Clutter Is Taking Over

No matter how clean my house is, if clutter starts to take over I feel like I’m living in the middle of the county dump. Add to that the anxiety I get when things are not in order and, needless to say, I’m not very pleasant to live with! One of my friends always makes fun of me for my “purging” she knows if I’m stressed, nothing makes me feel better than to go through the house and get rid of things I don’t need.

I don’t like clutter, and I don’t understand it. What is the point of having all your closets and storage space overflowing with things you might need some day? As far as I’m concerned if something has been in a closet or a drawer for months and I haven’t used it, it’s time for it to find a new home. The only exception to this rule are seasonal decorations, but even those I have to convince myself I need from year to year.

Every time someone asks me to help organize their house the first thing I say is, let’s get rid of some stuff. People are generally horrified- they need this stuff! I have found that clutter just overwhelms us when it’s time to clean. First you have to get rid of the clutter, and then you have to develop some better habits for not letting it take over again.

My daughter is a hoarder and so messy that I think she must be adopted. Her car is so bad that if the health department cared about cars, hers would be condemned. Finally I could take it no more; I insisted she clean her car. Now up to this point, cleaning for Hailey has meant grabbing all the stuff in the car and shoving it in the trunk.

I put her to work. Hailey jumped right in and started pulling everything out of the car; right away I could see the problem. As she was emptying the car, she was just making a big pile in the garage. Everything went into the pile, clothes, shoes, trash, everything.

I stopped her about halfway through and started to show her how to organize the mess so that once it’s out of the car it will not just be a mess somewhere else. It took two hours but by the time she was done she felt like she had a new car. She also found her driver’s license, the jeans she thought she had lost, $6.48 in change, and four pairs of shoes.

I thought organization came naturally to everyone, I was wrong. For most it is a learned behavior, so let’s start learning it. Just being organized will make it so much easier to clean your house and to find things when you need them. Tomorrow we will tackle that black hole where we throw everything we don’t know where to put right now. You’ll be glad you did.