THE PSYCHOLOGY OF DISORDER

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WHAT CAN REFLECT THE DISORDER OF OUR HOUSE?

Psychologists say a messy house can be a window into people's mental health, either because it's perfectly organized or because they show complete disorder. Want to know more?

 

WHAT'S BEHIND THE MESS

AN INTERESTING STORY

An article I recently read in The Wall Street Journal published some interesting stories that I tell you next:

MRS. JAMES

Jennifer James and her husband don't have a lot of clutter, however they find it hard to get rid of their children's things. The beautiful guest shed behind his home in Oklahoma City is filled with old toys, disused clothes, artwork, school documents, two baby beds, a cot and a wooden horse.

"Every time I think about getting rid of it, I feel like crying," says Ms. James, a 46-year-old PR consultant. She fears that her children, ages 6, 8 and 16, can tell her she's not a good mother if she doesn't keep all her memories. "Keeping all this, I'll tell my children, I loved your innocence!, I loved you very much!"

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Among the things we keep, powerful emotions accumulate, be it lots of read newspapers, small clothes, obsolete electronic objects or even empty margarine containers. Our deepest thoughts and feelings are reflected in everything we accumulate.

There is growing recognition among professional organizers that we face every day with disorder, about the need to understand why we keep what we keep, or why we inevitably accumulate things again.

Our work goes far beyond making closets look pretty. It consists of entering hearts and understanding feelings.

For some people who have large basements full of old things and without apparent use, this is no problem. But many others claim to be drowning in disorder and are distressed at the idea of getting rid of things.

In some cases, chronic disorganization can be a symptom of attention deficit and hyperactivity, an obsessive-compulsive disorder, or even dementia, all of which would involve difficulties with planning, concentration, or decision-making.

In its extreme form, hoarding is now a distinct psychiatric disorder, defined in the new diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5) as "difficulty in ruling out persistent possessions regardless of their value"

The difficulty of getting rid of our things could go hand in hand with anxiety to separation, compulsive shopping, perfectionism, or the dilation of problems. And renunciation of these difficulties can create a vicious cycle of evasion, anxiety, and guilt.

In most cases, however, psychologists say disorder may be due to what they call cognitive errors, mistakes that drive exaggerated behaviors that get out of hand. Some example would be to say, "I might need it someday," "it could be valuable," or "I could use it again if I lose (or gain) weight."

We all have these thoughts and it's perfectly normal. The ability is to recognize the irrational thinking that makes you hold on to that object and replace it with one that helps you, for example, someone else could use this, so I'm going to get rid of it.

However, the biggest source of disorder and the hardest thing to rule out is everything that has sentimental meaning.It's natural to want to hold on to objects that trigger memories, but some people confuse getting rid of the object with letting the person go.

There's no reason to get rid of our belongings just by doing it. What we need to find out is, what's important to one and create an environment that supports that.

MR MAC COLLUM

Robert McCollum, state tax auditor and husband of Mrs. Jenifer James, mentioned at the beginning of our story, said she kept a broken fairy wand from when she was just months old.

"I don't want to lose my memories, and I don't need a professional organizer," he said. "I've already organized everything into boxes. The only problem is if we ever move into a house that does not have 100 m2 squares of storage room or garage", added.

Sometimes people who cling to memories are images of themselves in different roles or in times when they were happiest. Our houses are windows to our inner being.

Nostalgia is the feeling that often leads us to keep those piles of newspapers, magazines, outdated electronic equipment and decades of invoice or craft records.

For people who are afraid to throw away things they might need in the future, it helps to think of the worst-case scenario: what if the tutu you threw away needed it to make you a Halloween costume?, What would you do? You could find almost anything on eBay, for example.

Could we also be too clean, too organized and too quick to get rid of things? Everything is subjective. What matters is whether our habits distress us.

"Guilty of the charges, my family makes fun of me," says Dr. Baumgartner. "I have to control my desire to get rid of things. Often and literally I have nothing to wear"...

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IN FRONT OF THE DEMONS OF DISORDER

7 TIPS FOR ELIMINATING DISORDER

1. ORGANIZE FROM START TO FINISH

If you organize the wardrobe and one day you wear the T-shirts, another day you wear them with the dresses and the next day with the pants, by the time you're done you'll find exactly where you started.

You must start and finish the task the same day or at most the next day. Organize the work and make sure you first have all the material for when you start: hangers, boxes, carriers, etc.

2. GIFTING THINGS

Finding a second home for those rescued things can alleviate separation anxiety and the feeling of guilt of being a wasteful one.

3. TAKE PHOTOS

Photos of old prom dresses, wedding dresses, and our basketball team's jerseys when we were eight years old will evoke the same memories and take up much less space.

4. THE 80/20 RULE

Most of us wear only 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. The rest reflects an image or role in a past life. Recognize them as what they are. If you want to move forward and free yourself from the past, start with your wardrobe!

5. MAKE INVENTORY

How many pairs of jeans, shoes, swimsuits, creams or tupers do you have? Set some limits!

6. MODERATE PURCHASES

Am I really going to use it or am I trying to fill an emotional void? A house with items that have never been used is a telling sign that I'm buying without a real need. I'm sure you've got more than enough!

7. FINAL TEST

If getting rid of things seems painful, temporarily hide them in an accessible place and see if the feeling goes too deep. You may even forget you kept them!

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