My 2018 word of the year has been abundance. I haven’t written about it much but I’ve been plugging away at my little goals, which are mostly to get rid of the things that are cluttering up my house. I’m hoping that clearing out the extra stuff will allow a little more joy to find its way in.
I was thrilled to see Anne Bogel send out a link to an older post of hers that I’d never read. It was about the clutter in her home making her cranky and I love knowing I’m not the only one that needs clear space to keep a clear head. There are certain areas of the house that trigger internal chaos for me and I knew I needed to tackle some of them this year.
We keep the cat’s food and his litter box in the basement, so I go down there almost every day. Just walking down there makes me mad. It’s like an obstacle course with little piles of junk everywhere. It was stuff that didn’t have any other home and we never used. I was overwhelmed by the thought of cleaning it out but decided that it needed to happen if I was ever going to get rid of that angry feeling that crept in every day.
I gathered up a collection of contractor bags and just starting stuffing them without thinking too much about it. And seriously: it was junk. Empty boxes. Styrofoam packing cubes. Bags of shredded paper (?). Kitchen appliances that we were never going to use again. It was all fine to throw out, but why was it even down there? Because it’s stuff that we didn’t want to deal with at the time and pushed aside. It was a pure avoidance tactic. But, taking it one bag at a time, I’m almost finished cleaning it all out!
When I fed the cat last week, the payoff finally came – I had a sense of calm when I walked down the basement and saw the clear floors and clean path to August’s food bowl. And it energized me to pick up the floors upstairs too. Good vibes create more good vibes.
The basement is a big chunk of the chaos that hovers over me, but there’s the little things that creep into the house too. The kitchen counters are constantly full of things that don’t belong there. The top of the piano is never clear. The sink usually has at least a few dishes in it. The draining tray almost always has utensils left in it. Over the last year, I’ve been trying to follow The 2 Minute Rule – have you heard of it? If there’s something you can get done in two minutes (sort the mail, wash the dishes, pick up those toys), then you should just do it right away. It’s a simple rule that’s not always that simple when you have three kids and a husband running around mucking up the joint, but worth the while when I can implement it.
So I keep trying to keep the STUFF at bay. Is there something that I just keep shifting around because it doesn’t have a home or a real use? Trash can or Goodwill. Are there certain toys that always seem to be in the way but I never see the boys play with? Trash can or Goodwill. I’m starting to winnow down the toys that are downstairs to one basket in the living room and one in the dining room (the main areas we use in the house) and keep everything else upstairs. Upstairs can be total chaos as long as the bathroom stays clean – fine with me. But here on the main floor where I do most of my living? I don’t need a pinterest-worthy home, but I need one with a little extra room to breathe.
Do you thrive on clutter or does it suffocate you? There’s a whole lot of people out there who love the aesthetics of clutter – are you one? Do you find creativity and beauty in the mess? Or do you need clear spaces to think well? Or are you somewhere in the middle? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!