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Clutter, Emotions, and Finances
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Jamara (She/Her)
Financial Educator
Posted October 26, 2021
Our emotions affect our everyday choices. How we feel determines how we organize the clutter in our lives, such as our home and even our finances. Avoidance helps to reduce anxiety temporarily, but it can create an unhealthy cycle of procrastination. Do you feel overwhelmed when your house is out of order? A small mess is easy to clean up, but when that clutter is in every room of your home, you are less motivated to clean it up expeditiously. Anxiety can control the way we respond to situations. When we reduce anxiety with avoidance, we tend to create more disarray in our lives. Learning to address our emotions will help to keep our homes and finances in order.
Disorganization and discouragement
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When thinking about the clutter in our lives, we can start to feel overwhelmed. Sometimes just the thought of having to sort through a huge pile of things causes frustration. This frustration can then turn into anxiety, and rather than confronting our emotions head-on, we often choose to avoid them. Procrastination provides a sense of relief, not having to deal with things that cause uncomfortable feelings. When avoiding disorganized parts of our lives becomes a natural response rhythm, we become discouraged from tidying up anything that causes distress. Although this cycle momentarily relieves discomfort, it only creates a larger mess to clean up over time than what was there to begin with.

Think of it this way. Your least favorite chore to do is laundry. So you go weeks without doing laundry, and as long as you have something clean to put on, you evade washing your clothes. By the time you feel up to confronting your dirty clothes, your negative feelings towards this chore have risen. Now, instead of 1-2 loads of laundry, you have 5-6.

Let’s think of how this can affect our finances. Avoiding paying the water bill that’s already late will only create a larger amount to pay later. Procrastinating paying your responsibilities can give you a false feeling of contentment because you feel like you can forget about it. But your stress level will only increase as well as your amount due. By avoiding payment, you may also have added the worry of a potential shut-off notice. Although you eventually pay the bill in full, your procrastination created a higher level of discomfort and you spent more money than necessary.
Confrontation and comfort
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Address your feelings head-on by dealing with the clutter in your life before it becomes unmanageable. When you hear the word confrontation, you probably automatically think of negative feelings like fear, or even anger. However, confrontation can be a positive way of expressing feelings and addressing issues head-on. Confronting your clutter may not be easy at first, but it will most likely provide you with comfort knowing you avoided creating a larger mess to clean up later.

For example, your vehicle’s check engine light has turned on. As soon as you are available to do so, you get your vehicle checked out by a mechanic. This warning light turning on may have triggered feelings of worry; however, by getting your car checked out as soon as possible, you may catch the issue at an early stage where it’s financially feasible for you to fix. Confrontation will force you to deal with uneasy feelings, but by addressing them immediately, you avoid increased anxiety and unnecessary costs.
Order and peace
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Cleaning out clutter removes negative emotions and makes room for positive feelings. Organizing your home and finances will make room for better usage and creates space for new opportunities. Paying off debts will free up money in your budget to put towards saving for the things you want in life.

Accomplishing organization, whether in your home or in your finances, isn’t achieved in one step. However, making a plan you can realistically follow will eliminate the cycle of avoidance and give you a sense of peace knowing your responsibilities are manageable. Addressing stressful situations of clutter and disorganization right away is never easy, but it will save you from greater headache and frustration in the long run. When we feel good about confronting our obligations, we create a healthy cycle of order and peace.
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