Tending the Temple

Clutter Busting

Clutter is my enemy, and it wins by making me feel defeated. Even when I’ve spent time cleaning or picking up, there’s always more clutter somewhere, junking up some corner of the house.

I’m tackling this problem in two ways. The first is mental. I’m accepting it. Not the clutter, but the reason for the clutter. I have three kids. I have two jobs. I have one dog. I have a full life taking care of my health and emotional well-being. I can’t do it all, and I’m not going to beat myself up for the choices I make, even if it means the clutter piles multiply.

I take a deep breath. The clutter is not a life or death problem, I remind myself.

But I also take action. Generally my clutter-busting actions look like a furious attack, in which I spend long hours throwing, sorting, and putting away. (Or, throwing things in bags for future sorting.) It’s kind of like last minute cramming for a test. It may help in the short term, but wouldn’t it have been less stressful to do a little studying all along?

Hence a new clutter busting strategy. 15 minutes of pickup before bed.

I’m having my kids do it, too. On Sunday night I set the clock and told them they had 15 minutes to put as much away as they could. They did not like it, but I loved the results when it was through. My family room was nearly company-ready.

There was still plenty of other clutter left. But I can’t help but think that a little daily maintenance over a period of time will go a long way to busting the clutter, and giving my kids a healthy new habit. I’ll report back in a month and tell you how it has worked.

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