This is something I often come across: people feeling very anxious about showing their rooms to a stranger like me. They believe it looks absolutely horrendous, and while that is sometimes true (very exceptional, but it has happened), most of the time the room is fine really. It just needs a bit of organising and it would be much better.
The other day I had one such case: the lady in question had a very different view on her home than I did: she was convinced that everything had gone to pieces and looked absolutely awful. I didn’t see what she saw and gave her a simple job to do at the end of our session: I asked her to take pictures of her room from all different angles and then send them to me.
Of course, I wanted the visual assistance to do my job, but I also realised that she needed to take a look at her space and see it just like an outsider would. Taking pictures is often a useful tool to get that sense of the new. An image of your room only shows particular aspects of the room. It’s like looking through a keyhole: you only see what’s right in front of you, without the distraction of the wide-angle lens of your eyes.
And lo and behold: her first comment in that email was that she looked at her pictures and suddenly realised that it wasn’t all that bad, and a lot more doable as a clearing activity than she had originally thought. The power of a change of perspective has never been more clear!
How can you make use of this effect? First of all, it helps if you can perceive the difference between your perception of your space and what it really looks like. The next step is simple: make order! Here are a couple of simple tips:
Line things up properly.
If you have several magazines and newspapers on a desk: line them up and put them in a clean pile.
Take random items home.
Anything that sits in the wrong place makes a mess: if you see something that is out of place, take it to its rightful home.
Straighten up your books rather than letting them slouch.
Books sliding off to the side and bending in all directions look messy. Just prop them up or line them up in a neat pile.
You can tell that all these things are not really much of a challenge, but doing them when it’s necessary will reduce the messy look considerably. And that will ultimately make you feel better about your space. Try it out!
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My current mission: help my clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.