Have you ever thought about clutter? Okay, obviously, we all have; we either abhore it and keep it far away from us, or (this is my way), we lament at its ever-present, seemingly eternal state.
But this is what I'm learning about clutter: it sucks the very life-force right out of you.
That probably doesn't come as a big surprise to you, but it did to me. I made excuses for it, like, "I know where everything is," or "I just don't look at it, so it doesn't really bother me."
The truth is, it does bother me. I'd like to be able to sweep through my house in an hour and have the whole place tidied, without having to spend a couple weeks organizing and putting things away first. I'd like to sit down in my living room after the kids are all in bed and prop my feet up on a clean coffee table and take a deep breath and just relax -- without feeling guilty that I'm not picking up junk or filing piles of paper.
I'd like to walk into the house and feel happy to be home instead of tense and vaguely unsettled.
I'm not quite there yet, but I AM getting closer. I finally have my three main living spaces -- kitchen, living room, and attached toy room/computer spot -- down to a fairly manageable level. (Granted, as I type this, I am looking at the clutter still on my desk and thinking I really should tackle that next.) And you know what? It really does impact every area of my life.
Walking downstairs in the morning to a tidy kitchen makes we want to DO things that day instead of running and hiding somewhere safe. It makes the simple act of making coffee enjoyable instead of extremely stressful (which it was when I had to wash all the dishes just to get to the coffeepot).
What does clutter have to do with being an Eco-Newbie? you ask. Well, I think it has a lot to do with it. In my mind, eco-newbie-ness is more about self-improvement than anything else. We try so hard to remove the toxins from our foods and homes, but if we don't remove the stress toxins, what's the point? We want to learn about making our lives better for our kids, but if we let them play in tiny spaces taken up by mountains of __insert clutter vice here__, again, what's the point?
Now, having said that, I still have a long way to go! I let my kids watch too much tv, I still have two thirds of my house in total disarray, and I struggle to find clean, matching pajamas for them at bedtime. But hey, I'm an Eco-Newbie, too, after all. Cut me some slack.
In honour of making our homes better in all aspects, I've posted a link to FlyLady.com, which is an awesome website for clutterbugs like me. Hopefully you'll be better at doing what she says, though! Small tip: don't just read her advice; do it. I've also posted a new recommended read, "It's All Too Much" by Peter Walsh, because that book got me to think about clutter in a way I'd never experienced before. Suddenly, it didn't seem so necessary to keep that hideous table cloth for sentimental reasons. His advice made it much easier for me to begin the de-cluttering process because he got me to see it through new eyes.
What de-cluttering advice or books do you have to offer? Don't keep them to yourself!! Share! Share!