I hate clutter; always have, always will. In college I couldn’t even begin to study until my bed was made and room organized. After college I avoided roommates, preferring to live alone with full control of my living quarters. Many years later I bent the rules and moved in with my future husband. After all, I was in love, and his clutter was cute…kind of.
After we got married and had a baby, all clutter broke loose. There were car seats, high chairs, strollers, cribs, and multiple baby holders that bounced, rolled, and vibrated. Our house was covered in toys, tiny socks, burp cloths and binkies. Over the next 7 years the clutter quadrupled when we added 3 more kids, including a set of twins.
Call me crazy, but when my living space is cluttered, so is my mind. I just don’t function as well or think as clearly. It all makes me feel unorganized and unprepared…even anxious. So, doing some quick math here, I’ve been a complete wreck for close to 16 years. You may laugh, but as I get older and better understand my own personality and tendencies, it’s the absolute truth. And, for these same 16 years I have been fighting it, and hard; clearing counters multiple times per day, constantly picking up Lego pieces, Nerf darts, earphones, empty yogurt cups, socks, shoes, you name it. No matter how futile I knew it was and still is, I have never stopped trying to get everything in order. Why? Because once I do, I will reach clutter-free nirvana, where I’ll sit on my perfectly fluffed sofa with no empty chip bags underneath. In clutter-free nirvana the laundry will be clean and neatly folded inside drawers and closets, and the kitchen table and counters will be gloriously clear. I’ll finally be able to relax and do all the things that I really want to do.
The rational part of my brain knows that this is impossible, but the other, irrational part will never understand. My need to fight the clutter feels hardwired; I am driven to keep picking up, cleaning up, and organizing. I just can’t stop. But then again, if I ever did stop, the entire house would likely devolve into a vortex of chaos.
So maybe there’s something to be said for this anti-clutter mentality. Despite my inability to keep the clutter fully at bay, I do manage to keep us from being the subject of an episode of “Hoarders.” The kids are fed and generally happy, homework gets done, lunches made, and no one complains about pulling outfits from the clean pile in the laundry room.
So instead of focusing on what’s not done, I should probably focus more on what I manage to accomplish, despite having a full-time job and four kids. And I’ll totally do that. I just have to get the linen closet organized first.