Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Mess: Ignore It or Tackle It?

This week's prompt for the #wholemama linkup is the word mess. I am very familiar with mess. When my children were young it seemed like an endless display of mess everywhere. And guess what? I'm still dealing with mess. 

I have really been struggling with clutter, wanting to do something about it but not knowing where to start. When you've lived in the same house for 16 years with people coming and going and saving things, you really get a buildup if you don't stay on top of it. But I can't put all the blame on others, because I'm also part of the problem.

Here is the place where I pray, write, and dabble in art. It's a bit messy and so is the room where it is located. Often I ignore the mess and do something I enjoy instead of cleaning up.

I love having things clean and in order, but it's not always possible to stay on top of it. I would love to find a way to finally rid my house of all the clutter and keep it that way.

Awhile back I was told about a bookthe life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo. Since it was touted as the best thing around to help you clean up and have an uncluttered house, I requested a copy from my local library. My name was at the bottom of the queue, so it would be months before it was available. Apparently lots of people were interested in reading it.

To be honest I had completely forgotten about the book until the title came up a couple of days ago when I was perusing an online article.

Later that day I got a call from the library that the book was ready to be picked up. 

That same night on the #wholemama Fuze call Jamie mentioned something from the book, because she had been using it. 

Then I remembered that another daughter of mine also has it and recommends it.

Okay, Okay, I thought to myself, I think I get the message. I'll give it a chance. What have I got to lose?

Well, I was in for a surprise. Marie has a totally different approach to addressing the clutter problem than what you find in other “get rid of clutter” books. I've only just started reading the book, but there is a lot to think about in the first few pages.

She thinks those who claim to be storage experts are really hoarders, and that containers only hide the clutter. 

She doesn't think much about cleaning by areas. You could find yourself going through the same sort of stuff every day not making much progress, because you've got similar items stored in different places.

Another popular idea is to clean a little at a time, but Marie says this doesn't work either. We end up bringing in more than we take away or we get frustrated because it takes so long. She believes by doing a little each day we will be forever cleaning.

For most of us, after we clean, it seems no time before the areas become messy again.

Marie believes this has to do with our mindset. Her claim is that in order to keep things tidy “ is essential to thoroughly reassess your habits and assumptions about tidying.” She says, “Effective tidying involves only two essential actions: discarding and deciding where to store things. Of the two, discarding must come first.”

She suggests decluttering by categories, going through things one by one, discarding what you don't want, like or need. To me this is probably the hardest thing. There is so much clutter in my house that the thought of taking things one by one seems insurmountable, but I realize it needs to be done.

Marie thinks the reason clutter happens is not just a physical thing, but that it masks a deeper problem.

Once you get rid of all the physical clutter, you are able to turn your attention to your mind and address things you may not realize have been bothering you. The clutter acts as a distraction. She says, “Tidying is just a tool, not the final destination. The true goal should be to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order.”

I might try decluttering her way and see what happens. Who knows? Maybe she is right. 

It may take me awhile and I might get discouraged in the process. 

I will still have to ignore some of the mess so that I don't let special moments pass me by. 

I'll continue to enjoy my coffee each morning and try to meet interruptions with grace.

When I imagine what it would be like to have fewer possessions, not skimping on needs, but surrounding ourselves with things we actually love, it's like a weight falling off my shoulders. When you minimize stuff you optimize the beauty of your home. With less to clean you have freedom to spend more time doing what you enjoy.

Ahh... I can dream, can't I?

What about you? How do you deal with clutter and mess in your house? 

I find that sometimes I ignore it and other times I tackle it. I guess it depends on what mood I'm in. :)

Don't forget to stop by the #WholeMama linkup to see what others have shared. Some are pretty funny stories.

I'm also linking up with Holley Gerth and #CoffeeforYourHeart!

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