Breath Out the Clutter

I love the warm breeze that flirts through the window screens. It’s like taking that first breath when your head finally rises above water in the ocean. Just having open windows is a huge treat after a long, cold winter. There’s so much possibility — plants to grow, yards to tend, games to play . . .
It’s not just me. The dogs love to play outside in this weather, and Will runs around with glee. We are so done with winter. Good thing, because it’s May.

But while the outdoors are filled with hope and possibility, the inside of my house has me losing sleep. I have a problem. A big problem. A busy lifestyle has left me cluttering my counters, desk and bedroom. There are photos to be organized, books to be straightened and papers to be filed. I can’t take it anymore. I seriously can’t. But who am I fooling? The problem isn’t just a busy lifestyle — it’s a busy lifestyle coupled with sheer exhaustion and some degree of laziness. Basically, I need to push myself to do just a little bit more to have the home I’ve always wanted.

I’ve never been a neat person per se — photos of beautiful, clutterfree homes are fun to look at in magazines, but they’ve always seemed so unlived in. On the other hand, my clutter feels overlived in. There has to be a happy medium.

The clutter makes me anxious and upsets me in ways I never thought possible. And it makes me not want to work when I need to be working. It’s consuming and it needs to be put to rest.

I cannot take the clutter.

So, I am doing something I should have done a long time ago: I am decluttering, one corner at a time. It seems like the only way that I can really get a handle on it all. If I try and do too much at once, I will get overwhelmed. But it needs to change soon.

FlyLady helps. But it seems like her tips and tricks are more meant for the stay-at-home or work-at-home mom, since many come when I am in the office. Nonetheless, ideas of keeping a shined sink and getting dressed to the shoes are good ways to overcome the morning laziness (as is 2-3 cups of coffee with a dash of French vanilla fat free creamer).

So what am I doing? I am resisting the urge to buy all sorts of containers and sorters to help with organization. Ultimately, those things are just ineffective excuses that require some degree of organization to begin with. Instead, I am sorting through untouched bags in my office filled with old bills and receipts and discarding what I no longer need. I am pulling together bags for donation (one is all ready to go, a second ready to be filled). I am taking an honest look at my papers and files and deciding what is really necessary and what isn’t.

Will I buy any organizational containers? Probably. I could use a magazine rack for my myriad of subscriptions and a small file case would solve some issues on my desk. But to buy them now would put the cart before the horse.

You may wonder why I am only speaking of my home office. That’s where I am starting. I will carry this throughout the house. But it’s got to be one corner, one room, one area at a time . . . that way, it will be forever, not just some quick fix.

Am I the only one with this problem?


  1. says

    You are definitely not the only one with this problem!

    Starting one corner at a time is a great plan. You have to. If you try to look at the entire room, you will get overwhelmed. If you can manage one corner (and have the focus to get it done), this will get you momentum to keep going. You can look at that corner and say “Look what I did already! Look how much better it looks!”

    Sometimes it is also good to have a friend there to help you out and to encourage you. I have a friend that I meet with occasionally so she can get her house in order. She is an extreme pack rat, and every time she finds something she is ready to throw out, I yell “YAY!!!” and make a big deal out of it.

    Although, ultimately, you are the only one who knows where you want things to be and what you want it to look like. Nobody else can really do it for you.

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