I remember when my mother would say: “Everything has a place and everything in its place”. That would usually mean that I hadn’t done what I was supposed to do or that I needed to stop what I was doing, fun or no fun, and do what she expected of me. I thought that this was a drag and she was a nag! But I am finding more and more that those little edicts of hers came with a whole lot of common sense. It’s especially evident in raising a child, a growing boy no less. I remember the tranquil, easy way I took pleasure in sorting through the myriad of baby clothes he got from the baby shower. It still makes me smile to think about his little onesies in blue and yellow with matching cap and booties. Those moments are forever sweet as I marveled at every little outfit, placing them in baby scented drawers or on tiny buttercup yellow hangers. His room was ordered perfection with all the colors taken from the hand-painted, wave mural that my artist friend had so generously painted as a gift. I’m telling you Babies “R” Us had nothing on me!
That beautifully laid out nursery stayed that way for maybe one month after Baby came home from the hospital! It didn’t last past the frenzy of diaper changes, spit up rags and enough outfit changes to rival a Taylor Swift concert. The rest of the house didn’t do too well either, what with the car seat on the kitchen countertop, the bassinet stationed at the living room couch, the tower of folded clothes next to the laundry basket on the ironing board and the play mat on the dining room floor. Getting the picture? It’s been many years since those first frantic months and I’m going down this memory lane while staring at the inside of his closet. It’s a mess! It’s bursting with too- short pants, larger than life T-shirts, with caps, belts, swimwear goggles and flippers stuffed into drawers still crammed with yellow fleece baby blankets with smiling blue giraffes. The worst thing about looking at this closet is that it reminds me of my linen closet, the kitchen cupboards, garage shelves and on and on….Yup, I’m definitely sick with it; the diagnosis is Cluttermorofthis!
It seems like most of us have already caught that bug and we may as well call it the love bug. When we have it we don’t see anything wrong with it, we make excuses for why it’s important to us and we fight tooth and nail to hold onto it. We feel so good when we catch it that we want more of it. If one is good then two is better and three is the charm. Whoever came up with BOGO should find a cure for this addiction to things that litter our homes like confetti at a New Year’s Eve party. I actually think that Cluttermorofthis is really a thing because it’s now made it into scientific journals, TV shows and books and a whole lot of stores (which will remain nameless) built on containing things.
One recent survey conducted by porch.com found that the primary reason for us holding onto things is based in our insecurity that it’ll be of some use to us in the future.* This makes sense to me why moms especially hang onto things like cribs and strollers. But it didn’t make sense to me why so many years later I kept my baby’s onesies. Remember when I said earlier about looking at all the different items from babyhood to now that I saw inside my son’s closet? Well, it turns out that, according to the survey we keep things that have some kind of value to us, whether financial or sentimental. That would be fine but we know that it doesn’t stop there especially as our family grows and there’s more and more ( here’s that word again) that we feel we need. I just read somewhere else that our stress ( and I mean, women’s) doubles by the amount of clutter/disorder/untidiness we have in our home spaces whether or not we see it.** We wake up stressed and continue throughout the day still stressed. Of course, some of that stress comes from the fact that we’re generally the ones cleaning it up.
So what’s a Mommy to do? How about taking the opportunity of Spring to springboard into organizing your home’s space one room at a time. After all, you can only eat an elephant one leg at a time, if you know what I mean. Create a weekly BOGO event for your family but this time it’s to Bring On Getting Order into your daily lives. My mother’s words come to mind again as a very good place to start with young kids so they see the benefit of teamwork in putting things in their places. Some of us buy through retail therapy.com because of indecision, boredom or dissatisfaction with our lives than like a friend of mine, feel ashamed to return the item. Well, sharing is caring so why not create a Dine & Divide event for mommies you know and barter items or exchange clothes/toys, etc while you’re swapping yummy tidbits of your favorite recipes. Maybe a little balance is in order….recognizing that our kids will remember our hugs, kisses and encouraging words long after the Nintendo Switch morphs into the 10th edition. If we’re more present to them and to ourselves then the sense of balance in our lives increases and the stress of managing modern day life decreases. Maybe if we revisit our attachment to More, we’ll remember how much we did in the past with so much less…think 1st car, 1st apartment even 1st boyfriend (wink, wink). Yes, our tastes and desires change as well as our bank accounts and ability to acquire but do we have to give up good sense for “good” things? Do we have to keep every good thing and just add more? The question comes up, is more going to be better or is Cluttermoreofthis just more than it’s worth in the long run?
Sallye Forth is a mom working outside of the home, a co-parent, life coach and writer. Her mantra is “Your thoughts create your world” and positive thoughts bring positive results!
Contributory sources are from:
** 2010 Study in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology