A guest post by Cindy Bogard
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say something that may be ridiculous. Ready? There are two types of clutterers – let it all hang out and hidden. There, I’ve said it. Let the eye rolling begin.
I am the first kind – the let it all hang out kind. While my cabinets and drawers are really pretty neat, and always were, every available surface used to be covered in stuff. Good stuff, junky stuff, stuff that has to be moved before anyone could eat, sit down, or visit.
BC (before children), I was very neat. I look back on the earlier days of my marriage when Dan and I would sometimes argue about who cleaned more. Ha! We hardly knew what was coming.
As I recall (any friend who is reading this, if you remember it differently, keep it to yourself), my house was pretty neat after Clara was born. Sure, the living room sometimes looked like a toy store had exploded in it, but the rest of the house was tidy.
It was when we moved to our current house four months before Audra was born that the wheels came off the bus. I am a fixer upper, and I can see potential in houses that others pass by, which is how we came to own an astoundingly dated but budget friendly house in the nicest neighborhood we could afford. It was plenty spacious with three bedrooms and an office, but it needed love, and lots of it. On and off, mostly on, we have been working on this house ever since, which has included serious remodeling – jack hammering concrete, moving walls, and adding a second floor.
Dan laughs that while we made a cocoon of safety for baby Clara, we happily birthed Audra in the middle of a construction zone.
I love talking about my house, but I’ve gotten slightly off-base. During all this time, things were always in flux, and nothing got put away. Dan would pick something up and say “Where does this go?” and I’d say, “I don’t know where it goes. Leave it there.” I didn’t want to put anything away if I didn’t know where “away” was. I would rather have it out and exposed than away and in a jumble. Or I would know that next week, next month, next year, I was going to tear those cabinets out, so why store something there now? I’d just have to move it later. I attempted organization by leaving laundry baskets in every room into which I would throw everything that didn’t belong, but the baskets just overflowed. (Saw that coming, didn’t you?)
Yes, there was stuff on every surface. No, I wasn’t raised this way. But I kind of got used to it. I would even feel anxious when I did clean, knowing that like Sisyphus pushing his boulder, there was no way the cleanliness would stick. Sure, I was embarrassed to have friends over and tried to meet them elsewhere, but I was always hopeful that organization was just around the corner. I guess it was, but let me tell you, that corner was on the end of a very long block.
We’ve all been to houses like this. You know when you’re in the home of a “let it all hang out” clutterer because it’s all there for you to see.
But then there’s the other kind of clutterer. The kind I most definitely am not. The kind whose house appears tidy, or relatively so, but whose closets are overflowing, whose drawers can’t open, or who have a whole room that no one’s allowed to enter. My aunt is this kind of clutterer. Her house is very tidy, almost minimalist, but there’s a spare bedroom that she calls her Klinefelter room, in memory of her grandparents (my great grandparents) who were such hoarders that you had to weave a path through their home. She keeps the door closed, and no one but her may enter.
Lots of people in the U.S. have Klinefelter garages. The house looks good, but there’s no way they’re going to get a car in there unless they call a dumpster first. Or, if you live in the north, it could be the curse of the basement. The boxes are packed so high and so thick that the owners can’t possibly really need what’s in the bottom boxes. After all, they’re never going to be able to get into them. These folks may think that they don’t have clutter because it’s all in boxes, maybe even in handy storage bins, or because it’s “just the garage” or “just the basement” but clutter is what it is. (In the interest of fair disclosure, I can’t get my car in the my garage either, but I know it’s cluttered. I could probably do a separate 365 less things on my garage, and maybe I will.)
I don’t think either of these types is better or worse. They’re both burdens to overcome. I think I might prefer to be a hidden clutterer because I’d love to have a cleaner house, but I do pride myself on a tidy drawer. Which kind of clutterer are you?
Today’s decluttered item from Cindy: 3 electrical outlet safety plugs (we’ve certainly outgrown the need for these) and an automatic cat feeder. Our local Humane Society actually has a pet supply freecycle because they get so many donations, and the feeder came from them. I’m glad I didn’t have to pay for it, as the food gets stuck and doesn’t refill as advertised. Besides, Stella was free feeding a little too generously. Now she’s restricted to a handful a day.
ITEM 301 OF 365 LESS THINGS
Every little things counts even these tiny storage jars.
5 Things I am grateful for today (by Colleen)
- A morning walk – Hubby and I went out this morning and walked in a direction we hadn’t been in a while. Our neighbourhood is constantly changing and it never gets boring because there is always a new reno, a new building or a demolition/rebuild going on somewhere.
- A beautiful blue ski – The sun is shining and the birds are singing today hopefully it is a reflection of the sort of day Liam will have today.
- Glimmers of hope
- Moments of normality in our day.
- When the blissful moments of sleep give our boy some reprieve from his struggles.