When you begin to feel the negative effects of living with an overabundance of stuff, you are suffering from Accumulation Fatigue.
One client described Accumulation Fatigue this way: “It’s when accumulation is stressing you out. It’s not the particular things, it’s the many categories of things. Each category requires managing. Like a too-long to-do list, or feeling pulled in too many directions, or not having enough focus to concentrate on—let alone enjoy—my various interests.” An A.D.D. client described it as “Having too many windows open on my mental desktop.”
I remember the moment I realized I had Accumulation Fatigue: I was standing at the open front door of my house, looking out, and I felt the weight of my home behind me. It felt massive and oppressive, and there was just little ol’ me standing guard. I had created my own prison, yet I was also my own jailer.
So much to clean, keep track of, and manage. Everything looked good, and all of my spaces were organized—even the inside of my refrigerator, but I’d reached critical mass. My cabinets and closets were full, and I felt strained under the tonnage.
I realized I’d been organizing for the sake of organizing. It never occurred to me to get rid of items instead of habitually incorporating it all.
The scariest thing about Accumulation Fatigue is the amount of time it takes before realizing what’s happening, and the amount of energy it sucks from our spirits along the way.
Accumulating Fatigue begins with a mild discontent, a gently anxiety. It’s mild and gentle, so we don’t pay much attention to it. We blame it on our diet. On our job. Our hormones. Our kids and spouse. Maybe we need more sleep. Or exercise. THIS STAGE CAN LAST FOR YEARS.
Accumulation Fatigue is a stealth condition. The “mild and gentle” builds over time. We may not realize our stress is coming from the volume of stuff around us, so we look for relief elsewhere. We change jobs, change spouses, move, change our kids’ schools, consult an energy healer, start a fad diet, install a home gym.
Because the problem is in our house, we don’t like being there very much. We end up filling our schedules with activities that get us away from our house. We plaster a wall with family organization products and a giant calendar. Meanwhile, the house gets less and less attention, compounding the problem.
This is when the symptoms of Accumulation Fatigue ramp up.
Mild and gentle has become a fire-breathing dragon. At this stage we might develop strange ailments, put on weight, feel a general discontent. The dog—sensitive to our spirit—might develop allergies. The more sensitive of our kids might begin to exhibit anxiety.
We sense that the house is contributing to our malaise. Even though we’re still blaming everything and everyone else, we consider traditional solutions: hire a house cleaner; rent a storage unit; rent a backhoe and dumpster; light a match. Kidding, not kidding.
We only know we need some relief.
What’s most troubling is this: I didn’t know how bad I’d felt until I felt so much better. When I tackled my home, the transformation in my body, mind and spirit was profound. It was like getting an infusion of vitamin B12. This is the stealth danger of Accumulation Fatigue. We don’t know how bad we feel until we are on the other side of it, and don’t feel bad any more.
Thing is, many of us won’t get to the other side of it. We don’t know Accumulation Fatigue is “a thing,” so we exist in homes that are a source of high stress, shame and feelings of insurmountable overwhelm. All the while, cortisol is pumping through our bodies.
Here’s another scary thing: the adults may not feel the effects of Accumulation Fatigue as much as the kids do. Children might react to the chaos of their environment with issues that are a cry for help. ADHD has been known to lessen when fewer items are in the sufferer’s environment.
Too much visual stimulation (aka: clutter) can have a profoundly negative affect on those who need order.
I once read: If something is wrong with the body, check the mind. If something is wrong with the mind, check the environment. It’s all connected. This is why I am PASSIONATE about creating homes that restore us rather than deplete us. It’s vitally important to our overall well-being.
Because Accumulation Fatigue is a stealth condition, and there’s a risk of never reaching the other side of it, we can suffer in agitated silence for decades. No amount of stuff is worth our peace, and the peace of those we love, and with whom we cohabit.
Having been through this, I know the way through to the other side. I have developed a simple, personalized coaching program to help others get there, too. Tailored to your reasons for keeping what you keep, we deal with the what, the why, then the how. The goal: FREEDOM.
I’ve seen clients freed right before my eyes, often in less than 15 minutes. I can work with you as much or as little as you need. If you need a total Home Reboot, that’s what we can do.
Don’t spend a dime on plastic bins or a storage unit. Instead, spend a dime on your freedom and peace. Call now and let’s get started!
You might also like: Walking Away from a Hoard
Copyright © 2022 by Cynthia Gentry Black, Home Staging by Cynthia, LLC in Kansas City.
All rights reserved. No portion may be shared, reused or republished in any format without express written consent of the author.