The Thing About Clutter

posted in: Large Family | 1

The thing about clutter. Why everything is harder with clutter and what you can do about it.

My husband and I don’t see eye-to-eye on clutter. Mainly because he doesn’t see the clutter in the first place. He is a pack rat who doesn’t mind a mess. I am a minimalist who is driven to distraction (literally) by clutter. I can’t relax and enjoy a movie if the room is a mess. I don’t need perfect (and my house never is) but piles, laundry, toys, books strewn all over and I can’t relax. I also can’t focus and work in a cluttered environment. My eye wanders. I think of the things that need to be done. I jump from one task to the next, rarely finishing any of them.

Clutter leads to another problem as well. Everything is hard when there is clutter. 

I walk into the laundry room to do a load of laundry and bump into an overturned laundry basket and trip over a pile of towels. Are those towels clean or dirty? Who knows. I switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer. Do I pick up and sort those towels now? Or finish the task at hand (the load of laundry I just pulled out)? I walk to the table (covered with papers, books, and random toys). Now I can’t fold this load until I clear the table. Do I take the time to put each item away properly (once again delaying the task at hand)? Or do I focus on the laundry in the basket? I decide to fold. The folding itself takes less than ten minutes. Now I need to put the laundry away. Except when I go into the bedroom, clothes are on the floor, stuffed (unfolded) on the shelves. I have no choice but to refold and organize the shelves before I can move on. What should have taken 15 minutes at most (start the laundry, fold the previous load, put the laundry away) has now eaten up and hour of my time. Instead of feeling accomplished (a finished load of laundry)  I am overwhelmed and discouraged.

Does any of this sound familiar? 

Clutter makes it hard to find and pay bills on time. A cluttered kitchen makes it hard to cook and clean. Cluttered bedrooms make it hard to play and relax. Clutter causes depression and anxiety. Clutter is expensive (replacing lost or broken items). And while some people don’t notice clutter, no one enjoys it.

I am not writing this post because I have this nailed. I am writing this post because I am feeling overwhelmed. I’m not a decluttering expert…I’m more of a cluttering expert. What I do know is decluttering possible and freeing.

Just a few weeks ago a had a friend come over to help me declutter a problem area in my house. She was cheerful. She was awesome. She was brutal. I really owe her a cup of coffee.

Here are my tips for conquering clutter when you feel overwhelmed. 

You can’t organize clutter.

Your kids don’t need a million toys.

Or 27 pairs of pants.

Kids play longer and better with fewer toys.

My current favorite resources for decluttering and encouragement is Allie Casazza. Allie is the mom of 4 kids who is showing moms how to live with purpose. I love her website, FB page, and podcasts. If you haven’t already heard of her, be sure and go check her out!

I hope you have an awesome, coffee-filled, clutter-less day!

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