reorganization, Murdock says. A series
of small changes can bring about large
improvements over time, even if things
are currently feeling out of control. A
situation that took months to create
won’t change overnight.
“I usually recommend that people start
by creating a sanctuary somewhere in
the house where they can go and sit and
re-establish a sense of calm in their lives.
Restoring order to one small space can be
a significant victory.”
Reorganizing a household one small
area at a time will create a sense of
progress and momentum. Often there’s
a desire to tackle everything at once, but
Murdock says people often overestimate
their energy levels and underestimate the
job at hand.
“Another thing you can do is make
an appointment with yourself for 10
minutes every day. Set a timer, and focus
on cleaning or organizing for those 10
minutes. A lot of people find once they
get started, they want to keep going.”
Once some order is restored, it’s
important to find a way to maintain
that order. And what works for one
person, family or household might not
work for another.
“It’s good to involve all the family
members—let them take ownership of
some of the daily tasks themselves,”
Good nutrition, physical activity
and social connections all add up
to a greater sense of wellbeing.
An organized home that reduces
anxiety is another positive factor
that will help you and your family
sleep easier—in beds they make
each morning. |a
creates distraction and overloads the
senses—and that often leads to anxiety,”
says Karen Murdock, an Edmonton-
based consultant who helps people get
their living spaces, and sometimes their
lives and peace of mind, back on track.
“I’ve seen it happen in six-year-olds and
In extreme cases, the anxiety caused
by chronic disorganization can cause
depression. People develop a sense of
shame about their surroundings and no
longer want to spend time in their homes
or invite anyone over.
Having a cluttered home has other
“Disorganization can put stress on
relationships,” Murdock says. “I’ve even
seen marriages destroyed when one
partner is messier.”
It’s harder to leave the house on time
or keep up with paying the bills when
the car keys or paperwork can’t be
easily found. “It can get to a point where
people are going out buying new things
they know they already have, but they
can’t find them,” Murdock says.
The effects of disorganization on you
or your family’s wellbeing depend on
individual tolerance levels. Murdock
says she’s had clients claim their homes
were disasters, but in fact weren’t that
untidy. Others have said they had some
minor problems, but their homes turned
out to be in extreme disorder.
“I usually say if the degree of
messiness means a given household
space is no longer functional, then there’s
an issue,” she says.
It’s unnecessary and likely self-defeating to aim for Martha Stewart-level
Restoring order to one
small space can be a