I was recently working with a client whose finances were in disarray. Her receipts were mixed together from different years. She wasn't certain how much money was in her account. She had clients who hadn't been billed for more than two years. She had gotten used to living with the financial disorder and wasn't motivated to make any changes.
I told her it felt like she was standing on the deck of a ship that was being rocked by giant waves and she was drenched and beleaguered and oblivious to the effect it was having on her. I said just because she was used to being in pain wasn't a reason to continue living that way. It's actually harder to maintain disorder. It just seems harder to change.
Financial clutter is often the most mesmerizing. We're greatly affected by our money. We take what happens with our finances personally, so much so that it becomes hard to extricate ourselves out of a financial clutter situation.
But as with ANY clutter problem, the most important thing is to recognize that we're in the midst of chaos, and we're never going to have peace of mind by trying to maintain or manage chaos.
What helps is recognizing that there's a mess. Not that we're bad that we caused it. But that a mess has been made, and so the question is "What can I do now to help myself?"
And so with my client, we first sat down and went through the receipts. We recycled the ones she didn't need, and we arranged the ones she did need by the proper years, and put them in files marking their dates.
Then we went through these files and figured out which clients owed her money. I had her either email or call the clients to let them know they owed money, and the amount that was owed to her. This was the hardest thing for her to do. But as she began taking action, she started to become clear headed and grounded, because she was helping herself.
She was cleaning up the mess, matter-of-factly. That's the best any of us can do in any clutter situation.