So I know I touched on dealing with clutter earlier this week but it’s on my brain for many reasons today. I always talk about ways to deal with the clutter…but I rarely talk about why it happens in the first place.
I posted this article on Facebook yesterday and really enjoyed reading your responses. I find this kind of stuff fascinating – psych was my minor in college because I’m always overly curious as to why we do what we do. The article focuses on a study that correlates clutter and depression in women and I found it really interesting.
I’m never a black and white person so I wouldn’t ever go so far as to say this is always the case, but after reading it it was kind of a “duh” moment for me. It is SO me. The article also mentions that men are not nearly as affected by the things around our house as women are, which again…for the most part I believe.
It got me thinking…if we allow clutter in our homes, why? If we don’t (and I find those that don’t are dedicated to avoiding it every day), what was it that made it unbearable for them?
I’m mixing in some organized spaces throughout to give us some motivation. ;)
As I was reading the comments on Facebook I was struck with a few things about myself. First of all, as with so many things, I think the reason we do what we do is borne out of how we grew up. There is still a deep, internal struggle I go through when I declutter because of that.
It feels wasteful for me to get rid of things I bought…no matter when I bought them and how often I use them. We you don’t have a lot growing up it sticks with you. I’m a bagger, as I’ve mentioned before, and I will have things in bags for months and never need one thing in there. And I’ll still go through each and every item – when if I’m honest with myself I don’t need any of it after all that time.
I also don’t have many things from my childhood – the only items salvaged are photos and a few other items. So I tend to hold on to many things for ALL of us so that we’ll “keep” the memories.
I had to laugh because I was watching The Goldbergs last night, which is my favorite show and last night’s was stellar because it was about New Kids on the Block, but I digress. The rest of the story line was about how the mom had kept literally every single art project and drawing from her children over the years and couldn’t part with them. It was to the extreme but I identified with her.
The best part though was when she showed her husband a drawing of her son did with his hand – and how there was no possible way she could ever get rid of it. And the dad said something like, “well he still has a hand!” It’s a goofy sitcom but his response stuck with me.
I struggle with the difference between memories and needing to keep things in order to remember. I think as moms we all want to keep every memory of those little hands…all 50 drawings of them. ;)
But I write a lot down and we have a crap load of pictures so do I need every single drawing? Probably not. Is it OK to keep some? Yes.
My other reason that I’m not always on top of clutter around our house is that I’m the only one here fighting the good fight. My husband is completely, totally oblivious to it. Completely. And honestly, I am to a point. That’s where the article comes in – I always feel better with less clutter around our house. Always. But I can deal with it to a degree. I have a fairly high threshold. ;)
I get to that threshold though and seriously feel like I’m going to lose it if it’s not gone right that second. I have cried because of clutter. I sat in our newly organized master closet yesterday with my husband’s clothes piled on the floor and was so overwhelmed I had to walk out.
He didn’t do it to be disrespectful – he was going through clothes to wash. But I could feel my blood pressure rising while sitting in that room.
We’re both creative types and for us clutter isn’t always a big deal – but even when I’m not overwhelmed by it I’m annoyed by it. My husband is never annoyed by it. But if I’m being honest here…he’s not the one cluttering up our house. It’s me. And if he attempted to organize the clutter I’d probably stress even more…so there. you. go.
I don’t make resolutions but I always focus on cleaning out our house this time of year and I DO love the feeling. It is freeing and light and truly amazing. I have a lot more to go through yet and I’m actually looking forward to it. It is hard for me to let go of things but I can count on one hand all of the things I regretted donating. And that wasn’t for emotional reasons, it was purely a “oh I could have used that thing for this” reason.
I have made a vow to myself to stay on top of the clutter more this year than I ever have before. I focus on projects around the house so much I don’t focus on the little things like the kitchen island piling up with crap. But I’m realizing those “little things” become big things and weigh me down emotionally.
I would never go so far as to say clutter makes me depressed, but I can certainly see how it could cause that. And clutter is a crazy thing – the more it builds up the less we want to deal with it. It can paralyze us.
Do you identify with any of this as well? Of course the opposite is true for so many – they grew up in a home with a lot of clutter so they absolutely cannot handle it and stay on top of it. OR they grew up in a home that was free of a lot of stuff and they continue the same in their house. I admire that – I want to do the same.
I do want to find a good balance. I don’t think it’s wrong to want to keep the kid’s drawings and the birthday cards with sweet messages from ten years ago. I just think I need to be a little more selective. And this post may sound like I’m Beverly Goldberg and I’m not. ;) For the most part our house is organized and functions well.
Does the clutter in the house affect your mood? Do you stay on top of it daily or can you let it sit like me? And was your childhood home the same?