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An Afternoon of Clutter Epiphanies

Updated on February 15, 2008

It's amazing what can fuel the flame under your rear when time is of the essence. My house is a mess, nothing new of course. I seem to have trained my hubby and kids to pass by the kaos without comment. Come to think of it, I think I trained my daughter all too well as I watch her drop a candy wrapper on the floor and not even consider picking it up. Do I yell at her, no, I just sigh and walk away. Yes...I do pick the wrapper up first, tho.

So back to the flame. You have to bare with me I do go off on tangents which is why I never seem to get anything done. You know how it is, you run up the stairs to find the phone that's ringing and than you start cleaning the bathroom forgetting that you had been originally cleaning the kitchen even tho you were actually cleaning the living room but had to put the spoon, that you found behind the couch oozing green gunk in the sink. And on it goes...

Ok, the flame that fueled me was this; my husband's very close friend is coming to visit. Now he is a guy and guys don't really seem to fuss about a clean house as much, but his wife is a total freak about cleanliness. Is she coming, no, but for the last twelve years he's able to eat off the kitchen floor. So you see, he was trained in the opposite direction and I was not going to be the topic of conversation when he gets back home.

I won't go into detail about how I ran from room to room, closet to closet, shoving what I could, where I could. I spent uddles buying storage bins with fancy colors so things would appear organized. "I'll go through it when he leaves", I kept saying, pacifing the inner turmoil that kept sending signals of "that's a load of BS and you know it". But still it was going well until, the inevitable, there's always someone to ruin a great plan, and it's usually my son. He just had to have that ball that was strategically wedged in the hall closet between stack of bills and golf clubs. As we raced to the hospital the flashing red lights seem to resonate a message like train wheels on a track: "You must organize, you must organize." No two ways about it, the time was now, Organization with a capital "O".

After mega cups of coffee and the hugest bran muffin I have ever seen, for energy of course, everything came out of the closet and amazingly enough, 99.9% of it was mine. Go figure. I started in my bedroom (I mean our bedroom) and pushed everything I could find into the middle of the floor. I sat in the middle of the heap my head doing 360's. So much stuff I felt claustraphobic. I wanted to open a window but couldn't move, it was all holding me down. Holding me down...there was the thought, "Holding..Me...Down." I swear if you've ever had pop rocks expolde on you tongue that's exactly what was going on in my head. Tiny bursts of clarity I have never experienced before. I swiveled back and forth looking at books, shuffling papers, spreading pictures, deperate to find this "Something" that would make me feel better. But it wasn't there. The final burst, an orgasmic epiphany that shook me to the core: I am forty years old and I don't exist. Nothing in that pile had anything to do with who I was now. It was all connected to who I used to be which sadly enough, was more than twenty years ago. Pictures and books, magazine clippings and letters, it was all there. A memorial to a side of me I could barely relate to let alone fit in the same pants. I had hit upon the heart of my clutterness. It was a small thought that had appeared on and off for years, but today finally knocked me good enough to sit and take notice. I was holding on to a person who no long existed. We all do it, keep tiny momentos good times gone by. But mine was a death grip and not letting the present even a fraction of breathing space. I'm no Dr. Phil, but I had to find the reason behind my mess. Why was I not able to release me. Go toward the light, I wanted to say.

I can't say I completely removed my twenty year old ghost from the house. I did keep a few things. But they all fit in a very stylish bin I got from Ikea. Hey, if I kept my ghost for that long she must have been something special, she deserves a hip home, out of the way of course. I took all the extra bins back to the store, no hiding who I had become, which is a whole other journey I am still on.

If you look up the word "Clutter" in the dictionary you'll find "Cling" is not too far behind.


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