Day 301 What Kind of Clutterer Are You?

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.

Bead Jars

5 Things I am grateful for today (by Colleen)

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Glimmers of hope
  4. Moments of normality in our day.
  5. When the blissful moments of sleep give our boy some reprieve from his struggles.

Continue reading with these posts:

  • Owning your life skill ~ By Doodle One of our long time regular readers Doodle has kindly agreed to help out here at 365 by writing a blog post for me every other Wednesday. Today is her first regular post although not the […]
  • Guest Post from Andréia ~ One benefit of being decluttered "I have appreciated my decluttering efforts when having a party, as I wrote before, but never thought I would be finding myself appreciating them in illness. Recently I had health problems […]
  • My clutter categories ~ By Sanna I have been visiting family members in the past week. Being there and coming back I realized that my home still feels more cluttered than theirs although it isn't. How's that you might […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. I love this post. 🙂

    Colleen, I hope your boy heals quickly. I’m sorry you have to go through this. 🙁

  2. Colleen – Sounds like a great morning. I hope the day lives up to your hopes.

  3. Cindy, I was like you – very neat and organized until my second girl. Somehow I was able to manage with one, but 2 became a challenge. She just turned two and I feel like things are finally getting easier.

    Colleen – I was so relieved and happy for you to hear that your son was awake. I hope things continue to get better and better!

    • If you’re getting your house back together, and your youngest just turned two, you’re way ahead of me.

  4. This is a hoot and so true. I’m neither but my mother is the hidden kind. She’s getting better (it’s taken 17 years of living with me to get her where she is) but has a ways to go. I think I am a minimalist too. I can’t see the need for a piece of furniture or anything else if it is just there to “look pretty”. At least if you want “pretty” make it spare and not a hutch full of useless things. Oh my! Them’s fightin’ words to Mom.

  5. Can I be a combination clutterer? I think I tend to the let it all hang out kind if I have to choose. Like you Cindy I have neat and tidy drawers but the counters attract junk like flowers attract bees. I didn’t like it that our last house and this current one are small and have no garage or basement but now I see it as an unexpected blessing. I am forced to declutter and keep the stuff out of the house.

    Colleen, I’m truly amazed that you are finding blessings every day. And each day Liam improves at all is the best blessing!

    • No garage or basement. I think that would be hard. Even is it’s not clutter, there is usually seasonal clothing and decorations, tools, and lawn equipment that need to be stored somewhere besides your spare bedroom closet.

  6. I am both. Pity me. Only kinda joking.

  7. Let it all hang out, most definitely! I’m a minimalist at heart and I ca’t deal with stuff very well, so if it’s there I get easily overwhelmed and give up trying to control it. I’ve realized since that the secret for me really is minimalism, minimal possessions so there is nothing TO get out of hand! Getting my husband on board finally made this possible as it was back when I lived alone. DD is about to turn two soon and she is young enough to learn our ways 😀

  8. I think I am the let it all hang out type. Clutter is a visual reminder to do something, call someone, etc. Sadly I have so many visual reminders that truly – on a regular basis – it feels like my house is screaming at me to do things. Now that my youngest is 10, it is easier to clear clutter. …and yes, Cindy, I do remember your house from once upon a time 😉

    • Hi Janet,
      just wanted to say welcome to 365lessthings comments. I don’t think we have heard from you before and I just wanted to say it is good to hear from you.
      Colleen

    • Hi Janet! Thanks for coming by to visit us. Colleen, Janet is one of my friends from the mother’s group Mothers and More, which was one of the very best things I have ever been involved in. I’m sure Janet would agree with that too. -Cindy

  9. 4 bottles decluttered. You are dedicated Colleen. I’ve got some spice jars that need to go too.

    • I just looked back over the past several days. Colleen, you’ve posted a lot of pictures. Wow for you!