Sometimes things get cluttered. The mind, the heart and the soul can become especially messy, filled with the flotsam and jetsam of a life that has gone awry. Without fail, the house then follows, and things begin to pile up: Stacks of bills, stacks of magazines, piles of clothing that needs to go to the closet, to-do lists of paints and brushes and changes to be made — it seems the clutter takes over and it’s easy to say “I will get to it tomorrow.”
But then tomorrow comes, and the next tomorrow, and the one after that…and soon the clutter has become more like a chokehold, and your house is no longer your own. In fact, it’s become a completely foreign land, and it can make you wonder how things got that way.
After a while, you start to feel a little despondent about it all. Then a little depressed. And then —
Then? You get mad. And that’s when things start to change.
For me, it was when I couldn’t find a particular recipe. I knew the book it was in, and I knew the book was there, but I had no idea where it might be. I had moved into a new home after a messy divorce, and half of my things were still in boxes. I was far past the excuse of “I’m new in town” — living in a place for a solid year means you’ve put down roots. But there were the boxes, the relics of an old life.
And my cookbook was in there…somewhere.
I finally got busy. I went through each box, finding new and surprising things as each flap opened up. I went out and bought more bookcases.
When that wasn’t enough to hold it all, I turned to a few pretty trunks. Then the table that doubled as a storage box. Then the under-bed storage containers that made “out of sight, out of mind” my favorite saying for a while.
My own personal storage war started to ease when I tapped into my love of containers. Baskets, bottles, boxes — you name it. If it holds things and looks pretty while doing so, then I’m happy to use it in my house.
There is also the fact that baskets and boxes can hide almost anything, so they worked well for many of those things that had been holding me back — like that picture of my old house, or that address book with phone numbers that no longer worked, or even that old wedding album that I couldn’t part with just yet. I wanted to keep them, but I didn’t want to have to look at them!
Sure enough, after a few weeks of going through box after box, I could see my carpet again. Everything now had a place, and I once again had my sanity.
If you are wondering, yes — I did find that cookbook!
This year, I’m going to go through one of those baskets each week, and decide what to keep and what to give away. It’s a good time to clear out all that clutter, don’t you agree?