Clutter Bug


Apparently there is an unwritten rule about January: we are all supposed to be committed to becoming healthy or fit AND we are all supposed to declutter. Well, January – have a I got a newsflash! Our little home and this mama in particular will likely never declutter the way we “should” … so, I’m just going to throw the “should” right out the window. And we’ll focus on what is likely to happen.

I definitely understand the catharsis of decluttering. There is such a feeling of freedom and wide-open space in a room that is neat, tidy and without clutter. But that’s not our real life. That’s not even our imagined-ideal real life. I am fine with a little bit of clutter. It is a true reflection of my life lived at a normal pace within the family and home that we inhabit. We have a 7-year-old who loves legos, and board and card games, and sticks and swords, books and his puppets. I’m a mama who is addicted to books, who’s become obsessed with crocheting (yes, dear, I am becoming a grandma before my time and I am totally good with that!), who has craft supplies for 100’s of projects that I have dreamed up and not yet started (or completed for that matter), who has jewelry for every mood and pj pants for every day of the month. Oh! And dishes! And purses! And shoes! And kitchen kitsch! Truth of the matter is that Panda is the only member of our household who could likely say that clutter isn’t an integral part of her existence.

So, yes, the clutter bug will likely never be eliminated from our cozy home. But it can be corralled. And it should be corralled – okay, I’m letting “should” come back in the door. Our home is not that big. In fact, when you see me call our home “cozy,” it is not only because that is the feeling I like our home to have, it is also a euphemism for “small” that doesn’t make me crinkle up my nose. We live in an area of Honolulu that was populated with old-style plantation homes; they were usually two or three bedrooms, a bathroom, a cozy (you see how using the word, “cozy” works for us?) living room and kitchen. The ideas of “great rooms” and space for every family member to have 750 square feet to themselves and move through the day without seeing anyone if they so desire doesn’t fly in our little Kaimuki plantation house. This also means that when the clutter bug scuttles through the house and items from one or more family members make a new home on the couch, at the foot of the bed, on the nightstand or overrun a bookshelf, that is one more square inch or foot of space that is not available for use by someone who lives there.

I’ve tried baskets and shelves. We’ve tried organization units (by the way, the ones they sell for the kitchen to organize the tupperware lids are a crock of sh*t! they do NOT work! well, panda would probably say that it’s user error … but i’m totally blaming it on a design flaw!). We’ve tried weekly clean ups, different mail sorting tricks and systems. Thank god my family is good with a process of evolution and lowered expectations of perfection! But that doesn’t mean that the effort is eliminated. Nope, these are one of those quirks in my personality. I know that this is not something that particularly ranks high in importance to me. But the bug gets under my skin and I go through waves of trying to improve my lackluster performance in keeping our home clutter-controlled. And so it continues. Slowly, over the next month or so (because by then end of the month this effort will likely run out of steam because I will become bored or frustrated with it, or I will find something that I will need {want} to put my effort into and therein lies another charming quirk of me being me), I’ll make progress in decluttering small areas of our cozy home. The shelf that collects mail and paperwork, the hall closet that has become the catch-all for plastic and grocery bags but is virtually useless for anything else, the kitchen corner that currently is the cache of daily Rx bottles and barely-used bar paraphernalia – these items will be subject to my declutter wrath and then they will slowly repopulate with whatever this little family feels the need to leave in these spaces as time moves on.

Oh well, clutter bug. I suppose it is best that we learn to live in harmony. And Panda, I know how lucky I am that I married a woman who loves me and all my quirks!

ps, angel … happy one-year anniversary … i love this adventure that we’re on!



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