Clutter

Here’s a thought…Do we buy our own clutter?  Nobody seems to like clutter.  There are people who like “cozy,” as in, filled up with furniture and feeling comfortably crowded and close.  (Like me!)  But I don’t know anyone who actually enjoys clutter.  There are books and websites dedicated to teaching us strategies to fight clutter. 

Sidenote:  Flylady.net is one of my favorite websites.  It’s like having random advice from Sarah right on my computer, 24/7, whenever I need it.  If you don’t know my sister Sarah, here’s an example of how she works.  When I move, I get pumped up to pack about a week or two before the move, and I start packing with a box and a wish, wherever my mind wanders.  I’ll pack my top dresser drawer, and then suddenly go pack the extension cords and tools.  Then to the bathroom to pack a shelf or two, followed by a half a box of dishes.  Back to the extension cords, throw in the lightbulbs, start on my desk.  Disassemble the computer, contemplate where to pack the cords, take a break by packing the pots and pans, back to another drawer of the dresser.  And God help me if I find a very dusty or dirty space while I’m packing, because I’ll start cleaning and it will be three days before I touch another box!  Sarah swoops into the midst of this chaos, usually about 24 hours before the furniture has to be loaded.  She absorbs all my frustrated complaining, makes a plan, and tells me exactly what to do.  We are usually finished within two or three hours.  She has a talent for organization of all the stuff in our lives.  Flylady.net is like her voice telling me exactly what to do on a day-to-day basis.  Plus, they have acronyms that are a little cheesy, but so appropriate.  CHAOS means Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome, SHE is Sidetracked Home Executive…you get the point.

Anyway, back to the point.  We are so wealthy in this country, and clutter seems to be stuff that we thought we wanted at some point.  So technically, we use our wealth to purchase a problem that we don’t want! 

You may not be able to tell from my illustration of how I pack, but I actually go through long phases of wanting to be organized and clutter free.  These phases usually start with the thought, “Today I’m going to organize my life!”  A lofty goal for someone whose mind doesn’t travel in a straight line!  🙂  In practically every area of my life, for the last few months I have begun to discover the joy and effectiveness of baby steps.  This area is no different.  One baby step that seems to have become a pretty strong habit is cleaning off the bathroom sink and counter after I wash my face at night.  I put away anything that’s not in its place, and I take a towel and wipe down the counter, mirror, and faucet.  (This towel rests over the top of the Windex under the sink.)  It takes less than a minute and makes the bathroom feel so fresh and organized.  It seems that FEELING organized–or capable of being organized–is half the battle with me.  If I feel that it’s a lost cause, it will get worse.  If I feel that there’s the possibility of actually staying ahead of the clutter, I will maintain the status quo and even make baby steps of progress.  The current baby step: washing my dishes each night sometime between supper and when I go to bed.  As the sole resident of this home, it takes no time at all, and it means I never have to dry dishes!  It won’t be such a simple task if I ever have a husband and a houseful of kids to feed, but I’ll be in the habit.  Waking up to a clean kitchen is another good feeling I’m learning to indulge.

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