But experts say the problem with all this is that many people are going about it in the wrong way. Too often they approach clutter and disorganization as a space problem that can be solved by acquiring bins and organizers.
Measures like these “are based on the concept that this is a house problem,” said David F. Tolin, director of the anxiety disorders center at the Institute of Living in Hartford and an adjunct associate professor of psychiatry at Yale.
“It isn’t a house problem,” he went on. “It’s a person problem. The person needs to fundamentally change their behavior.”
I know this is true, but I will forever use lack of space as an excuse. I just know it.
Here's the really true part:
Excessive clutter and disorganization are often symptoms of a bigger health problem. People who have suffered an emotional trauma or a brain injury often find housecleaning an insurmountable task. Attention deficit disorder, depression , chronic pain and grief can prevent people from getting organized or lead to a buildup of clutter. At its most extreme, chronic disorganization is called hoarding, a condition many experts believe is a mental illness in its own right, although psychiatrists have yet to formally recognize it.
True dat. A solution?
On its Web site, www.nsgcd.org , the group offers a scale to help people gauge the seriousness of their clutter problem. It also includes a referral tool for finding a professional organizer. But since the hourly fees can range from $60 to $100 or more, it may be worth consulting a new book by Dr. Tolin, Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee, “Buried in Treasures” (Oxford, 2007), which offers self-assessments and advice for people with hoarding tendencies.
I went and looked at the scale and apparently I'm not as bad as I think I am (or my husband thinks I am). Interesting...now I have evidence!
In any event, regardless of its reputation as a true disorder or whether it's a symptom of other disorders (I think this is probably the true cause), I don't think anyone can say that they want a disorganized living space. The hard part, in this case, isn't admitting it, but fixing it. And pain really does get in the way.