Why You Need to Make a Space Free From Clutter
They say that having a messy desk (or car, or house) is the mark of genius. I apparently have a house full of geniuses by the sheer amount of clutter that seems to pile up everywhere. Mostly it piles up because life is hectic. Dishes need to wait sometimes. Shoes don't get put away other times. We're not naturally OCD people by any means, and we're passing these laissez-faire "cleaning" values to our kids.
Since I'm always on the lookout for ways to make my life feel less crazy and chaotic, I’ve figured out a way to find peace even if the rest of the house is insane: by making a space that’s just for me that is also free from clutter.
But they also say geniuses cus a lot. So in that case, when it comes to out-genius-ing the geniuses in my home I win because a) mommy cusses a lot. And b) I have a safe space that is clutter free (for the most part) and makes me feel calm and productive.
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The Psychology of Clutter
I’ve written a lot about Mari Kondo’s book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up," but essentially the idea is that you discard all of the unnecessary items in your house that no longer have a purpose, ranging from clothes to books, to toys and more. What you're left with is a lot less stuff, but in return, some experience a sense of peace and freedom from the abundance of space left where the shit used to be.
But to put all of her sage (although sometimes a bit impractical) advice into practice when you've got two kids under four, a husband with a hectic client load, a busy work schedule, and you know. Like. Life? It's a lot easier said than done.
But there are real psychological ramifications from living in filth, I mean clutter.
According to this article, “ When you clutter things, you can't see the surface, you can't see the carpet; you can't see the floorboards, you can't see the surroundings. Which actually allows you to not deal with it – it's a way of coping."
Why the fuck would I want to clean up all this shit, to deal with the rest of the shit I haven't had a chance to deal with? Nor really even want to deal with?
Free Yourself from Clutter
For me, it's 100% impossible to expect to have a perfectly clean house.
While there are those who somehow manage to pull it off (#unicorns), I am not one of them. If left unchecked, our house turns into a weird den of random collected items from birthday parties, and work events, art papers, and daycare reports, paycheck stubs, and outgrown shoes: all of which may or may not have stale cheerios stuck to the undersides of them.
I recently pushed our dining table up against a window that overlooks our backyard to become my work-from-home desk, if you will. On it is my computer, some handmade items the boys gave me from past Mother's Day's, hand lotion, a coaster for my water, and THAT’S FUCKING IT.
Also, It overlooks the backyard specifically in an area where there’s not a lot of shit either.
My back faces the boy's playroom/the rest of the dining room, which is quickly consumed by the toys when they get into it. (And for the record I love when they get into it. It means they're having fun!)
So If it's really bad, I can still feel at peace because I don't even have to look at it. It's my safe space. Where I work, where I feel creative, and where I feel cozy and productive.
To keep this nice and clean and clear means I have to have systems for everything else. Oh. And have I got systems.
Have a Place for Your Papers
I spent $13 on this scrapbook box on Amazon. This is where the mail goes and gets sorted. It currently sits on top of one of our kitchen counter nooks. I bought this magazine holder that holds files where I put the most important bills and papers that need to be dealt with so I can see what needs immediate attention.
Mail goes directly into the box. Also any papers from school. At the end of every week, I go through the box, sort the junk mail, the bills, and the items that need to be shredded or filed.
I do that immediately (or within a few days give or take, who am I kidding).
One of the folders is labeled: Action items. This usually includes bills. (Wee!)
Another folder is just for Chris - for any of his paperwork that he needs to deal with and organize on his own time.
Another folder is for coupons: Bed Bath & Beyond, Buy Buy Baby, Costco, etc. It’s all there. When it’s time to shop, I grab the entire folder and take it with me to the damn store.
Matter of Fact, Have A Place for All of Your Shit
This is so much easier said than done. But because I'm a Kon-Mari Practitioner at heart, I try hard to find a place for everything.
For example every night my husband pulls out allllll of the wine opening paraphernalia: Wax cutter, rabbit corkscrew, another corkscrew, the little decanter thing...It all gets put on the counter, and while it usually leads to me getting a glass of wine (why thank you), he also has a tendency to leave it all the way out.
He has a mere three feet to walk to put these items away in the drawer where they belong. But because we are white privileged AF, I thought maybe he needed something in close proximity to the wine and wine glasses.
Guys, it's hard to walk three feet to open your wine and then walk back to put away the wine openers.
So he gets a little bowl now in the cabinet with the glasses and success! The counter is clear of wine opening goodies. YAY.
Find Peace and Happiness
Okay, maybe you won't be able to find all of the peace and happiness you need right now but you might be able to find a little bit of peace and happiness. And sometimes that's enough. If you can make a safe, peaceful, clutter-free space for yourself, you may soon see yourself become a better more focused mom. A happier more attentive wife. And perhaps even more things will start to fall into place just like you dreamed it would when you were thinking hard about what the fuck you wanted for your life.
Tell me about your safe spaces in the comments below! Where are you finding peace and serenity amongst the clutter?