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Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Cure For Clutter?

I must admit that for my entire life I have been the poster child for living the cluttered life. Being uncluttered I was certain would require too much time and effort to really be of any benefit to me. I was busy. I had places to go and things to do, I couldn't be bothered with getting organized. That was pretty much me from infancy until I got married. Just ask my mother. She tried to make a game out of picking up toys and I would laugh and love watching her pick up my toys and then, when she left the room, I'd dump the toy box out. I was two at the time and shouldn't have been able to pull over something so big, but I did.
After I got married, I was still cluttered (sorry, no fairy godmother to cure being cluttered), but now I was organizationally envious. I saw organized spaces and they inspired me (to want a maid). I assumed the task was still too daunting, so I did what all good cluttered people do..I lived with it. I waited until something absolutely had to be done and then I did it. I tackled mountains on a regular basis. Mountains are tiring, so I'd finish with one mountain and be too tired to tackle the was a vicious cycle. My family was being sucked into this cycle, too. My son rarely picked up anything, my husband left clothes lying around (is this a clause in the marriage license that men must do this?). None of us really liked it, but that's life right??
Well, not so fast! My homeschool group posted a seminar about getting organized. It came through in my email and I glanced at it and thought it looked interesting, but it was on a Thursday night in the "big city" and I had to drive there the day before, so I decided I probably shouldn't go.
Have you ever had something that won't go away? You've already made the decision, but it keeps popping back in your mind? That's what this class was doing to me. I had decided not to go, but I guess God must have other ideas because it kept coming to my mind. Finally, I gave in. I decided to talk to Colin about and see what he said. He said it was fine, so I rsvp'd.
The day of the class came and I was tempted not to go. I am so glad I didn't give in to temptation! I learned so much! Did you know that habits are catching?? Good and bad habits alike are catching. I know where I "caught" some of my bad habits and here I was passing on bad habits to a new generation!
It's been a week since I went to the meeting with the Clutter class. Here's what has changed so far: dishes no longer pile up, they are cleaned immediately after being used and each person takes personal responsibility for their own dish (I wish this had been incorporated in my family growing up, I hated the chore of doing the dishes! This way no one person is stuck doing the dishes), our laundry mountain is getting smaller and no longer do things sit in the washer or dryer waiting to be taken care of, they are dealt with immediately, my bed is made every morning (dad, please pick mom up off the floor because I know she just fainted!).
We have decided as a family to slowly get uncluttered, that way we aren't overwhelmed (and stop before we are uncluttered) and we can do a thorough job.
Just tonight Ian came out of his bedroom with little tears in his eyes telling us he wanted his room clean, he didn't like the way it felt compared to the rest of the house.
So hopefully, we will keep this up. The lady who gave the class said if you keep it up for about 21 days it should become a habit. I know keeping the dishes clean immediately after dirtying them has started to become a habit...Colin doesn't leave dirty dishes in his office anymore!

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