There’s nothing glib about this guest blog from Jodi Sharpe (The 25th Hour). It’s actually quite common to feel shame in regard to the state of our homes – but there’s never any judgement from APDO members who only take a sympathetic approach. In this blog, Jodi, who covers the north of Scotland, unpicks how we feel about our homes, how this affects our lives and what can be done to improve the situation.
When I tell people that I work as a declutterer and organiser one of the first things many say is:
GOSH – this got me thinking! Is it me? Perhaps they believe my pad to be perfect. (It’s absolutely NOT by the way). As I delve a little further I discover there are usually quite a few people they don’t want entering their abode.
I very quickly discovered that it’s hard to find credible data in this area. My first useful statistics appeared from a bit of UK research by Dulux (2013). It brings up some pretty interesting results:
“7/10 Brits say they are ashamed of their home and nearly half don’t invite family around because of its state. Respondents were most embarrassed by their bedrooms, followed by bathrooms and then lounges”
The caveat here is that this study was done by a paint manufacturer which did have more of a slant towards décor rather than clutter but it still provides an important glimmer of an insight into our emotions regarding our HOME.
The next “niche” report google offered me was conducted by Sugru (2015) in the US – no I‘d never heard of them either. Incidentally, they make mouldable glue! Their headline result pointed out:
“61% of Americans in their study avoided inviting friends and family round because of their HOME SHAME. What was more saddening is that 62% feel that they will NEVER get their home to a point where they would no longer be ashamed of it”
General MESS and UNTIDINESS were cited as the main reason for their home shame. If these figures are reflected in the wider community then that is a heck of lot of people. And listen to this – nearly a third of respondents said they pretended to be out when someone they knew knocked on the door to avoid them seeing the state of their pad !
Finally let’s hop over to the other side of the globe to a piece in the Sydney Morning Herald. (16th May 2016). This highlighted:
“59% of women stated there was a room in the house that they didn’t like visitors to see because of the clutter. They also unearthed that 4/10 Aussies feel guilty, anxious or depressed about their clutter. Another revelation here was that respondents would rather RELOCATE their stuff than DEAL with it.”
To sum up so far, it appears that the majority of people suffer from negative feelings about the state of their homes at times. It doesn’t matter whether you’re young, free and single, in the midst of a hectic family life with young kids or ’empty nesters’ – it affects us all. And this is impacting on how we all live, in particular with those vital in-person connections.
Since working as an organiser I too have noticed that I have plenty of moments of feeling our home is not up to scratch. I ponder if my place is not purring away like a show home then how on earth can I help others? I do recognise I am a “work in progress” and accept that I’m not the only one to feel this self-doubt. BUT I don’t hang around long with those negative feelings. I replace my thoughts with something much more positive and uplifting which then allows my passion for simplifying and sorting to bubble back to the top.
Professional organisers or clutter coaches are a brilliant resource to call on if you want more clarity and a motivational boost. We combine that crucial second pair of eyes with a wealth of knowledge and practical skills to enable you to take on the work that will make a difference to how you feel. APDO has a register of UK organisers near you.
So STOP WAITING for your place to be perfect. It’s not about impressing your friends. If you don’t invite people in then it’s a lose-lose situation for all involved. We don’t want to let “home shame” stop us connecting.
Hopefully Jodi’s post has inspired you. If you’re feeling embarrassed about your home, you’re really not alone and professional help is available. There are over 250 APDO members across the country – find your nearest organisers here.