|Photo Credit: Jimmy Ofisia|
We both like a clean house, but have very different attitudes about clutter. I pitch and toss and sometimes live with regret. I definitely have a superior attitude that I am not attached to things. But there is a lot more to clutter than things in an untidy state, especially things that are no longer useful. We broke a Marie Kondo rule and kept some stuff that did not bring 'joy' now -- but might in the future. A brief moment of indecision, one might say. This whole project led us to to unexpected discoveries about mental and emotional clutter.
Orderliness is important to me. But my frustration with Tom for things as simple as the way he loads the dishwasher, clothes left in the dryer, an un-wiped counter top, or not saving receipts is emotional clutter. My nagging behaviors do not bring either of us joy, nor is it who I want to be. Orderliness inside the dishwasher is not important to Tom. Clean is clean. I can nag, I can let it go, or I can rearrange dishes, close the door and move on. I can make choices around emotional clutter. I don't have to let my frustration and anger live rent-free in my brain and sabotage my relationship with Tom. These choices aren't always easy, but they become easier with practice.
My greatest mental clutter is procrastinated stuff. Like indecision about finances, undone paperwork, starting a diet, resuming exercise, or talking about my health. Procrastination is like bindweed choking the life out of me or like opening a stuffed closet. I don't know where to begin. Although I've never eaten an elephant, I've been told many times one bite at a time works best.
|Photo Credit: Eloise Ambursley|
For me to de-clutter I simply need to start. Either physically clean my share of the countertop in our bathroom, or the garage or the yard. Same is true with finances, health or talking to that person I've been avoiding. Start at the beginning. Commit to finishing. And if I get stuck, ask for help. What a novel idea!
Clutter is clutter. Whether it is cleaning a closet, completing a procrastinated project, or not thinking or saying offensive and hurtful comments. Clean living gives our relationship room for joy.