Clut.ter | verb: to run in disorder; to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movements or reduce effectiveness.
Clut.ter | noun: a crowded or confused mass or collection; things that clutter a place.
Remember that one kid in school, the one who was always certain they had failed the test, only to find out they passed with flying colours? They were smart, capable; never missed class and took great notes. Despite everyone else’s confidence they would ace any test, they were genuinely surprised by their success – each and every time.
Now that same kid is a 40-something with two kids, dog and beta fish. Through life circumstance, family management falls squarely in their lap. Food shopping & meal prep, appointments & play-dates, extra-curriculars, boo-boo kissing, laundry folding, new-math-jedi master. Emotional labour anyone?
They subsist on cold coffee and chutzpah and are barely holding it together because their heart & home are in chaos.
This is the clutter conundrum.
Clutter is all around us. Clutter in our homes, in our relationships, in our minds. We have too much stuff. We have too much stuff to do. We are consistently critical of our capabilities, expecting to be experts in everything. It’s exhausting.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Remember the golden rule – “treat others the way you would want to be treated”? Start treating yourself how you would treat those who you love most. Be kind, be loving, be forgiving. We are all human. Not any one of us is good at everything. Some people are great cooks, others are super handy. If you’re uncertain where your skill-set lies, ask someone who’s opinion you value. Like your old school friend, you might be genuinely surprised.
In the meantime, commit to making your home a place that collects memories, not things. Do you really need 14 baking sheets? Would Grandma Gertrude really want you to hang onto her tasseled tea-towels just because they were hers? With purposeful intent, choose to discard that which dims your light. Bring those items to Goodwill. It will give the same joy you once had to someone else.
You are awesome. You’ve got this!
Courtesy of Shannon Belanger