Clutter Buster by Marla Stone
Yes, it is true, I have been called a "Clutter Buster" by the Orange County register http://www.ocregister.com/articles/stone-370146-says-carbone.html, and I am proud of it.
Helping people with professionally organizing their homes and businesses and even their boat and or car has been a blessing both for me, my affiliates and the community equally. Hoarding has reached epidemic proportions across the planet and someone has to do the dirty work.
Mixing up the organizing with Feng Shui, home staging, interior design just makes it fun as well. Getting organized is part of having shelter so it is not only on your want to do list but it is considered a need to feel more safe, secure, healthy and happy.
There is nothing like being able to re-do an entire home in 1-3 days. Clearing the space helps clear the person of all kinds of stuck energy that has built up and had nowhere to go, since clutter was the main focus. Interesting how much attention clutter gets and how it affects your psyche.
Understanding the inside dynamics, triggers, and causes of how and why hoarding and or disorganization challenges start, really is the beginning of the project. I do an assessment initially so I can get acquainted with the client, and they can assess me as well to see if there is a fit. There must be a mutual respect for the home project to go smoothly and have an effective and happy outcome. Sometimes people have wanted the organizers to just "get the job done" and with very little input or participation with getting organized. Usually the lack of involvement does not have the most successful outcome. Sometimes people become territorial and angry when their items are being touched and moved and so monitored involvement seems to work quite fine in these cases. Some people, while getting organized, are extremely cooperative, helpful and have a lot of insight into their challenge, and are able to come out on the other side of organized. These clients have the greatest success and ability to remain organized.
Each client I have worked with is different, but all want one thing and that is a beautiful and functional, uncluttered space with room to move about. But clutter is the symptom of something that is usually bothering the person who suffers from over the top clutter. It could be a divorce, loss, grief, depression, abuse, loneliness, emptiness, longing, anger, lack of motivation, anxiety, lack of time and so, so many other reasons.
The brave person that takes on the challenge of having their home cleared, organized and refreshed has one thing in common, they have had "enough of their stuff".
Marla Stone, Professional Organizer
Call for free phone consultation at 949-709-7000
What happened to my? Where is the? Have you seen my? I can't find my??? Keeping track of our stuff, having too much stuff, wanting more stuff with nowhere to put it, and just getting to our stuff seems to ring out a warning bell that you may have some clutter challenges.
So why is clutter such a major event in so many people's lives? The first public story about hoarding was in 1947 about the Collyer Brothers http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collyer_brothers This view that people had issues with their stuff was both alarming and eye opening. People, for the first time, publicy became aware that having too much stuff could pose a deadly threat.
This past year I have had 100's, yes 100's of clients ask me the same question. Why do I have this clutter challenge? My answer is never the same for any two people and or families. I have clients with mild disorganization and some that are decor challenged. Then I have clients that have their entire home stuffed with filth, grime, rat poop and just a whole lot of NADA. Each case is really more and more different than the next. I had one lady that was so over organized and such a minimalist without a stitch of decor or barely anything in the house. She felt deserted after her divorce and in a confused daze. She couldn't figure out why she still felt disorganized even though her husband had taken all the furniture and pretty much everything. I have other folks that have so many things collected over 20 years and not on thing they owned ever left.
Each person shares a different reaction after de-cluttering whether it is a pantry, a garage, an entire home or a business. Some people are super grateful for the massive change and than some, let's just say have a random and possibly psychotic reaction. The resistance to change can pose a strong negative reaction, and sometimes even danger and or threat to some clients if not handled well. When there are extraordinary circumstances such as hoarding, loss and grief an organizer with a mental health background will be the best resource for the project.
It is always fun to have the client symbolize their own demise or stuff. One lady I worked with last year had cluttered up her whole house with fabric. It was literally EVERYWHERE!! FABRIC, FABRIC, AND MORE FABRIC. She had gone through a grueling break up with her boyfriend, lost a parent, and had moved into a new home 3 years prior. She just kept buying more and more fabric. She symbolized the fabric as something touchable, that felt good, that never bit back and that made her feel warm and fuzzy. All the things she had lost with the lack of love from her ex-husband. Each piece of fabric made her FEEL positively ecstatic.
Another client had collected so much stuff from Disneyland. At least $10,000 in stuff from Disneyland, plus enough clothes to fill a Kohls. Why clothing and Disneyland? Well it symbolized her emptiness created from her childhood all the way through to her loveless marriage. The clothing made her feel important and loveable and the stuff from Disneyland symbolized the lack of love and attention from her childhood.
