I had my teeth cleaned today, something I don’t really enjoy. But I do it faithfully every six months. And that’s because I know the pain and fright of slacking off on going to the dentist and then having to go because something’s gone awry in my mouth. For a number of years, when I was younger, I let my fear of the dentist get in the way of my getting regular checkups. Then a tooth broke and I had to face the music. After a root canal and a nasty surgical procedure called “crown lengthening” (I don’t wish that on anyone), all was well again. And, believe me, I haven’t missed an appointment since.
As I was sitting in the dental chair today, I thought about how putting off going to the dentist is a bit like putting off decluttering or organizing your home. If you’re dealing with an overabundance of items, clutter just builds up until it becomes overwhelming. Calling in an organizer for help can be scary and embarrassing (though I try hard to put to rest any fear or embarrassment my clients might feel). I know from experience that letting plaque build up on your teeth can make the prospect of going to the dentist scary and embarrassing too.
But once you declutter and find a place for everything, all you have to do is maintain. Just like brushing and flossing daily, if you put things away every day, then all you need is a bit of a spruce up every six months or so.
Because I brush and floss daily, my semi-annual dental visits are merely mildly unpleasant (because I don’t like having my teeth scraped). But they’re nothing to be afraid of. As a reformed dental phobic, I find this to be revelatory.
So if you’re looking for a reason to get started organizing your home, perhaps you can think of it in terms of preventive maintenance, like going to the dentist every six months. Don’t wait until your tooth breaks (or your house starts falling apart) to reach out for help!
Photo by Steve Snodgrass via Flickr