5: The Real Reasons You're Disorganized
JoAnn Krall: Welcome to episode five of Permission to be Messy. I'm your host, JoAnn Krall and today I'm talking about the real reasons you're disorganized.
The other day, I decided to type into chat AI. What are the top reasons someone is disorganized and the top reasons we have clutter. Now I know the answers to these questions, but I want it to see what the average person would see when they typed in these questions, whether it be into a chat bot or if they would type it into Google.
so I want to talk about these. I'm going to list out what it said, and then I'm going to talk about my thoughts behind it and what I think of the real reasons why we're disorganized.
This is what it said. The most common reasons that people might be disorganized. Lack of time management skills. Lack of motivation, overwhelmed with too many tasks, lack of systems and processes, procrastination, poor memory, a cluttered environment, ADHD, stress and anxiety, and then lack of discipline and consistency.
These are all very true, but it really doesn't go to the heart of why we're disorganized.
When we're talking about lack of time management skills and systems and processes and discipline and consistency.
What that really boils down to is not having systems in place, but more importantly, not having the right systems for us in place.
Because when we do have the right systems in place, we can overcome things like having poor memory, ADHD, and learn how to work around our stress and anxiety.
Having those systems in place are what help us deal with those issues. So it's not that each one of these things is independent of each other. They all work together Before we can even get to systems, we have to reduce as much as we possibly can. And that's where we get to the, where they talk about a cluttered environment or being overwhelmed with too many tasks when we have too much on our to-do list and we have too much stuff around it's really hard to create systems. So you see how it's all kind of revolving around each other. And seeing a list like this, you may say, all right, I just need better time management skills, but no, maybe you do have stress and anxiety or you have ADHD or you have too much stuff.
It's really important that we have a bird's eye view, because if we see that you have stress and anxiety or that you have ADHD, that's where we need to start and think, okay. How do we now approach those systems and how do we approach that time management and how do we approach decluttering?
That brings me to the second thing that I searched, the top reasons we have clutter, and I'm going to go through each one, but I'm going to talk about each one as I list it this time.
The first one is lack of time. They say people may not have enough time to organize their possessions, which can result in clutter.
This one kind of had me thinking what doesn't make sense because to me, clutter is really anything that you don't love or need. So if you have everything that you love or need. It's not clutter. It may not be put away. But it's not clutter. I think this one should say lack of time to declutter.
The second one is emotional attachment. People may attach emotional value to their possessions, which make, makes it difficult for them to let go.
a hundred percent. I agree with that. for most people, the emotional attachment is to things like memorabilia or things we've gotten from loved ones, but there are some people out there that attach emotions to other things as well.
The third thing they list is procrastination. And what they write is people may put off organizing their possessions, which can lead to clutter. Again, They're saying that clutter is anything that's not put away. Procrastination. I talk about it all the time and often it is just a symptom of perfectionism. So not being able to create that perfectly organized space that you want.
Or we're simply paralyzed by the amount of stuff that we have and we don't know where to start.
The fourth thing they say is lack of storage space. It says people may have too many possessions for the space they have available, which can result in clutter. Yes, this is true. If you have too much stuff. You either have to get really creative with your storage, go vertical, use every spot that you have.
Or you're going to have to really think about letting go of more of your stuff. Now, even if you have a big home, office space, lots of storage space, I really believe you should only have what you love or need. So even in those spaces, you shouldn't be filling them. But certainly if you have a small space, you're just going to have to be more strict with yourself.
Obviously you're going to have to keep everything that you need. But the things that you love, you're going to have to really think about those.
Okay. So number five, fear of wasting people may fear they will waste something useful or valuable if they throw it away, even if they haven't used it in a long time. I 100% agree with this. This is a big reason why we have clutter. People hold onto things because they think they may need it someday. Or they think I've spent a lot of money on this. And, I just feel bad giving it away. If you've spent money on it and you know, 100%, you're never going to need it again. And you're only holding onto it out of the guilt of spending the money on it.
Give it to somebody who will love it or will need it, or you can even sell it if you think that recouping some of the costs will help you let it go.
But if you are thinking, oh, I might need this someday. And you know, it will be really hard to find a really expensive just hold onto it. But not if you have that limited space, because it's gonna, it's gonna take away the space of the things that you need and truly love today.
Okay. Number six is impulse buying. Yes.