So whatever you seem to collect shoes, knicknacks, hats, books, papers, records, furniture, purses find out what all that stuff really means and symbolize it to understand what the objects truly mean to you. Having too much stuff can be Greed ( or really a hunger for power and control), Lust (or longing for real love and fulfillment), Attachment ( or lack of authentic relationships and achievment / ownership), Anger (especially evident with people who crowd out their loved ones and family members with their stuff, but also from having a lack of unconditional love and regard and attention perhaps from childhood), and Vanity ( or low self esteem, personality challenges, inability to have an authentic relationship with self and others).
Get to the bottom of your stuff by figuring out how to uncover the true meaning of it and you will soon be able to get it out of your space when it is no longer useful, serving a purposed, loved or sentimental.
Marla Stone, MSW, Professional Organizer
Any reference to clients is fictional in nature and not specific to any actual clients.
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real
persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Okay well it looks like you will make it into 2017 with or without a "hitch". If you compare life to a pomegranate seed, it can be bitter and sweet at the same time. But if you didn't have the bitter you also wouldn't know the sweet, now would you. You can NEVER get rid of ALL the chaos
in your life, but I will offer some things to make it sweeter for 2017.
Since it is a New Year most of us have a conscious or unconscious desire to improve ourselves. You may have even written a list of resolutions. I love the word resolution. Simply, it means to re-solve areas of our lives that are not working.
One of my favorite sayings as a
past therapist was "so how is
that working for you”? I used that phrase when
people would go over and over the
negative aspects of their
lives, as if talking fervently about their woes would
somehow solve self and life issues. Rarely, does just talking change or
transform something that bothers us. It is the action that
follows the thought that will
change our behavior and our
lives. Even cognitive restructuring, a popular therapy
technique, is just a band aid, if a new behavior doesn't occur. So definitely
write out the list of things you want to accomplish in January 2017, not just things you want to change, but what you truly want to see manifest in your life.
With all the wisdom and ideas I collected throughout the years I will share a list of my favorites with you. I will also talk about ideas for improved health, wealth and
life style in this article.
Ideas and Thoughts for
People change when people want to change or perhaps “see the light”.
You could wait a whole lifetime for a person “to change” but it doesn’t mean they will. You could wait your whole life to change yourself, but you only change when somthing changes.
It takes WILL to change! Most people who are “toxic” are usually in the mindset
that they are entitled and perfect, and therefore they do not believe that
change is necessary. Toxic people may not have the will to “see the light”, since it would be overwhelming when they realize how much time and effort it would take to change their ways. The type of person that thinks of self first, puts self
first is called a frenemy. Often they do not see their own demise. They are always wondering why things do not work out for themselves blaming others for their life blunders.
Take the path of least resistance….it is always easier.
There are rules to relationships, but you and no one else makes them and
follows them except you.
If you are living like a hamster in a wheel going round and round and you are
not going anywhere, get out of your groove and change it
up. Stop the wheel, get off, create goals and work on achieving them.
We only need or have to eat, sleep, drink water, go to the bathroom, have shelter, and in some cases take medication to stay alive (although many choose not to comply with medication). Anything that keeps us alive is a have to or a need. We either want or don't want to do everything else. Watch the difference
between have to, need to and or want or don't want to. We
don't have to go shopping, clean our homes, care for
the people in our lives, or even pay taxes. We either want
to or don't want to. If there is something you don't want to do,
but doing it would keep you out of trouble, than understand why you will
do something that you don't want to do. For instance I
don't want to go to work,
but I will since it will benefit
my lifestyle and my family. If you find
yourself loathing the job, admit that you don't like it, and that will be the
first step to change. Admit the things that are not working for you.
After you admit what doesn't work, use the decision making
chart in my previous blog to identify a new coping strategy
to change what does not work.
Decision Making Chart http://www.i-deal-lifestyle.com/1/post/2011/10/how-to-make-difficult-decisions-by-marla-stone.html
Shop Green, it IS BETTER FOR THE
PLANET. You can find most of what you want in Thrift Stores.
It is better to give than receive. Don’t forget that!!
Go to Therapy and or Get a Life Coach.
Two heads are better than one.
Stop blaming others or past
situations and stay in the now!
