Thursday, April 15, 2010

nesting, post-baby

Some days I'm fine. Some days I'm (as Christian so eloquently stated) annoying.

I can't handle our apartment. Even when it's clean, there is clutter. I'm not talking about my obvious problem with large items of furniture (huge piano, huge mirror, huge trunk in the living room). I'm talking about the small things.

That pile of stuff under the kitchen table. What is down there, anyway? I'm embarrassed to say that I don't know.

That catch-all corner of the kitchen counter. (How's that for alliteration?) I spy coins, nail clippers, fish food, receipts, headache medicine, buttons, corn nuts (?). Oh yeah. And the fish himself.

That pile of papers in the hallway. I'm pretty sure it's Christian's old school work. Won't fit on the bookshelf because that's where we put all the books we never look at.

And let's not even mention the pile of bottle-rockets-mixed-with-who-knows-what under the bikes in our room, or the remote-control car that puts me on the edge of spewing not-so-nice words every time I try to get my bike out of our room.

Make it go away! Make it all go away! I'm not even exaggerating. It is driving me crazy. And when I'm not happy, everyone in our house (except Graham) suffers. Just ask Christian. I think he's afraid of me when I start frantically cleaning at 10 o'clock at night. No. Correction. I know he's afraid of me. He very nicely asks me to go to bed before I, um, blow up. I'm pretty lucky I have him.

So let's get to the bottom of this. Am I just having issues because I'm away from home all day and miss my baby? I'm certainly not pregnant, so this can't be nesting. Or maybe I feel like I'm never home so I expect my home to be a perfect safe haven when I get home late at night. Instead I see the clutter and it makes me crazy. Those of you who took psychology classes in college, please over-analyze my situation and tell me why I'm practically jumping out of my skin over clutter.

Help! Does anyone have a 12-step plan to de-clutter your house? Seriously. I need help.

19 comments:

mj said...

If you don't know what's in the pile, you obviously don't need it. Take a picture and throw it away. I'm getting much better. Our house is SLOWLY getting decluttered {just in time to buy more stuff, right?}.

Kerri said...

ok, mj. that's a good start. ARGH, Molly, I HEAR you better than I'd like! I go through this all the time! Cheri and I refer to those clutter piles as clutter furniture...that have been there long enough that they just seem a part of the counter. I got in one habit of going through a pile a day. That felt good. And, another thing that is really cheating is I changed lots of little piles on the kitchen counter to 1 big pile. that felt good, cuz now I hade regained at least 3 counters that were totally clear!

Molly said...

I know! I am the QUEEN of saying that if something has been in a box (or a pile) for that long, you obviously don't need it. (The reason I will never buy storage space.) Yet it's still there!!

Amy Carter said...

An organized space is a much more peaceful and comfortable space. I'm sure the clutter is contributing to your anxiety. The clutter needs to go! and you need a system for organizing.

Let's schedule a date and I can be your de-clutter consultant. Christian can watch Graham, and you and I will clean that space up in no time! You have to promise though that in two weeks the clutter won't come back.

Chris said...

I agree. Clutter causes anxiety. Why is it so difficult (for some of us - me included) to throw stuff away? This months Sunset magazine has a good article. A few of their suggestions:1. Keep open storage easy on the eye 2. Don't let paper pile up 3. Beware of overstocking 4.If it doesn't fit you don't need it 5. Make your bed-the room will instantly look less cluttered (I'm in total agreement with that one). Good luck. You would hope that by the time you're my age this issue would be resolved. No so.

Chris said...

What a nice sister, Amy. Your post slipped in while I was typing mine. I'll watch all the kids while you organize, then you can come be my consultant too.

LJ, DC and ML said...

If you're like me the clutter is stressing you out because you don't have time to go looking for things you need. You need them now.
Outer cleanliness reflects inner calm. I'd be so smart if I made that up myself.

LJ, DC and ML said...

And ps. Don't let the kids downstairs bug you with their comments either. They're crazy kids, they say what they think, but they're not always right.

Julianne said...

Clutter drives me crazy too. The hard part is that everyone needs to have a spot where they can plunk some stuff, at least sometimes.

