Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cluttered

I have been bombarded lately by a clutter induced funk.  I say lately, because it has seeped into my soul and started to really, really nip at me lately BUT it truly has been a life-long struggle.  The other day I started to say to my husband that I was in a clutter funk and then I went to put a time line for how long this has been going on and then I almost put an actual time on it like a few weeks or a few months and then without much thought the truth came out my mouth, "I have been in a clutter funk (pause) for well, my whole life."  Yikes!  The reality struck as I truly acknowledged that this has been a never ending cycle. 

In some areas of my life I can be so organized and on top of things and then there is "the clutter".  Some of the clutter is simply papers that I am not sure what to do with.  Some of it is a pile of clothes left to be hung in the closet.  Some of it is hidden behind closet doors or bathroom drawers but it is there.  Some of it is things that have been started that came to abrupt halts and were left to be finished at a later time. 

Always, without fail I hit a more severe funk and determine, "That is IT!  It will never get this bad again."  And then, once again, without fail it begins again.  Some of it results from laziness.  Some of it results from too much stuff in too little of a space.  Some of it results from children who add to the mess and then give me a hard time when I try to clear up the clutter.  Some of it results because of having a husband gone several nights a week and dishes get left in the sink  (once again after dinner has been made the children are ready for there Mommy, not ready for a Mommy to be in the kitchen even longer).

Now I am not saying that my entire house is always a complete tornado of a mess but more often than not I feel behind, overwhelmed, and quite simply stressed by the task that lies ahead of me. This weekend I was determined to get some things done and told my husband that the kids would be his for a while and I was going to work, work, work.  And after several hours of working I feel like a very small dent was made.  Far less than my expectations had demanded. 

And there my friends is half of the problem I presume...EXPECTATIONS.  I see other's houses looking pristine, emaculate, and well quite near perfect and wonder what I am doing wrong, what is the matter with me, or how do they do it?  And then I place an expectation of what our home should look like and the guilt and frustration just pile on.  The last thing someone who has a pile filled house needs is a pile of frustration and guilt to add to the top of it all.  *Sigh*

When I started this post I was merely venting my feelings with no real direction or end in mind and then I found THIS...a much needed read.

Here is a small glimpse of Stephanie's words at Diapers and Divinity:

"I don’t think we’re supposed to have a clean house. I think we’re supposed to WANT a clean house and work toward it.  This phrase from April’s General Conference about Mary and Martha’s house fit in perfectly with my philosophy on this:
“It was a welcome place for the Master, where He could rest and enjoy the surroundings of a righteous home.” ~ Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer"
Her words gave me relief and comfort.  I still have some issues to work on but I think more importantly I will work on my expectations and spending quality time with my little ones.

7 comments:

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

:)

Michaela Stephens said...

Mother-long comment PART 1:

“The reality struck as I truly acknowledged that this has been a never ending cycle.”

I claim to be an organized person and I’ll tell you a secret: even for organized people it is still a never-ending cycle. Even organized people still have declutter-a-thons to purge stuff that has accumulated. It’s not as big a production and it doesn’t take so much time, but it still is a cyclical thing.

“In some areas of my life I can be so organized and on top of things and then there is ‘the clutter’.”

Yay for those areas that are so organized!! You know what? Everybody has areas where they have troubles dealing with clutter. Everyone has areas of “what-the-heck-do-I-do-with-this?”

“Some of the clutter is simply papers that I am not sure what to do with.”

Make a file labeled “No idea what to do with this.” Put all that stuff in it. Leave it for a year or something. Then go through it and you’ll probably know by then whether you need it or not.

“Some of it is a pile of clothes left to be hung in the closet.”

If it can be done in 5-10 minutes, do it right now!

“Some of it is hidden behind closet doors or bathroom drawers but it is there.”

My suggestion is this: always to start with the LARGEST stuff first, that way you can feel like you are making lots of progress at the very beginning and your efforts will make the biggest difference when you have the most energy and are the most motivated.

“Some of it is things that have been started that came to abrupt halts and were left to be finished at a later time.”

