People tend to be creatures of habit, and I’m no exception. The longer I live in a situation, the less able I am to see it from an outsider’s perspective, and this was especially true of my home. One day I realized that I had become completely clutter blind.
I knew I had clutter, and I knew I wanted to declutter, but I was also able to function without really seeing how bad things had gotten. Ultimately, if you live in an environment long enough, it becomes your norm. Piles of paper stacked in corners or laundry draped over chairs just become background noise. They become the normal decor, a way of life, and they end up either never really being dealt with or taking a long time to be handled.
Here are some signs you too might be clutter blind:
High Tolerance for Piles
If you can walk around piles of dirty clothes until you have nothing clean left to wear or live with a sink overflowing with dirty dishes until you have nothing clean left to eat from, you’re probably clutter blind.
Clutter blindness is basically the ability to function so well surrounded by clutter that you practically don’t even see it anymore. You know it’s there, but it can sit and sit and sit without being dealt with.
I don’t think clutter blindness necessarily means the clutter doesn’t bother someone; it’s simply that they’ve grown so used to it that there’s no real urgency in cleaning it up. It starts to blend in with your home, and you don’t really see it anymore so instead of clearing your kitchen counter, you push everything over to prep your meals. Instead of putting books on a shelf or sorting mail, you create piles to be dealt with later. Instead of unpacking a suitcase from your most recent trip (that may not have been “recent” at all), you shove it just out of the way enough that it doesn’t really affect your day to day life. That’s clutter blindness.
Home isn’t a Haven
You feel burdened by your home and belongings. Instead of feeling happy and at peace because you’re in a place where you can relax and enjoy yourself, your home has evolved into a never-ending to do list that constantly nags you. Looking around your home just reminds you of everything you should be doing and how your home should look. It’s stressful and unpleasant, the exact opposite of what your home should be.
Nothing has a Home
One huge reason for clutter blindness is having a lot of items but few, if any, homes. When someone asks, “Where does this go?” your answer could basically be, “Your guess is as good as mine!”
This is an issue I’ve had with my kids. There are times when they are truly trying to pick up their toys and get organized, but when I say, “Put this away” they have no idea where anything really goes… and I don’t either.
I realized I was clutter blind when I took pictures inside my home and saw the clutter staring back at me from the photograph. There was something about being slightly removed from the situation and looking at it in a picture that made me realize we had a lot more around our house than I had realized.
The good news is that looking at a picture can help to shock you out of your clutter blindness. This realization is what prompted me to encourage others to take pictures of their homes before they start decluttering. It’s great to see how much progress you’ve made when you’re finished with a space, but there’s also something powerful about a picture that makes those out of place things a little easier to spot.
I know how overwhelming it can be to look around your home and see nothing but an unending list of things to do. I know how frustrating and exhausting it can be to feel like everything in your home is out of place and you don’t even know where to start to get things cleaned up and in order.
You deserve a home you can enjoy, that doesn’t feel overwhelming or embarrassing, and I want to help you get there, step by step.