Being someone who is very sensitive to my environment is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I have the awareness to know whether my space feels comfortable or not, a curse because I’m hyper aware when my environment feels imbalanced or uncomfortable.
I consider myself what the authors of The Disorganized Child refer to as being a spatial/cozy organizer. This means that in order to feel comfortable in my environment I have to feel good in it. Here’s some other characteristics of someone who is a cozy/spatial organizer:
Think of missing items in relation to the place they last used the item
Need to have all supplies within reach when doing school work
Need to have their work area cleaned off
Feel disorganized when their work area is a mess
The sad reality I have experienced with many of my clients is that they have dealt with the devastating effects of clutter and disorganization, chances are for such a long time, that they have simply become numb to their environments and can’t feel when it has become imbalanced and overlook all of the little things that add up to make their space feel uncomfortable and unsettling. It’s as if they tuned out all of the little incoveniences, aggravations and annoyances that bring them so much stress throughout the day.
Inconveniences like having to push ten items to the side when they are trying to get to one in a cabinet. Or like the aggravation of seeing a pile of clutter sitting at the end of the staircase that’s been sitting there for a year but continuing to avoid it. Stressors like looking for an important piece of paper last minute and not being able to find it. Even not being able to move around in your workspace freely because of the arrangement of your furniture can be a minor annoyance that combined with all the other annoyances that you are not paying attention to can contribute to the feeling of being stressed out and overwhelmed.
Becoming numb to your environment means you have tuned out your needs and are possibly operating from a place of survival. You might hear yourself saying something like “I just need to get through the day.” You may have become hopeless and have convinced yourself that doing the little things don’t matter. Little things like getting yourself a more comfortable chair to sit in. Or replacing your worn out towels and sheets. Or even replacing that light bulb in your bathroom that if you did would help you put your makeup on eaiser.
Here’s a challenge for you. Keep a pad of paper in each one of your rooms. As you go about your day in any of these spaces, write down things like when you see something that has been bugging you, or doesn’t work, doesn’t feel good when you touch it, makes you feel bad when you think of it, can use the word hate when looking at it, you’ve been wanting to let it go or replace for a while and even find yourself thinking of how much easier your life would be if you had something. Make a conscious effort to attend to one of those a week.
With each little incovenience, annoyance and aggravator you consciously decide to take care, you will notice a weight being lifted off your shoulder. You can’t even begin to imagine how much better you will feel when you hang that beautiful picture that’s been sitting there on the ground for a year (client just did this). The replenishment of energy that happens when you finally get rid of that dead plant that you know you will never take care of. The lifting of depression when you get that new floor mat to place on your cold bathroom floor. Even finish painting your bedroom could bring about a relaxing feeling that will help you sleep better.
By waking up to your environment and notice and choose to attend to those things that have made being in your space not so pleasant, you will be making a declaration that your needs do matter. No matter how small they are. And when you do that, just watch how much better you’ll feel and how much more enjoyable your life becomes.