The only person listening to that kind of ranting and raving is you, and it will not solve anything. We cannot change the past. Your present self, health and
your thoughts are the home you live in...it is your consciousness that is your
home. When you are thinking about the past or future you
are not in the now. Grip something tangible, like your wall
or table and get fixed on the now and stay
present. The wall is here now! Don't talk to the wall, just hold on until you can get into the present.
Get organized, it will not only clear your space,
it will clear your mind. Mind Clutter is a vicious cycle. Cluttered mind,
cluttered space, cluttered mind, cluttered
My mom's favorite saying "it takes two to
tango"...don't know who made it up...but
that is the case. If you are
having a disagreement with another person, there is
a way to resolve it without getting steamed up. Sharing your feelings and
validating them can usually settle down a negative situation. If you are
having a difficult situation with yourself, there
usually are two opposing aspects involved creating self fighting.
Share your feelings with yourself and validate
yourself. EX: I feel misunderstood, bullied, manipulated etc..... but I
am a strong and capable person who will
If you are upset with someone or something
and have negative things to say....take
that finger and
point it towards yourself. Usually if you can see the negative
in someone else it is because that trait is in you.
If you are unusually upset by someone else, unless you are dealing with
someone with a Personality Disorder, it most likely is something you want to
address with yourself. http://www.depression-guide.com/personality-disorders.htm
Eat healthy. Look at all your
products in your pantry and pull and out and trash anything with corn syrup,
chemicals, hydrogenated oils of any kind, ingredients you can't pronounce or
identify, products high in salt and or sugar content, products
with dye. You can’t believe how much dye is in children’s cereals and
cookies. Eat citrus fruit daily, decrease consumption of
flesh, and increase intake of
vegetables. Get a healthy
water system installed in your home and drink healthy
filtered water. Remember skinny does not always mean healthy!
Being overweight though is not healthy.
Exercise, even if it is difficult or inconvenient.
Decrease alcohol intake and smoking or work on eliminating if there are
addiction challenges! Am I starting to get annoying? Oh Well...these are just
If you meet criteria for an addiction
Meet with friends and family as much as
possible, as long as they are supportive. People closest to you, your support
system, usually know you better then you know yourself. If you are
isolating yourself get a mental health checkup.
Identify toxic people who put you down, create chaos and who
have issues with greed, vanity, anger, lust or unhealthy boundaries and
stay away. Look up "Personality disorder" and if you meet criteria go get some help! Personality Disorders can ruin your time on this planet and those close to you. They usually are not diagnosed even if you have been to therapy. Therapists who are good enough to catch the Personality Disorder generally keeps it to themselves and rarely, unfortunately shares that aspect of the diagnosis with the client. Also many people are
diagnosed improperly with Bipolar Disorder that actually may have a Personality
Disorder instead. Check with a Psychatrist and or Mental Health Professional to understand if you meet criteria for a Psychiatric Challenge.
Watch out for people in your family who suffer from mental and or
physical health challenges. The signs and symptoms of suicide are listed below
The signs and symptoms of homicide are discussed in this article http://www.ehow.com/info_8136388_warning-signs-someone-capable-murder.html
Signs of diabetes challenges are here http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetic-ketoacidosis/DS00674/DSECTION=symptoms
Signs of a stroke are http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=symp
Signs of a heart attack are listed here http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/WarningSignsofaHeartAttack/Warning-Signs-of-a-Heart-Attack_UCM_002039_Article.jsp
Have some kind of spiritual connection, and practice being spiritual regularly in life.
If you are confused about your belief system, talk it out with someone until you
get it straight. Being uncertain about whether there is a God and or a Higher Power
is liking living in limbo. Until you get some clear ideas about why and how we are
here on this planet, living in a body, you will unlikely be clear about anything else.
Have one day per week with only positive thoughts. Every
time you think negatively, on that day, tap yourself on the shoulder and say
“stop”, and resume thinking positively by replacing the negative thought with an
opposite positive thought. So if
you say to yourself “oh I’m so stupid”, replace it with “I’m a super
smart and capable person”. You will be amazed at how
negative self talk can bring down your ego system, causing anxiety and hostility
towards self and others, and how positive self talk will raise your
Have a wonderful 2017!!
Marla Stone, MSW is a Professional Organizer/Lifestyle
Coach, Decor and Feng Shui Specialist.
Here you will find an array of blog articles about decluttering your home, life and how to improve your business strategy
Marla is known as the Declutter Your Strategy™ expert. Marla earned her BA in Psychology and a Master's in Social Work and is the founder of