Unfortunately, staying in this comfort zone has its drawbacks as well: as a rule, it makes it more difficult to consider change. Don’t get me wrong: there are levels to this perceptions. Some people are able more easily to overcome such limitations and are happy to embrace change in well-defined situations. Others seek the thrill of the unknown and push themselves at every moment. That said, I believe that most people choose carefully where they embrace that change and thrill, and where they prefer to stick to the status quo.
When it comes to your own home, your family and your livelihood, I would think that you’ll be more cautious and prevent rocking the boat too much. This obviously translates into how likely you are to accept changes to your living situation.
Decluttering is often about dealing with practical issues or sentimental reasons, with engrained habits or sheer inability of letting go of things. But the element of ‘change’ is ever present and often overlooked. Many of my clients are simply afraid of change in general, of moving outside of their comfort zone. They have built their burrow that keeps them safe from the outside world. Change is all around us anyway, the world is moving at breakneck speeds and not all of us are able to adjust quickly enough.
This is especially true for the older generation. I’m trying not to generalise too much, but it stands to reason that those who grow up with a particular set of technology will be more able to adjust to new technology than are those who had to get used to technology in the first place. Luckily, this year has shown us that most of us are able to learn new skills like using videoconferencing tools on a tablet. Sounds brilliant, but I’m also aware that there are those who cannot adapt.
Not adapting seems to be a baseline of our lives, and change is not welcome in most cases. Of course, change disrupts calm and regular processes! Having to order food online is very different from going to the local shop and choosing from the selection in real life.
In a similar way, changes in your home will initially appear to be unwanted, and it takes a bit of getting used to the new state of affairs before it’s accepted as the new default. With some clients, this is a fast process and many changes can be applied in short succession. With other clients, this is a tedious process that requires many interruptions and time to settle in.
Change doesn’t come easy to all of us, and the type of change we are considering makes a difference as well: changing what you eat is a big one while moving a piece of furniture is easy, switching from one bedroom to another could pose huge problems while moving house and sleeping in a new room is fine in the grand scheme of things.
I would even posit that there are many of us who claim to be okay with changes, but are really only hiding their discomfort to keep it together and not fall apart at the seams. Part of my job involves finding out how my client really feels about anything I propose to do and ask them to decide on. It’s a touchy subject for every single job, even those where we appear to deal with practical issues like paperwork. Surprisingly, even a pile of papers that has become a fixture in someone’s life can be disturbing to see disappear!
My advice to you is to question your motives when change is afoot: figure out if you are REALLY unhappy with the potential new situation, or if there are ‘proper’ reasons to stick to the status quo.
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My mission: help clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.