When my family wrapped up our recent vacation, we came home to a heap of stress.
We were all tired and sleep-deprived, my husband started a new job the morning we got back, and we had approximately 17 loads of laundry to catch up on.
I was anticipating a stressful homecoming, yet I was still shocked at how snippy I was.
I wanted to be happy to be home. We’d been on the road for 5 days, living out of suitcases in small, spare hotel rooms. I wanted to relax in my own space–but I found my own space surprisingly hard to relax in.
And that’s when it hit me. Those hotel rooms were small and sparsely furnished, but they were also impressively clean and–most importantly–clutter-free.
My own house–the one I was so happy to return to–was making me cranky.
I know from experience that clutter is one of my “trigger points:” one of those things that throws me off balance and upsets me beyond reason. But I had thought that the clutter didn’t upset me until it got “out of hand.”
Apparently, my definition of what “out of hand” looked like needed adjusting. So I tried to make the necessary adjustments without staging a wholesale freak-out.
When I realized my own house was making me cranky, here’s what I did:
I pulled everything off the floor and put it in a big laundry hamper for temporary holding. That way, I can enjoy the calm and clutter-free living spaces now, even if I’m not done sorting through all the stuff yet.
The bookshelves were crammed full, and I pulled about a third of the books off and put them in storage. I feel like I have a little extra space to breathe when our stuff isn’t packed tight into our living spaces.
I’m keeping our living spaces clutter-free. We have kids, and it’s just so easy for papers to pile up on the floor, or toys to accumulate on the couch or the coffee table. I’ve been trying hard to recalibrate my internal clutter monitor.
I’m being vigilant about the little things: properly placing the pillow on the couch–and not on the floor (kids!)–makes a world of difference in the feel of the room. I’m prioritizing these little things that make a big difference.
I’m working on a paradigm shift about my family and Our Stuff. If having stuff lying around makes me cranky, then clearly keeping that stuff cleaned up–and limiting how much stuff there is to begin with–needs to be a major priority for me. This is a big change, but I see the importance of making it.
In the past, I’ve often felt like time spent de-cluttering or cleaning is wasted time. The past two weeks, I’ve realized that time spent cleaning is not wasted time for me. It’s time well spent.
Because I don’t want my own home to be a trigger point.
If you suspect your own clutter makes you cranky, I recommend the following posts:
I Finally Figured Out Why I Lose My Temper on Thursdays: Here’s where I first share how I discovered clutter is a trigger for me, and what I decide to do about it. Good insights and good advice here.
My #1 Dead Simple, Can’t Believe I Never Thought Of It Before Lesson From Pinterest: Think your home isn’t Pinterest material? Think again. Beautiful homes rely on one simple trick that is totally within your reach.
How to Shift Your Perspective to See Clutter (at Small Notebook): When we live in our homes everyday, it can be hard to “see” what they really look like. Rachel shares a brilliant trick that will help us see our homes for the first time–without leaving home.
Is clutter a trigger for you? PLEASE tell us how you deal with it!