The battle with clutter: How clutter won.

by adidok

Those who know me, know that I don’t like clutter. I don’t like it on surfaces, and I don’t like it in drawers. I like for each thing to have its own place. When I lived on my own, this was relatively easy to accomplish, since I had limited resources for acquiring stuff in the first place, as well as nobody to answer to when it came to getting rid of things I didn’t want to hang on to any longer. If I wasn’t sure about something, I would just bring it back to my parents’ house and store it in my old room or their garage. Fast forward to this year, where I find myself in a permanent home as a married woman and a mother. Oh boy have things changed! Not only does stuff come from multiple sources now, but I am also unable to instantly decide what to get rid of, because now everything is OURS rather than just MINE.

We moved into our new home in July.  It hasn’t even been 6 months, but during the weeks leading to the holidays I suddenly caught myself getting annoyed with various “cluttered” corners of my home. Places like the mantle, the book shelf, the built-in china cabinet, and the pack-and-play that our child has never used (amongst other items), were full of miscellaneous items of mysterious origin. Putting all hopes into the two days off during the holiday week, I looked forward to getting rid of it all prior to New Years. But it was not to be. My first day off was spent sleeping and recovering. I had a few serious inspections at work prior to that and went several weeks with “alternative” days off, which pretty much means one-day weekends. My body didn’t take that well and actually came down with a fever right before Christmas. But I did not despair, knowing that I had one more day off to tackle the clutter. That day finally came on December 30th and I scavenged drawers, counter tops, closets, and the mantel for the stuff I didn’t think we needed any longer (did we ever need it?).

Very soon the mantel became a lot calmer to look at, and the drawers a joy to open. But I found myself out of steam and looking at a pile on our dining room table — the location I chose to put everything on in order to deal with it later — way before every corner that bothered me was done with. I figured since it’s a central space in our home, I will surely deal with it sooner rather than later. Big mistake. New years eve came, and very predictably, our family wanted to celebrate together. But since none of us made plans in advance, the party ended up at our house. I didn’t mind at all, but frantically called my husband to let him know that when I get home from work I’d like to quickly sort through the dining room table. “I’m on it! Almost done!” While I felt thankful for such a thoughtful man in my life (at least he didn’t think it’s ok for everyone to come over WITH the clutter on the dining room table), I also felt defeat. When I got home, the dining room table was clear and ready for the evening. My mantel was also still clear. But the piles of clutter simply reshuffled their content and migrated to OTHER locations in our home! So basically I spent my day uncluttering for nothing. Looking back at it, I realize that I was not properly prepared to wage this war. I was eager to unclutter, but I didn’t have a plan. So I lost the battle this time around. My next post will be about what went wrong.  Next time I am planning to be better prepared!