19. In Which I Tackle Clutter


As I looked around the house today, I wondered if it was possible to drown in clutter.  The family room seemed to be a respite, not for family members, but for random bits and pieces of the kids’ toys deposited there and forgotten over the course of summer.  My kitchen was piling up with forms, fliers, coupons, and all the other stuff of life that we get inundated in the weeks before school.  And then there are the bedrooms where too-small or season clothing needs to be swapped out for uniforms and more weather-appropriate items.

I stopped.  Took a deep breath.  And decided that the clutter would end today.  And then I looked around for where I should begin . . . I could tidy up the family room, but the lego bits need to go in with the lego . . . but the lego needs to be sorted (that’s been on my list for ages) . . . and sorting lego is going to take at least a day or two . . . which won’t allow me to make a dent in any of the other clutter . . . so I’ll start with the kitchen and clean up all the paperwork . . . but that will lead to filing . . . and my desk is a mess . . . and to clean up my desk will mean that I should clean up my little storage area . . . which means I should probably get out the binders and paper to work on the kids’ books . . .

Right.  So that went on for a few minutes.  And then I stopped again.  And set the kitchen timer for 30 minutes.  My most recent foray into running (I briefly considered doing a Disney half marathon earlier this week . . . possibly more on that subject later) has taught me nothing, if not that I can withstand pretty much anything for thirty minutes.

And so, I ran around and did as much as I could in those thirty minutes.  I was amazed at how much clutter I was able to deal with.  Sure, not everything is where it ultimately should be, but the dust is off the dirt, so to speak.  And if I can keep tackling all this clutter, in half hour stretches over the next few days, things should really start looking better around here!

Of course, as I was running around, I had time to reflect on both why so much clutter has built up, and how I might be able to stop it.  While I realize the two little ones will always generate a certain amount of mess, I can control the clutter that I create.  I can become more decisive.  I can focus on what I really love to do, not merely what I’d like to maybe try to fit into my schedule at some point in the future, and get rid of anything, be they possessions or activities, that don’t serve a clear purpose in my life right now, or the direction I’d like my life to take.

And in that moment, I was able to appreciate the clutter, and the little lesson it taught me today.

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