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See that ladder in the picture? It was there because, during the early morning hours, the CO2 alarm started making noises. These noises should not have happened since we recently changed the batteries. (Nevertheless, “noises” happened).

My husband needed the ladder to fix the issue. Later, it was almost noon, and the ladder was still there – out of the way, yes. But still there.

I was trying to work near that space, but that ladder was looking at me, making itself known, telling me it was out of place and in my face. I could not focus nor ignore that fact. It truly made me uncomfortable.

This incident made me think a little about how clutter happens and why it creeps up quickly in many homes.

That ladder there is precisely the kind of thing that no one would pay attention to because it seems trivial or inconsequential. But ignoring the ladder for a couple of days would result in everyone getting used to it being there. After a couple of days, the brain no longer even sees the ladder. And weeks pass, months pass, and next year, the ladder is still there!

This phenomenon happens with the ladder, with every tool we own, with the packaging from bought items brought into the home, cleaning products, and even kitchen gadgets.

If we do not remain vigilant to these instances, clutter most likely will follow if we miss the signs. We stop seeing things when we ignore them.

The question is, how likely are you to take notice, and how tolerant would you be of items out of place (and in your face instead!)? At what point do you start feeling uncomfortable?

Some people might not have the proper space to even cook in their kitchens and are not bothered. This point of feeling uncomfortable is a very personal threshold. But if we end up confused by our clutter, needing an Organizer, or needing any other kind of help to deal with the mess around us, that means stuff has overpowered us. We missed the signals!

The mere idea of putting the ladder against the wall for even a minute after using it bothers me. That is how I am sure clutter does not happen in our home – because my tolerance level is zero, which ensures that I do not miss these early signs.

But it is not necessary to be so drastic to be and remain organized. It is needed to recalibrate the point where we start feeling uneasy, so we get the cue that it is time to act instead of ignoring the clutter. That is how we avoid mess from taking over our lives.

While it might seem normal to use a tool and leave it anywhere “for the moment,” to put it away “later,” we would be at a greater risk of creeping clutter. How likely are we to place the item in its place at a later time? Not very.