The other day I was channel surfing and I stopped on an episode of Hoarders. I find something strangely fascinating and oddly inspiring about that television show. My husband doesn’t like the show because he finds it depressing, my daughter doesn’t like it because she’s a germophobe and it grosses her out. I like it because I see it and it motivates me to reclaim my space.
Now, to be perfectly clear, we are not hoarders. However, we are a family of five with a dog, and we accumulate clutter. We have rooms in our house that look as though they could be featured on that program but we also have rooms that do not. I know that I’m not a hoarder because I am willing to let go of things. In fact, I find it very freeing, as I’ve written about before.
Very slowly, we are reclaiming our space. I had taken this week off to visit with my mother and then took the latter half of the week off to clean the house. I was meant to have foot surgery tomorrow and I wanted to be sure that the house was in order whilst I recuperated. My bedroom still has piles of Christmas decorations that need to be sorted and returned to the attic. I promise you, piles are not a therapeutic and healing environment for me.
In a strange twist of fate, the surgery got pushed back two weeks, so now I have a few extra days to whack away at the chaos that has taken over certain rooms in our house. This enthusiasm has been, predictably, sparked by that episode of Hoarders and also by my mother’s visit. My mother is very organized and her home is meticulous. The same holds true for most of our family. My father and stepmother live in a gorgeously kept home and my brother and sister-in-law keep their house with two young children perfectly tidy. Needless to say, I envy all of them the energy and wherewithal to stay on top of keeping their homes in ship shape. (See? J is for Jealousy!)
When I do get motivated, I am extremely thorough and quite enjoy the process of sorting, purging, donating and labeling. My sister-in-law actually shared an article on spring cleaning and organizing and I recognized a couple primary reasons behind our chaotic clutter. The first is that we clean the “public rooms” first. Whenever we have company, the main floor of the house is given a good cleaning. However, boxes get filled and we take them to one of the three out-of-sight “catch-all” rooms: the basement, the sun porch or the attic. All three of these rooms overflow piles upon piles. Those are the hoarder rooms. The next room to fall prey to piles and stacks of boxes is the master bedroom. Again, out of sight from guests. I wonder if starting with the bedrooms would end up causing us to neglect the family rooms.
The other cardinal rule of clutter control that we consistently break is the “one in, one out” rule. In fact, we could probably stand to institute a “on in, two or three out” rule. Whenever we buy something new – whether it is clothing, a kitchen gadget, a new toy – we should be getting rid of something else. This is something we should do on a continual basis and something I hope to achieve by the end of the summer.
So, the reclaiming of the square footage in our home is an ongoing battle. Right now, our little house on the hill seems like it is busting at the seams but I know, deep down, that in when the kids leave for college in a few years, it will seem so quiet and empty. Until then, we’ll just navigate the chaos.