Once upon a time I bought material and a pattern to sew myself a really cool red velvet vest. I started it and then I got really frustrated with it because it wasn’t turning out right. I had to put it aside for other things I had to do. And then I never got back to it because I wasn’t excited about it any more and I didn’t know how to fix my mistakes. It sat where I could see it for about a month and every time I saw it I felt terrible and confused and mad at myself and guilty because I had wasted my money. Finally I got fed up and decided to throw it away and then I felt better because I didn’t have to see it ever again. I forgave myself and moved on.

I am officially giving you permission to toss out all your unfinished craft projects that you are beating yourself up over because you’re not getting them done.

“Some of it results from too much stuff in too little of a space.”

The question that should be asked is, “How much of the stuff in this space is really needed and how much of the stuff in this space actually belongs here?

“Some of it results from children who add to the mess and then give me a hard time when I try to clear up the clutter.”

If the clutter is in the main living areas in the house, then you have every right to clear up the clutter. If the clutter is in the kid’s rooms, then it would be good to teach correct principles (FHE?) and let them govern themselves, while offering rewards for clean and decluttered rooms.

Michaela Stephens said...

Mother-long comment PART 2:

“dishes get left in the sink (once again after dinner has been made the children are ready for there Mommy, not ready for a Mommy to be in the kitchen even longer).”

You have to teach the principle that until everything is put away, dinner is not yet over and the family is not allowed to go on to something else until dinner is over.

A house with kids WILL get messy. It will be messy every single day. So you have to accept that order will only be a temporary thing in a house with kids. But if you institutionalize a family habit of picking everything up after dinner, there should be at least a few hours when the house is clean every day. This is what my parents did in our family growing up as one of seven kids. Everyone helped clean up after dinner because we had a job wheel that we rotated through every day. Someone cleared the table, someone rinsed the dishes, put away the food, loaded the dishwasher, someone picked up the house, someone vacuumed the floor under the table, someone took out the trash, etc. My youngest brother was doing rinsing and loading the dishwasher at age five. (He played in the water a lot, but he still helped.)

Sorry for my long comment. I hope you don’t feel like I’m lecturing at you.

Becoming LDS said...

Michaela, thanks for your comments. I totally agree with your ideas and grew up with them and plan to implement many of them as my children grow older. My Mom is a VERY VERY organized person and so I learned from the best and that is where part of the expectations thing comes in.

A lot of the struggle comes from the fact that my children can't "really" help yet. I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old. Dinner is made with baby crying at my feet as are many other daily tasks. Once dinner is made and Daddy is not home I tend to leave the dishes and spend time with the kids. When laundry is folded and kids are whiny the hanging of clothes gets left behind. Any suggestions for messes at this stage in life?

I think for me the hardest thing is finding balance. I am not always sure where to draw the line.

Any suggestions or thoughts from you or anyone would be appreciated! Thanks again.

Michaela Stephens said...

Hmmm.. didn't know it was age 3 and 1 you were dealing with..

Your best bet may be to become skilled at doing things with one hand while carrying the 1 year old with the other. I think that is the age that they just aren't happy unless they are being carried. They really like seeing what adults are doing and hearing our voices, so the more they are in the action, the better.

Do you have a babypack so you can wear your baby? Often they like being turned to the front. That'll allow you to do two-handed tasks like cutting tomatoes and such.

That's my best idea. (Okay, so its my only idea.) Good luck. If that doesn't work, pray. ;-)

Michelle Wilson said...

I just discovered your blog tonight. What an AWESOME tool it is for those who are searching! I like your clutter post. I feel emotionally cluttered sometimes too. I need to "clean out my closet" and get organized. The church helps me stay focused on what is really important. Thank you so much for creating this blog!

Michelle
http://mydateswithgod.blogspot.com/

Jamie said...

I love this quote by Sister Hinckley.

"I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.
I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children.
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden.
I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived."
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Also, I knew someone who had two goals every day when she had children:
1) Get up when I wake up
2) Get dressed when I get up

Then she could start on her list of things to do for the day. I tried this one day when I was feeling down and it brings a sense of accomplishment that I had finished my two goals for the day. Then I could do other things.

Let us know what you learn! Good luck!