I have discovered I have a medical condition…. this is of course, apart from the Herniated disc in my neck that has made my life truly challenging over the last few months.
My health issues, and pain management have meant that a lot of what I would normally do around the house has been done by others. 3 male, well-meaning and entirely capable others. However, looking at our house with fresh eyes, and limited time before the next enforced “rest” has made for an interesting discovery.
We have been waging war on clutter for some time now. This house is not the largest, and we are all hoarders to some degree or another. In the past this has meant rather creative clutter solutions, however at the moment, the time for creativity has past. With the inclusion of a lot of items from my parents house, we are bursting at the seams. However, help is on the way, as we are building a beautiful new house not too far away, and should be moving within 6 months. So now would be a good time to get the clutter under control, rather than moving it with us, right?
Back to my medical discovery. I (and several members of my family) have clutter blindness. This was all brought to a head by a discovery of a tissue box yesterday. We ran out of tissues. We always have a box on the table, it’s been a long wet winter with plenty of nasty viruses that have wreaked havoc on us, and *gasp* we ran out of tissues. I was hoarding the small supply I had in my jacket pocket, my handbag. I had resorted to toilet paper. Shopping was the next day, and then all would be well again. So the next day we got tissues, and truly all was right with the world. That was when I noticed the SPARE box of tissues, sitting on the open cupboard just across from the dining table. This box was not hidden. It was at eye level, right next to a door that I go through hundreds of times a day. The box had been there since June, when we were all sick. I had a mental blindness towards that box, so that even when I desperately needed what was inside it, I couldn’t SEE it!
So with my new found mental fog removed, I have spent the morning walking around the house, re-evaluating all the things that we just accept are THERE, and no longer wonder why they are. The pile of magazines accumulating on the coffee table. The books and paperwork on the dining table, the enviable collection of recycling decorating the kitchen window sill. Although we know it’s there – as in we don’t walk into it etc, we just seem to have a blind spot around it. Like Douglas Adams’ classic invention, the SEP field. If you label something as “someone else’s problem”, then for you, it magically vanishes.
The SEP field is clutter’s best friend. If it can convince enough people in a household that it is SEP, then nothing ever happens to it, and the clutter is left alone to quietly multiply, finally drowning the household in irrelevant items that are there for no particular purpose.
But not for long!! I will vaccinate my family forthwith, and make a final stand against this clutter. Well, at least until the fog descends again.
Clutter and simplifying lives seems to be a hot topic around the web and in people’s lives at the moment. If you have any great strategies for saving yourself from it, let me know!
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Well not that I have THE answer because if I did I wouldn’t be looking at the clutter that I see before me. And I’m blushing just writing that. But I did read somewhere and it makes sense that if I kept it up I’d be going great, but if every day you picked up, put away, threw out or whatever 10 things -at the end of the week you will be 70 items less taking up space it shouldn’t be in. I must live by my own rules though.
Just seeing and recognizing the clutter is always a great start! Sorry to hear about the pain you’ve had. I do a similar thing to what Carol suggested, something I got from FlyLady. I get a bag and find 27 things to get rid of/throw away. And last time I cleaned house, I just removed *everything* from all the shelves, and only put back the things that belonged. Then I had to decide what to do with the rest of it (almost all of it was given away). Best of luck in your battle!