A moment of truth is a realization, an epiphany, a moment of clarity. In business and marketing, it’s the moment the customer decides to make a purchase. I like to think there’s more to life than deciding to buy things, but maybe that’s just me. In some situations, all we need is one moment of truth. With others, it takes several. Sometimes, maybe no amount of information is enough to get us to change what we’re doing.
Example: When I’m giving myself a paper cut, and all I can seem to do is to watch it happen in slow motion rather than drop the paper
What are some common moments of truth?
Realizing these leftovers are past the point of no return
Looking at the clock and realizing you’re going to be late
Not being able to button those pants
The thing about clutter is that it’s not a single object. Generally, any one thing has its reasons for being there. There’s a long list of reasons to keep every single thing, or explanations for how it got to be where it is. It’s hard to single out particular items from a cluttered space and eject them. How do you know what to pick? This is why clutter tends to lead to multiple moments of truth.
One of the reasons that it’s so common to clean up a space and then clutter it up again is that each of these steps needs more examination and introspection. If all we do is Step 4 and Step 8, we’re not pausing to consider why the space got this way.
Sorting clutter is a “bottom up” process. That means we’re starting with what’s already there and trying to impose order on it. The “top down” way to do it is to start with the function and appearance of the space, what needs to be there, and then remove everything that doesn’t work. Most American homes could shed half the stuff from every room. My people, the chronically disorganized and the compulsive accumulators, can usually get rid of 80% or more.
Sleep in the bedroom, cook in the kitchen, eat at the table, sit on the couch, work at the desk, go places on time, find everything on demand.
Or, if you’re one of mine: share your bed with laundry, books, papers, and food packaging; cook nowhere and never; pile the table with food, dishes, and shopping bags; bury the couch under a pile of laundry; which desk?; be late everywhere; search for stuff endlessly.
The longer I do this work, the harder it is for me to understand why so many people prioritize inanimate objects over and above their quality of life. They’ll shed genuine, bitter tears over a cracked figurine or a keepsake with water damage. But they don’t even seem to notice how cramped they are in their own homes, how their stuff interferes with their daily routine.
There are other realizations that can happen, moments of truth that allow for a new perspective:
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I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.