What clutter stole from me

Happy Monday!  Today I’d like to welcome any visitors who are stopping by for the first time after reading my blog post on Karen Ehman’s site.  She’s doing a fabulous series on hospitality and invited me to be a part of it.  I shared a piece on decluttering your kitchen.  If you were part of my Clutter-Free series you might have read it.  But I tweaked it a bit. I hope you’ll visit Karen and read her past guest posts and see what’s coming in the future.

It got me thinking about clutter, and how much it has stolen from me in the past.  In fact, the topic came up yesterday as a friend and I talked about a television show.  Let me explain.

A few months ago, my friend Candy recommended I watch a TV show called “The Middle.”  She and her family loved it and related so much to the characters, especially since they also have a Midwest background.

So I watched a few episodes, but didn’t like it.  But wasn’t quite sure why.

Yesterday our families got together and we were talking about movies and TV shows, and I told her that I’ve tried several times to watch the show, but can’t get into it.

She said she wasn’t really surprised.  She figured the mess in the house would bother me.

And you know what? She was right.  The last episode I watched I noticed they had brooms and mops sitting in a corner of a room … out in plain sight.  And I kept thinking about all the other places they could store their brooms that WEREN’T visible.  The clutter in the house distracted me.

I wanted the family to get busy and clean up!!!   It’s kind of the same nervous feeling I had when I watched I Love Lucy years ago … I hated how much trouble Lucy and Ethel got into!!!!    (I’m such a rule follower)

Anyway, I realized my friend struggles with clutter now, which is why she connects with the show.  At that moment, I needed her to know that I really understood the struggle with clutter.  If anyone had seen my house 16 years ago, you would have seen a very different home.

We had three little boys and we lived with clutter all the time.  I see it now in photographs and wonder how I lived in that.  But I was numb to it.  Blinded almost.  And I wondered, back then, why I could never get it together.

Clutter stole so much from me.

Clutter stole my creativity, my motivation, my clarity of thought, my timeliness, my patience.  There was an underlying anxiety when I was in clutter but I never identified it.  I just lived with it.

It wasn’t until I started learning about the value of visual white space that I understood the difference.

Clutter can’t be overcome in a day, or even a week.  It takes time.  Just don’t despise small improvements so that you do nothing.  There is great value in decluttering even one small area -  one shelf, one drawer, one basket stuffed with magazines you’ll never read.  Then pick another small area.  And continue.

I never judge anyone because I know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed by life and clutter.  We are all in this together.  I’m so glad you have joined me today.

In His love,

Glynnis

 

 

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Comments

  1. Pat says

    So where do you store the brooms and mops when you don’t have a broom closet? The only closet I have is the clothes/linen closet and I certainly don’t want smelly brooms & mops in there :) Also, no garage and outdoor storage (it’s an apartment).

    • Glynnis says

      Hi Pat – that’s an interesting dilemma. I’ve wondered about that myself. And after some brainstorming and research, I’ve discovered a collapsible broom and mop. It’s used in RV’s. You can easily find it by doing a search on the Internet or visiting an RV supply store. Hope that helps.

  2. Marcia L says

    You’re absolutely right…clutter will steal alot of joy from women.
    I recently heard a sermon on Ecclesiastes 3…this ‘posting’ reminded me of that sermon. One of the points in the sermon was there is a rhythm to life…one can almost feel it all the way through Chapter 3…and during their life.
    I too suffered from the ‘perfect household syndrome’…and over the years I have learned to let alot of it go…please don’t misunderstand me…I always tried to keep an orderly home but there were ‘times’ or ‘seasons’ when I just had to let go of that ‘syndrome’ because there was something else going on that was much more important at the time that needed my attention.
    It took me a LONG time to really understand that we live in a sinful, imperfect world and no matter what I do ‘horizontally’ that will never change…however, when I look ‘vertically’ to my Lord and Savior He is sure to set the tone for my day and then it is up to me to follow through. That might mean leaving the clutter because one of my kids needs something…or a friend calls and needs to just ‘vent’ for an hour or two. I trust God to let me know just exactly what needs to be done…if He blesses me with a ‘free’ day to get some extra chores done then I ought to get them done…because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
    Keep your eyes on the One above…and He will keep your paths straight!

