The door unlocks, and I walk into my kitchen. My eyes scan for that place. The empty spot. The place that’s clutter-free.
Some days I find it easily. On those days it’s large and beautiful. Most days it’s harder to find. There’s just enough room for my purse–even though its designated landing spot is not anywhere I’m looking. Too often there’s stuff everywhere.
Clutter threatens to overwhelm me. If it were confined to a drawer or even a room where I could shut the door, life would be better. I could breathe with more ease. It’s not. It’s in each room. It follows me to the office–and sometimes hangs out in my car.
I know it zaps the life from me. It kills motivation. It rebukes attempts at reform and revitalization. It mocks and shames.
I hate it.
You’d never know. It looks like I love it. In a glance you’d think I embrace it. I don’t.
Part of the problem is I have the organizational skills of a new born. My personality type doesn’t help either. INFPs–we pile things. As long as nobody messes with a pile, we’re pretty good.
I live with organizational fear, too. “What if I file that? How will I find it again? What if I get rid of it? I don’t have the funds to replace it if I need it?” These are the thoughts that run through my head when I attempt to clear the clutter. Those and, “Oh! I remember when/where/with whom I got this. I haven’t thought of that in ages!” I’m afraid not only of not having the right thing at the right time but also of losing the memory attached with the thing.
I love the idea that everything should have its own place and be in it when it’s not being used. It’s a fantastic thought. I just have a really, really, really hard time discovering what that right place is. I’ve found it for my keys and my purse–and they make it to their designated spots 98% of the time. My shoes almost all have their own place, too. After that, it’s a guessing game.
This year I decided to hang up more of my sweaters–but not all of them. It causes a little confusion and consternation when I try to put something away. The same principle works with almost anything else I have in my house. I found a pair of kitchen scissors in the silverware drawer last night and thought, “Oh! I remember thinking this was a good place for them a few months ago. That’s why I haven’t been able to find them.”
I could regale you with many more examples like that, but I know you get the idea.
I know part of the problem is that I simply have too much stuff. I’m working on it. I started with clothes this weekend. I’d like to continue with other things over the next few weekends. It just gets depressing.
And paper? It kills me. Not in the paper cut kind of way, but in the does-it-breed-when-I’m-not-looking?!?!! kind of way. Papers to file. Papers to respond to. Papers for the shredder. Paper for the recycling bin. It may just suffocate me.
While too much stuff makes for more clutter, I know that’s not the only problem. Clutter and disorder are also reflections of my inner life. If I haven’t had time to stop, rest, and enjoy, the clutter grows to unimagined proportions. Taming a small corner can take more emotional energy than I have left at the end of the day.
If you’ve got brilliant ideas of how to organize my life and calm my fears, please give them to me. If you’ve got a chunk of time and want to help me figure it out, I’ll clean off the bed in the guest room for you. If you just want to commiserate, I’ll welcome that, too.
What are your thoughts on clutter? Are you naturally a declutterer or do you attract the stuff? How do you deal with it?