When you are just shopping because it's a great activity. Or you just love the feeling that you get when you get new stuff. That is a really big contributor to clutter because if you're buying things that you're not going to use or display. Or maybe you just buying things because they're on sale, you're just filling up your space and you want to make sure that you're really mindful of what you're bringing in.
I always say, if you find something that you really love, try at that moment to think about something that's already in your home or your office that you can let go. So that you're at least keeping that equilibrium.
Number seven is sentimental value, which I think is very similar to emotional attachment. So I won't repeat myself on that.
Number eight, they say is laziness. Ooh. They say people may not want to put effort into organizing their possessions, which can lead to clutter. But again, they're defining clutter as mess and things that aren't put away And then the last two things are perfectionism and lack of organization systems. I think those are more related to, being disorganized rather than having clutter.
What I've taken away from this list about things that are clutter is that, they're really thinking about things that are not put away and organized.
When you think about the word decluttering, you're not looking for homes for things. You're looking to get rid of them. Now I want to talk about some of the reasons that weren't even on this list.
So maybe. Like me, you were always organized until you weren't. People always ask me, they say, oh, you're a Professional Organizer you must be so organized. And have you always been organized? And I always say yes until I wasn't.
I was organizing since probably the age of five years old. I was always rearranging cabinets and making sure that everything was in order. And then, to my adult life. I became an accountant. So, you know, that's all about organizing numbers. My home was immaculate. It was clutter-free. Everything had its place.
And then I had a baby. And things were still good. You know, right after having the baby, things would slide a little bit, but then I got back on track.
Then I had another child. So now I have two daughters and I was running a home-based business at this point. Things were still pretty good. it wasn't perfect, but you come to expect that with having children around. And then when my daughters were four and two I lost my parents within two weeks of each other.
Now, thankfully my parents were incredibly organized. So that actually made that extremely stressful, sad, and horrible situation a little bit easier believe it or not. And then I decided to start another home-based business because I wanted to do creative memories. And I think that was a coping mechanism from the loss.
And I remember sitting in my home office one day. And my daughters had to be at swim lessons in five minutes. And I was looking around at my office, which was a disaster. And I thought, the sink is filled with dishes there's laundry.
And I had to leave. And I just wanted to scream and break down and I started to cry but I couldn't lose it in front of them.
So I held it together, got them to swim lessons and when I got home I said, I need to fix this. And so I set out to research all of the ways. To get organized, which was interesting because I had always been organized but I needed to find a new way. So I read all the books, I did all the programs and I realized that cookie cutter solutions don't work. And I put together a new way for myself, and you know what that has evolved over the years. My girls are now almost 25 and 23. So things have changed.
So just in my story alone, I've brought up three things that can cause you to become disorganized. One having children. Two. Working from home. The three, losing a loved one.
So some other things that can cause you to become disorganized. These are life things that just happen in life. And I've seen them with many of my clients.
The first one would be illness and it could be something temporary. You could get sick and be sick for, you know, a few weeks or a few months, or it could be a lifelong illness that just takes you from the point where you just are unable to keep up with, even if you were organized, keep up with those systems, or if you were disorganized to start, things are really going to start to deteriorate. And this is where you definitely need to give yourself some grace and ask for help.
Another situation could just simply be getting married. You may marry somebody who is completely disorganized and you may still be organized, but your space isn't. And then, you get married and then you have children, Sometimes having children is very overwhelming for people. I was able to keep up until I wasn't because, I had another life situation thrown at me. So losing a loved one. even, just the grief of losing a loved one or, losing a loved one and inheriting all their stuff or dealing with their estate. Like I said, my parents were organized, so it was pretty easy, even though there was a lot to it.
But sometimes it's not that easy and that can really take a toll.
And while I know I'm not touching on every single situation because everybody's situation is individual I want you to know that whether you've been disorganized your whole life, or you've had something happen in life that's made you more disorganized or turned you to be disorganized. There is hope. Give yourself permission to be messy while getting back on track. Know, that you can find a solution that works for you.
And that it doesn't have to be perfect and it all doesn't have to be done in one day. So, if you have any questions about anything I've talked about today, don't hesitate to reach out to me. My website will be in the show notes, but it's JoAnn krall.com. And as always, I'm wishing you much productivity, peace, prosperity, and the permission to be messy.
Thank you for listening.