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Fear keeps us from doing so much in our lives. Think about it for a minute: have you ever not done something out of fear? Maybe you wanted to apply for a new job, but you were afraid of rejection. Maybe you wanted to ask someone on a date, but again…rejection. Maybe you wanted to sing karaoke with friends, but you were worried that they’d be horrified at your singing voice. Maybe you want to live a more active life, but you are busy with work, family, chores, etc., and you are afraid of failure. This month’s blog post is about how fear limits us and how we must do things that get us out of our comfort zones if we want to grow our minds and improve our lives.

When I help clients declutter, I talk about change and living the lives that they want to live. Some clients want to live in a simplified space where they can cook beautiful meals every night with ease, but their counters are covered with toys, books, papers, mail that has yet to be opened, and more. The idea of decluttering the counter to make dinner seems daunting, so they do takeout instead. This is more common than you’d imagine. Sometimes there is a bit of fear attached to this too. What if I end up not being able to make a great meal? What if no one likes it? What if I get tired and want to stop half-way through? It’s just easier to do takeout and use my cluttered counter as an excuse. Right?

Sometimes, these thought patters are not so blatant. Sometimes we are all just on autopilot, and the routine is: get home, order takeout, clear enough space at the table to put the takeout containers and a few paper plates, and then try to do five other tasks while this is happening. Is this the life we want? You have the power to make a change! The first step, however, is to decide not to continue to live this way. It’s difficult for sure, but it’s doable. There is help out there: professional organizers, cleaning companies, friends, family, your children, a neighbor, and task/handyman companies.

Sometimes things get more difficult for a short time before they get better. We’ve all experienced this. But after a month or two, we can adopt new routines and new behaviors. It’s been done! What is the alternative? What we don’t fix will eventually catch up to us and wear us down. I sometimes tell myself that if I can get out of my comfort zone with something small like donating some clothes that I no longer wear but was keeping “just in case,” then when I have bigger challenges ahead of me, my brain will be somewhat wired to be OK with taking a risk, and I’ll be successful. But if I never get out of my comfort zone, then how will I ever grow and take on more challenges in life? Another trick is to write down all of the things that you’ve accomplished in life that at the time you thought were scary. Read your list. Look at all that you have accomplished!

Clutter is stressful, but more and more clutter will make our lives even more stressful, and when we are stressed, our immune systems do not work to capacity. This then makes us susceptible to viruses and diseases. Also, with clutter comes wasted time looking for things: important papers, bills, tax documents, and more. We know that we must take that first step. Besides once you tackle your clutter, you can move on to bigger and better life goals! My advice is: reach out, get help, ask friends and family for support and help. A year from now, you will wish that you had started now. Know that you can do this! Your future self will thank you!

Cheryl Russo

February 2019

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