‘Floordrobe’ has been in the Australian Macquarie Dictionary since 2008 but hasn’t yet made it into the more sober Oxford English Dictionary. The online Urban Dictionary defines it as ‘a form of storage for clothing which requires no hangers, drawers, doors or effort. Simply drop on the floor and you have a floordrobe’.
Example: ‘We have a very stylish colonial-style his and hers walk-on floordrobe at home.’
Or: ‘Where should I put this?’
‘Just chuck it on the floordrobe.’
Two Facebook pages – “Having a Floordrobe” and “Everyone Has a Floordrobe” – each have more than 63,000 fans at the time of writing, with more people joining each day. At least for a certain age group, a floordrobe is perceived as a cool thing to have.
But before you rush off to “like” the pages yourself or create a floordrobe of your own, here’s something to consider. I’ve seen a lot of floordrobes in my work as a feng shui, space clearing and clutter clearing practitioner over the years, and there’s a lot more to them than meets the eye. When you look deeply into the reasons people create them, there are many underlying causes.
How floodrobes happen
Overwhelm: A person’s home is a reflection of themselves, so when their clothes are permanently strewn on the floor, it can be an expression of how swamped they feel in life. Clearing up the clothes can be a step towards regaining control.
Depression: Depressed people tend to keep things at floor level because it reflects how ‘down’ they feel. Moving clothes from a floordrobe to a wardrobe, or at least to an intermediary chairdrobe, can really help to lift their spirits.
Confusion: Living with a tangle of clothes on the floor is usually an outward representation of inner confusion of some kind. Tidying and sorting on the outside helps order things on the inside.
Emotional suppression: Some people feel uneasy when their space is too clear. They feel too much. A floordrobe can help dampen their emotions by keeping the space filled, but the piles tend to grow and grow. A gradual tidy-up (say 10 items per day) will give time to handle the emotions that emerge along the way.
Reactance: Children and teenagers may develop a floordrobe as an act of rebellion against authority, usually their parents. In some cases this is a phase they go through. Others continue the habit into adulthood, long after they’ve left home. Realizing why they are doing this is key to changing the behaviour.
Teenage turmoil: Some floordrobes are a reflection of the turmoil teenagers go through as part of growing up. Chris Hudson, who founded Understanding Teenagers in Australia, explains that radical changes in the hardwiring of the brain at this time can make teenagers disorganized, forgetful and moody. Having regular tidy-ups may not seem an obvious priority but can help to ease them through the process.
Coping: In some cases, a floordrobe develops as a coping mechanism for handling a traumatic experience. It can often take on the proportions of a mountainous heap, surrounded by piles of other floor level clutter. Tidying may feel too daunting. Some form of therapy may first be required to address the cause of the trauma.
Laziness: Then there are the self-confessed slobs of the world. They’ve either been brought up that way or let themselves go. For change to happen, they have to want it enough to make the effort.
Lack of storage space: Some people simply don’t have anywhere to put things. This can be because the storage space they have is already full, or they didn’t have enough to begin with. Solutions range from getting rid of some clothes they never wear, to buying new cupboards to keep them all in. In some cases, all that’s needed is to put summer clothes in storage during winter, and vice versa.
For most people, a floordrobe symbolizes a descent into chaos of some kind rather than an ascent into self-discovery. And tidying up a floordrobe can be a major turning point. Your floor, after all, forms the foundation for your home. By reclaiming the space you also regain control of the foundations of your life.
Bear in mind, too, that there are some people whom it would do the world of good to have a floordrobe for a week – those who have become too regimented, for example, who like to have everything “just so”. It could be a liberating experience for them.
How to clear up a floordrobe
Some people will read this article and immediately ninja through their floordrobe with glee, embracing the new-found freedom that clutter clearing brings. Others will need to approach it in stages, as they feel able. The method is the same. Just the time it takes will be different.
Begin by opening a window to let in a burst of fresh air. Many people with floordrobes never open their windows at all, so the air in the room becomes stagnant and stale.
Next, freshen up your energy by washing your face and hands, and then roll up your sleeves. This engages determination to help you get the job done.
If your floordrobe is more horizontal than vertical, start in one corner of the room and zigzag your way across to the opposite corner, tidying as you go. If it’s grown into a vertical heap, tackle it top down.
Anything whiffy gets laundered. The rest goes on hangers and put back in your wardrobe, or folded and put into drawers. Don’t worry about anything that’s crumpled. That’s a detail at this stage. You can iron it later at your leisure.
Anything you can’t be bothered to wash, iron, hang or fold needs to go through the clutter test:
- Does it uplift my energy when I wear it?
- Do I absolutely love it?
- Do I ever wear it?
If the answer is not a resounding “yes” to question (1) and an equally resounding “yes” to either question (2) or (3), then donate it to charity, give it to a friend who will love and wear it, or let it go in some other way. Continue until your floor is clear, then give it a good vacuum.
Finally, don’t do all this work just to have a new floordrobe appear next week. Get yourself a laundry basket and place it where you’ll use it.
And if you miss the delicious abandonment of simply dropping things on the floor, you can still do this once in a while, but not every day and not in the unconscious way you used to. When you know the real reason why you do things, they tend not to be so appealing any more.
Copyright © Clear Space Living Ltd 2013