I’m taking a break after spending a few days trying to declutter. Well, rather, my body simply stopped working after 2 days of intense attempts at de-cluttering and lugging laundry baskets up and down stairs.
One of the “joys” of being me is being a little bit disorganized. My older and younger sister inherited my mother’s cleanie gene. My middle sister who wasn’t really that bad to begin with, inherited a live-in mother in law/housekeeper/cook. My brother was always well-organized too and so is his wife.
So what WTF happened to me? Apparently I’m the only one to inherit the messie gene.
I don’t understand it. I crave order, I can GET some parts of my home organized, I just can’t seem to maintain it.
I read someone married a neat-nik husband and she learned great things from him. I didn’t. I inherited a messie techno-geek husband and we passed along our messie genes onto our daughters.
I’m trying to be better about it. I’m trying to pare down.
So many clothes for 5 that need washing (I should count the number of t-shirts my husband owns – probably along the lines of about 30 or 40 – I really think he’s got more clothes than I do).
So much junk mail (yes, still, after I thought we were on the do-not-solicit list). So many stupid school homework sheets times 3 (so at least 9 sheets a day/5 days a week). And of course, since they want the two younger ones to practice their last names, they make the girls put that on the page. So now I have to waste time shredding the pages.
So many projects in my mind I want to get to and it makes it hard to let go as I think “but we could use this for a montessori/craft/science project” for the girls or for me.
And speaking of the girls…they are like tornadoes sometimes. Craft projects, writing stories, picture drawing, creating make-believe scenarios using almost every toy they own (okay maybe that’s a stretch). And I had a very carefully organized system for the 5 and 7 year olds’ toys, each type in a lidded clear box with labels. They manage to mix and match their sets anyway. And right now, it looks like a tornado has gone through their room. I get upset every time I walk in there. All that careful organization gone to waste. All those toys I lovingly bought for them now tossed about. Truth is, I love and care about their toys more than they do. They have too much and I have trouble taking them away even though it would be better that I did.
But it’s not all their fault either. I have my books and my craft materials too taking up space. I have my writing and blogging taking up time and the girls ask me to spend time with them playing and learning about new things and I have some plans to do more science projects with the girls again for The Exploration Station Blog and reading and we go on lots of field trips together.
I suppose I could take to heart this article from ADDitude: Living Well with Attention Deficit and stop feeling bad about clutter.
The inevitability of disorder
“It’s chasing an illusion to think that any organization — whether it’s a family unit or a corporation — can be completely free of disorder on a consistent basis,” says Jerrold Pollak, a neuropsychologist at Seacoast Mental Health Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, whose work involves helping people tolerate the inherent disorder in their lives. “Even if you could [control disorder], should you? Total organization is a futile attempt to deny and control the unpredictability of life.
I should take comfort that the girls are thriving and seem to be, for the most part, happy children and they feel connected to me more than I felt to my mother.
But I can’t help feeling bad. I can’t stop looking at the messy areas of our home and just feel so overwhelmed and want to cry or throw the adult version of a temper tantrum (or both). I don’t know what to do about the endless cycle of mess and being unable to be ruthless about the stuff that needs to go. I hate being a messie, but I can’t seem to stop being one either.
I like this too from the above link
[David H.] Freedman is the co-author, with Eric Abrahamson, of A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder (Little, Brown & Company). The book is a meandering, engaging tour of the benefits of mess, and the systems and individuals reaping those benefits. One of them is California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose mess-for-success tips include never making a daily schedule…
In their book, Freedman and Abrahamson describe the properties of mess in loving terms. Mess has resonance, they write, which means it can vibrate beyond its own confines and connect to the larger world. It was the scumminess of Alexander Fleming’s laboratory that led to his discovery of penicillin. It bloomed in a moldy petri dish he had forgotten on his desk.
Guess how long that lasted? About 3.5 hours, until the girls came home and dinner came and went.
Well, the dryer’s probably done and I have about an hour before the kids come back from school. I could at least go back into the kitchen.