  3. anonymous says

    Hmm. Clutter bugs me too, but sometimes it is hard to avoid. When you have a husband, a young child, a full time job and a side gig it’s HARD to keep everything perfect. I do what I can do. I give my family the best that I have to offer and I ask God for the grace to help me to do what all needs to be done. A little bit at a time is all I can muster after a long day and weekends that don’t seem long enough. I can relate to how you feel about The Middle in a sense. It’s an exaggeration of life to be sure, but yeah, people live like that. The parents are kinda crazy, lazy and undisciplined and probably have had more than a few bad breaks that can surely knock the wind out of you-and all of that has been passed on to the kids. Yeah, people pitch in and pick up after one another, but it is a living space. I don’t judge anybody- I don’t know what’s going on in their lives. If I go to someone’s house and it’s spotless and orderly, I figure they don’t have any children, pets or maybe much of anything going on in their lives, and that makes me sad for them. If they have a big family and a housekeeper, more power to ‘em. I grew up in a home where my stepmother made everybody NUTS with demands for ORDER and IT WAS NOT A FUN PLACE TO BE. 25 years later and I do not have pleasant memories of “home”-it makes me cringe. I’d rather have a some clutter (which can be remedied) and a lot of happy hearts and memories later on.

    • Glynnis says

      Hi there – I believe there is a healthy balance somewhere. I’m with you on choosing grace rather than nagging. I want a home worth coming home to. Here’s the thing, if clutter isn’t a problem for you, it isn’t a problem. I hope no one ever feels like they have to have a spotlessly, organized home. My goal is to have a functional home where we can live our priorities – which is to love God and love each other. Sounds like that’s your goal too.

  4. Donna says

    Thank you! I’ve read it all, but alas I’m still here in my clutter. Any tips on how you turned the corner. It seems so overwhelming with an already no margin life schedule.

    You were once there…..how did you change?

    Blessings!

  5. Heather says

    This is so true. I have a ton of clutter in my home, and I want to take care of it but I am so overwhelmed as to where to start. This morning, I told myself that I would do a little bit of cleaning/ de-cluttering when I have a couple of minutes of spare time. I am a home daycare provider, so I am home all the time. My house is not that big, but I know if I de-clutter everything including daycare related items that we may not use, my house would feel bigger to me.

    I really need to hear this encouragement today. THANKS! I found this blog through a friend and I am grateful for that friend. I need encouragement every now and then.

  6. says

    I need this today. I’ve been convicted lately that by allowing clutter in our home, I’m failing to love my husband. He is wired in a way that clutter drains him. Really, I think we all do better with less visual chaos, but he really needs clear surfaces. I’ve got all the excuses in the world for why our home is cluttered at times (7 kids, homeschooling, multiple pets, etc.). But all these excuses are just excuses. Thanks, Glynnis!

  7. Anonymous says

    I think my biggest problem is just getting started. I need a daily job list (one that doesn’t terrorize me…lol) sent to me. I guess I consider myself an “average” housekeeper. After all, we live here. I do want it to look nice enough though that I don’t have to apologize when company comes. My worse task is dusting….and that’s because I would have to take everything off the shelves, desks, etc. to get it done. Plus when it’s nice outside I like to leave the house opened up….which invites more dust to come visit the already “established” dust….lol. HELP!

  8. says

    Hi Glynnis – thanks for this article today which was so much needed by me! You didn’t go into it in the piece but we know clutter also steals MONEY from us such as misplacing coupons that expire before we find them again and even misplacing some other objects you might be hiding from yourself and have to replace and buy new things only to find the old ones after you have purchased new…what do you think?

