Parents tend to have much higher tolerance levels for toddlers shrieking than non-parents, yes? I like loud music. My mom doesn’t. I can handle a few Mojitos. Some of my friends start slurring after half a beer. My office has to be sparkling. My bathtub doesn’t. As I see it, messes too sometimes have more to do with tolerance levels than with skill or effort. Married couples and roommates often realize that they disagree on acceptable levels of visual chaos.
The other day I was describing to a friend an organizing job I had years ago. I don’t remember the details of the project, but she asked me, “How do some people live like that?” I answered, “They just have a really high tolerance for clutter.”
It's proximity to one’s breaking point that determines the level at which clutter affects you, not simply how high your piles are. If you’ve had a messy office for years now, I’d imagine that your tolerance level for clutter is quite high. I see vastly different tolerance levels for clutter every day. Some people don’t call for help until 20 years of paper accumulate. Some reach their breaking point just a few months into experiencing a failed filing system. How many papers away are you from your breaking point?
7 Day Inspired Office Challenge
Take notice of how close you are to your clutter breaking point. You may have reached it if you avoid your office at all costs, have collection notices because of lost bills, or your clutter has ever caused you embarrassment. What is an acceptable, but not punishing, level of chaos? Picture it, and aim for that. It's the natural next step on your way to an office you want to show off. Sometimes just a reality check on how high your tolerance has become is enough to motivate you to bring in the recycling bins.