Tuesday, April 6, 2010


People have many strange addictions.  I didn’t realize clutter was mine. 

As much as I hate clutter it’s interesting that I have so much of it.  Even after spending a day organizing clutter, clutter still reigns supreme.  This may always be the case. 

I have come to accept a lot of it.  The alternative would be to purge memories.  Or at least those things that someday may be useful.  The rule is that if something hasn’t been looked at or used in a year then get rid of it. 

Rules were made to be broken!

The bookshelves are overflowing with books.  Books are stacked two deep on many shelves.  Another bookshelf is crammed full of books, magazines, scrapbook paper, scrapbook supplies, among many other items.  It would take a psychiatrist to convince me I don’t need these things.  And even then I wouldn’t listen. 

To throw away these bookshelf items would be the equivalent of having a food fight in the Louvre. 

The rest of the clutter can’t be helped either.  We need a better storage system for all the cords, electronics, cords, important papers that never seem to get filed, cords, and more cords. 

The size of living space has nothing to do with it.  Regardless of tiny apartment with no storage, house with a basement and garage to accumulate clutter, or whatever, every horizontal surface is covered.  Vertical space is stacked as tall as possible without precariousness. 

My parents bought me a headboard with built in storage when I was a kid.  I remember looking at the three large divided spaces.  It felt so empty and as much as I tried to keep myself from doing it, I rushed to fill the space.  Soon each of the three compartments were stuffed full of things.  The top of the headboard, being a horizontal surface, soon housed many knickknacks and other various dust collectors. 

When I pride myself on organizing the clutter in my life, all I’ve really done is arranged the clutter into neat little piles.   But it works and that’s all that matters.  If that’s all it takes to calm my racing heart and inspire creativity, then it is worth it. 

This morning I walked downstairs to a beautiful sight.  The rugs were straight.  The floors were visible.  The carpet and furniture felt so tidy.  The office looked foreign in its cleanliness.  Dishes didn’t take up all the counter space.  Those few moments of quiet serenity nourished my very soul. 

Soon the kids would get up with their bounding energy.  Soon the toys would make their daily parade downstairs.  Soon the blank computer would call to me.  Soon the neatly stacked scrapbooking supplies would entice me to dive in, once again creating the clutter I had just put away. 

I will surrender to the call of creativity.

I find that the most fascinating thing about taming clutter.  The peace and calm lasts only so long before it is overpowered by the need to create. 

I used to keep my bedroom messy because it kept my brother and sister out.  But I have to admit I did like it when I cleaned my room and they would naturally find their way into my room to talk, laugh, and do headstands in front of my full length mirror.  Something about my clean room inspired our best ideas. 

Every time I organize my kids’ toys I feel like I should be committed for insanity.  The end results are amazing in spite of the conflict I feel during the project.  This time I asked them to help me and when they balked at the idea I was secretly relieved.  I basked in my cleaning frenzy. 

When I finish, they discover toys they forgot they had.  They play so much more creatively and cooperatively.  It doesn’t last long before they resume their bad habits of tossing toys wherever just so long as the floor is empty before bedtime.  They are getting better at putting things back where they belong.  I believe they recognize the joy that comes from everything in its place and try to make that feeling last. 

My love/hate relationship with clutter is therapeutic to me.  I hate it enough to do something about it.  Then I feel like I’ve accomplished something big.  This inspires all of us to play harder and create better.  That brings back the clutter and the cycle continues.  What would I do without clutter?  I need it to survive. 

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