At our house we both have an in-box and a drawer where we can just throw random stuff. When it gets full, we have to go through and make room for whatever we need to put in there next.

Still working on this! I think living in an apartment makes it harder to ignore. Is that bad or good?

Kaylynn said...

I'm very inclined to keep stuff (what if I will want to see it again someday?) so I FORCE myself to live by this rule when it comes to decluttering...if I haven't used it in the last 6 months, it's out. End of discussion. Clothes, papers, you name it. Of course things like decorations or seasonal stuff gets 1 year. If I didn't use it last year, I'm not keeping it for this year. It's super against my natural instincts, but my house feels sooooooo much bigger and minimalistic.

Kim said...

Kids make it so much harder to keep space decluttered. They have so many clothes, toys, strollers, things like exersaucers, etc. And trust me, it only gets worse because you'll want to save a bunch of it for the next kid but you still have to keep acquiring stuff as the first kid grows--scooters, wagons, a DOUBLE stroller, booster seat, etc. I like looking at the Container Store's storage ideas and then trying to find cheaper versions elsewhere. Sometimes I'll take all my junk and put it in one giant pile in the middle of the bed and just go through it all at once.

jena wise said...

I just finished cleaning out my closet for the third time this week. I think it's partly Spring pressing in on us and making us clean/re-evaluate. I had to laugh - I think Aaron gets scared of me every time too - I just start cleaning and making piles and he's thinking that I just cleaned the same space a week ago (and I may have) but this time I'm going deeper.
We have a cool little tray that holds things in the kitchen like car keys, outgoing mail, coins, car registration cards that should be in the car, hand sanitizer, dust, ETC. and when it gets full it gets cleaned out. Same with a small drawer (pens/chap stick/receipts/paper for lists/coupons) - when it's full it gets cleaned out. But I'm also so crazy/type A that a pitcher left out on the counter can drive me nuts. My advice: one space at a time and chances are you will not need it again if you are even questioning it.

Mer said...

I am no help on this subject, but I did just read a quote the other day that made me want to get busy:

"Don't own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire." --Wendell Barry

Good luck...and if you find a good 12-step program, please forward it to me!

Ashley C. said...

Amy, be my consultant too!!!

The Bundys said...

I didn't think we had a lot of stuff but yet we managed to move into a bigger house from a small apartment and we still have clutter...I randomly just start throwing things away (and keep the bulk of the clutter in my office- the rest of the house is mostly clutter free) hehe...good luck!

Holley Williamson said...

About a month and a half ago, I was totally done with the clutter. I know I get my pack-rat tendency from my dad. I decided to just commit to 5 minutes a day of de-cluttering. I get overwhelmed by big piles, so the time limit just seemed very doable. It took me 2 weeks to get through all of the piles out in the open. (Some days, if I had time and was motivated I sorted a little longer than 5 minutes - it felt like such an accomplishment to get done with a pile.) I hadn't seen my dresser for like 6 months. It's still clean (or maybe clean again)! I still try and do 5 minutes a day to maintain. That is one thing I like about this plan. If I want to make a change in my life, I want to be able to maintain that change. Anyways, I was able to get my taxes done and other stuff because I had finally filed all my papers away that I needed for that. Tackling the piles that are put away is another story...

brooklyn said...

K-here's my new-agey angle: meditation first! When your energy is focused externally, your peace is dependent on your surroundings.

Go find a place to go focus internally, sit in lotus pose, close your eyes, breathe deeply through the nose, and do an internal focused "search" down through your mind, heart and gut (in lay terms) for darkness or negativity. It may or may not not manifest in anything concrete or specific. When you find it, deal with it (cry, logic, acceptance--however you deem best), while still breathing deeply, eyes closed. Then you can deal with your house (and follow all of this great advice!) with internal peace.

Dr. aafb said...

My advice is to go through the mail immediately and toss anything that needs to be tossed, file anything that needs to be filed, place bills where they need to go and so forth. It definately keeps piles from building up. On the rest, Good luck!

Lindsey said...

Tupperware! I'm happy to help if you want some. Sometimes just having another person there to question you or be company will do the trick. No judgements past.