Clearing the Mind and the Clutter

By Beverly Taylor

Beverly Taylor is an author, teacher and speaker, and Director of the Easy Key to Life Center. She is certified in Advanced Hypnotherapy, Transformational Healing Method™, Medical Hypnotherapy, Stress Management, and Habit Control. Find this longtime lister under OPEN EXCHANGE’s Hypnotherapy category.

In 2003, I initiated a study to investigate the use of hypnotherapy to help people reduce clutter in their lives. The study began with 48 people who had struggled with a high level of clutter for the majority of their lives or who became cluttered after a life-changing event.

Of the participants in my study, 35% became cluttered as children, 52% as young adults, and 13% as adults. In addition, some became cluttered after a specific event or issue: 8% moving to a smaller home, 6% becoming a caretaker of a person or animal with a chronic illness, 4% one’s own chronic illness, 4% a business trauma, and 2% death of a spouse.

Many people are born into a family where one parent is cluttered. Then, the behavior can be learned from the parents. In the study, 40% of the participants’ mothers were cluttered, 21% fathers, 8% both mother and father, and 48% neither parent. Some had siblings who were cluttered and others not cluttered. Another way to look at it is that the parents may not have taught organizational behavior. In my study, I found two forms of this, 1) a parent didn’t teach cleaning up and often ignored the child’s clutter, and 2) the parent would yell at the child to clean up (or similar emotional abuse), but not spend the time gently instructing the child.

Common characteristics of cluttered people are:

* High creativity and superior intelligence.
* Frequent feelings and thoughts of depression, overwhelm, perfectionism, negative self-talk, embarrassment, shame, low self-esteem, self-blame, anger, resentment, defensiveness, indecisiveness, avoidance, fears, and/or anxiety. The high desire for perfectionism can result in the person being overwhelmed by not having the time to do it “right” and then experiencing an emotional paralysis.
* Compulsive spending/shopping or other methods of obtaining “things.”
* Fear and inability to discard items. The main fear is often being afraid of making a mistake, such as throwing something away that might be needed later, filing something requiring action and forgetting it, and not remembering where something was filed. The fear of making a mistake often is due to childhood emotional abuse and creates a paralysis in the affected individual.
* Time management issues. Procrastination is very common. Being chronically late is also common. Often, the clutterer will get involved in many activities due to an attempt to avoid the emotional pain from the clutter, to gain positive feelings, and/or to satisfy the high level of interests.
* Money management problems can include compulsive buying, gambling, paying bills late, and having trouble putting the paperwork together for taxes.
* Being loners or living alone (clutter often gets in the way of relationships).
* Being overweight or having compulsive eating habits.
* Tendency to be heavy recyclers.
* Possible high desire to help others, such as buying, finding, or storing things for them.
* Having a chronic illness/disability or being a caretaker for someone with a chronic illness.
* OCD and ADD may also be present.

Hypnotherapy can help to reduce clutter. Harvard University and other institutions have discovered that the conscious mind uses only 6 to 12% of our brain power, while the subconscious mind uses 88 to 94% of our brain power! Since will power is part of the conscious mind, will power works only if the subconscious mind is in agreement. Therefore, the secret is to make changes at the subconscious level. And hypnosis is the easiest method for communicating with the subconscious mind and making this happen.

I created a unique, highly successful program and book, Clutter to Clarity™, which uses hypnotherapy to help people remove the clutter in their lives. The secret to the program’s success is in helping participants be gentle to themselves,

* be non-judgmental,
* take continuous baby steps to clean up, and
* remove emotional obstacles from the subconscious mind.

For some, success included finally throwing out stacks of newspapers saved for years. For others, it entailed completing projects left unfinished for years. One woman removed 75 bags of clutter from her bedroom. “Clutter to Clarity™ has created exciting, wonderful results!