Ugh! The word fills me with dread and drips with disorganization.
Seriously, this word is an onomatopoeia for the chaotic state of my house. The “CL” sound is the “clunk, clunk” sound of me knocking something over on a table or tripping over the mess on the floor. The “UH” sound is the sound I make when I’m lamenting over the broken Thing I’ve knocked over or me as I’m falling to the ground. The “TUH” sound is the sound of me facepalming when the baby starts wailing because of the noise, the dog comes over to investigate the situation or my head making contact with the wooden floorboards. The “ER” sound is the grumble I use to keep the obscenities at bay as I deal with whatever situation befalls me. So you see, that word begets bad tidings from the outset.
I do want to clarify however. I’m not bad enough to be a candidate for Hoarders. Sure, there are rooms in our house that I left moving boxes in and closed the door for two years to “deal with it later” and never got to it, but I do try and be tidy when guests arrive, I do try to organize things. I want to have a house in which all the material occupants have a place to belong. Why can’t my house look like one of those magazines? Why can’t my house look “finished?”
The main supporters of cleanliness and organization are my husband and my mother (when she’s in town); detail oriented, they are great at keeping me on track with the day to day minutia of chores- which is not in my nature as a big picture kind of gal- and keeping me from getting overwhelmed when the job is large, like cleaning up after Christmas. I have my mother to thank for channeling her Monica Geller nature to save one of our rooms from certain death by suffocation. Time and again she cleans when she comes to visit cross country and I’m grateful for every minute since I learned to enjoy cooking but not cleaning. She likes things much more neat and orderly than I do; I have to live at least on the edge of chaos.
Why is that I wonder?
Before even starting the feng shui part of the project I’m supposed to get rid of all the clutter and clean the area, thereby beginning with a clean slate before changing or adding anything. The book I’m using talks all about clutter, the how-to instructions that are in any organization book or magazine anywhere, but it goes beyond just mere instructions. It talks about mental and emotional clutter as well and the cycle between those and physical clutter. Think of it: if your home is supposed to reflect yourself, then what does clutter say about your state of mind? And if you have clutter in your home, how does that make you feel? It’s a vicious cycle that I’m finally ready to break. How do I break it? By letting go.
Letting go. That is so hard for me. When I hold on to something, I’m holding on to all of the memories of what that item was and the potential for all that item can be. Who I could be is also tied to those items and who I could be is much easier to dream about than to let go and see who I really am. Who am I really? Am I broken like my old, broken dishware? Am I cheap like the flea market find I purchased but never restored? Am I a poor college student living in a dorm still? Am I dirty like the stained towel I never got rid of? Do these things that clutter my home add value my life or subtract it?
Or, most importantly, can I change my life to be who I want to be when I don’t allow myself the space to change it?
The word still has the same meaning to me, but I’m no longer afraid of it.
I’m okay with getting rid of the clutter. My home may not look like a pristine magazine cover with my pets and my dogs and my hard to defeat bad chore habits, but at least my clutter free home will be a reflection of who I will be- who I actually am.
Filled with warmth, compassion, peace, creativity, joy and love.