  9. Maureen says

    I am really amused right now as I read your post… today I found my island kitchen counter. And you know what? It’s white! I was recently admiring a photo of my kitchen when it we were trying to sell our home a few years ago and thought, “I really like my kitchen.” So for whatever reason, I set out to work on my kitchen today. It is far from done, but I will keep working on it! I do get overwhelmed most days and just give up, but am trying to change the way I think about “keeping my home.” I want to pass good habits down to my kiddos not the messies ; ) Thank you, Glynnis

  10. Joy B says

    I loved this piece! I HATE clutter with a passion, but have 3 children ages 4 and under. So a little clutter is a way of life in our home, no way around it. We stay on top of it the best we can, but I have had to learn, sometimes through clinched teeth (!) to let the house go and raise my kids! Like you commented earlier, there is a healthy balance. I’m trying to teach my boys to make their beds and keep their toys picked up. They can unload the dryer and rinse the dishes, to a degree. :) They are so happy when we all work together and it keeps the house cleaner. It is a lifelong process, I’m sure. But when they grow up, the house will be cleaner, and I will miss my clutterers. :)

  11. Nicole B says

    I followed the de-cluttering journey and have made a few small steps here and there. I am basically a person who doesn’t like clutter & doesn’t want it, but struggles with time to get things de-cluttered and a busy family that is slowly getting better at helping :-). One of my big “nightmare” areas was my closet. I am blessed with a nice walk in one, but it became the dumping ground for everything I needed to “deal with later.” I could hardly walk in without stumbling over something. My wonderful husband gave me a certificate for a day to clean my closet with no interruptions. I cashed in this week. He took the kids out for a day of fun and I spent 7 hours (yes, 7). It is beautiful. I got rid of bags of clothes, old purses and shoes I never used, etc. I have one small box of things I still need to process (some sentimental things I just couldn’t deal with that day) that is now in the basement. I LOVE my closet now. There are still a few other areas I need to conquer, but my closet victory has given me energy to de-clutter another day!! I give myself and my family plenty of grace when things are more cluttered then we like because life happens and each moment God gives us is a blessing. Thanks for being an encouragement in this de-cluttering journey.

  12. says

    Is that what my problem is? I ca’t stand clutter and am so annoyed and neurotic about it. I also don’t like too much noise, but I wasn’t always like this. Yet for all my nitpicking about clutter, I can be very difficult to live with as a clutter hater b/c I am so bothered by it. Praying for balance as I share our home with a 7 and 8 year old and a husband. I try to live by “life happens” but am such a nitpicker -I Pray for myself often. Thanks for your help I’ved decluttered my life significantly but am learning that it is an ongoing process.

  13. says

    Glynnis, you are so right…tomorrow is always the easiest. Then, when things HAVE to get done because of other obligations, it all piles up on me. Today hasn’t turned out too bad, yet, but then, the day is far from over yet. Laundry, baking, cooking, the car HAS to be serviced, and i promised to help someone for an hour or so. i could tell this morning i was going to be spreading myself way to thin, but because of things happening the rest of the week, i couldn’t put it off any further. So i keep praying, Slow me down, Lord, Ease the pounding of my heart, and He even gave me time to sit and read your blog. Thanks!

  14. says

    I can so relate. I am dealing with my own clutter problems right now. I need to declutter so bad, but can’t seem to find the energy and motivation to do so. Love your post, and hope to be able to start the clutter challenge you did awhile back on my own time table soon.

  15. Jeanne Tondryk says

    Thank you for the email and it really caught my attention because I started the declutter process you had put in your blog only to stop along the way. I’m SO overwhelmed with my life and it seems to get more and more difficult to work and earn a living via my commission job. I’m exhausted and would love to have an easy read and something to help ignite the love I feel has gone away. I use to love to have people over to visit and put their feet up and to serve. I’m not able to do that right now as it’s all too overwhelming. Thank you.

  16. Judith Diaz says

    It has been such a blessing reading your posts. Although I do not yet have children of my own I can identify with the busy schedule since I live adjacent to several nieces and nephews. As expected, I have to take my quiet time when necessary. :) I have recently moved into my new home and so is still setting up house (finishing works in progress). It has grown to be tiresome at times but I am determined to finish. I would love to start having friends over so this in itself makes it worthwhile. Thanks for all the encouragement along the way.

  17. margot kellough says

    Thank you for the encouragement – priorities in order is essential to home in order…open heart opens the door to hospitality – Thanks again

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