutter? Men who call us or who are home when we are working, never — never!– express guilt about asking for help organizing an area of their home.*
Women, on the other hand, often have so much guilt around asking for help that they will cancel our session. I’ve had 2 women cancel multiple sessions before they finally allow us to help them. They end up loving the help, of course, once they overcome their shame about needing it. And good gravy! They need our help! Look at these videos!
Even Wonder Woman could not declutter these homes alone.
I’m so disorganized
So, if you fall into the first category of people who are drowning in clutter yourself and feeling very unorganized at home, you are not alone. Not even close! It’s so hard to stay on top of everyone’s stuff and cook healthy meals and water all the plants. Give yourself a break. (and maybe call an organizer) !!
What’s wrong with these people?
And, if you have an organized home and think those who don’t are just lazy, please consider your priorities and innate strengths. Do you bake your own bread and churn your own butter? Do you grow your own vegetables and program your own computer? Some people do. Some people find those activities as fun and easy as you find organizing.
As long as there are people around us there will be people who do things differently than we do, people who have MUCH different priorities. There will people with more time and money than us, and there will be people with less.
Hopefully these videos give all viewers some larger perspective. Here are two more videos about food and space.
What are your thoughts? Are you amazed by the homes represented? Are you relieved?
*The only exception are men who have a hoarding disorder. But that’s not what I’m talking about here!
Visit A Cluttered Life website
Also, if you’re interested, check out the book that these videos are based on, “Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors.”