Saturday, May 9, 2015

Exodus of the Clutter Monster

I am unaware as to when this stuff entered my life.  It seems as though it is breeding in the dark corners of the children's rooms.  Maybe there is something to the idea of Monsters in the closets.  Their offspring are all the things that accumulate and pile.  Those things that don't have a specific place to live in my house but wonder around aimlessly, stopping to rest on top of my keys.

There are many people who live in my house.  Each person is accompanied by Stuff they cannot live without...and stuff they can.  All of this Stuff gives many places for the Clutter Monsters to hide and breed.  (Maybe they procreate by mitosis.  I like that thought better.)  For them to hide and multiplying by germs. 

Oh, I have cleaned those piles!  How many times I have cleaned those piles, only to have them respawn (thank you Minecraft) somewhere else?  I believe I have found the secret to Taming the Clutter Monster Mitosis forever!

My lovely friend was over the other day for coffee.  (We seem to do that a bunch.)  During our musings on Life and Family and Stuff, we stumbled upon the idea that it isn't just about de-cluttering, but everything must have a place to belong.  The point of the matter is, you cannot have more stuff than you have homes for the stuff to live.  To put an even finer point on this matter, it also must be highly functional.  Easy to access and easy to put away.  I would even say that it must also be nice to look at...Pretty even. 

Don't underestimate the power of Pretty!  I think it is a much overlooked aspect of Taming the Clutter Monster.  We don't want to mess with Pretty.  Pretty has a power over the Clutter Monsters that hasn't been studied, for lack of funding, but antidotal evidence points to a much lower mitosis frequency and sudden disappearances of the Clutter Monsters from the homes of those instituting the Pretty Protocol.

BTW, Pretty doesn't ask for much in return for kicking the Clutter Monsters out and keeping them out.  Only that you don't feed it TOO much, which sometimes causes the Pretty to mutate and become a Clutter Monster.  Also, Pretty works best if it can be seen, so keep Stuff away (and preferably in your vehicle...on the way to be donated.)

My friend and I, after much visiting and coffee as I mentioned, decided on a few points to keeping a home tidy and a haven for yourself and your family.  I expanded on them a little and came up with steps to de-clutter a room and invite Pretty to stay.

* one room at a time
* think about and decide what that rooms purpose is.  What function does it have?  What do you want to use the room for.
* have a clear and clean area to work in (I'll get to that in a minute.)
* de-clutter.  As FlyLady says, You can't organize clutter.
* divide your room into 9 areas.  Work in one area at a time.  Start furthest from the door and work your way to the door. 
* take everything out of the room!  Everything.
* place your Stuff in the clean and clear area in boxes (or piles or both) labelled Put Away, Keep, Give Away (or Sell) and Throw Away.  Put Away is for the Stuff that is in this room, you want to keep it but it won't be Living in that room.  House plant soil does not belong in your bedroom.  You want to keep it, so it goes in the keep box.  DON'T PUT IT AWAY NOW!  You'll get distracted.  Which leads me to...
* don't get distracted.  The Clutter Monster is a clever Beast and will keep you from giving away things that you haven't even thought about in 3 years.  Just put it in the Give Away box and walk away.
*NOW...Grab that box, bag, pile of Stuff marked Give Away and get it in your vehicle.  Next time you are out make a very quick stop and donate it all. it right now if you want to.

Once the room is cleaned out of all the Stuff...walk around in there.  Feel that freedom!  Think about how you want the room to flow.  How you want to feel when you are in there.

Now...Part II

* bring on the vacuum...or broom...and mop.  Wash the built ins, the walls, the shelves, the floor, the doors.  Make that room shine!  Pretty wants to live there!  Have you tried Thieves Household Cleaner?
* arrange the furnishings to facilitate the function and flow that you desire the room to have.  Less is better!!  Look at the walls.  Aren't they Pretty?  Pretty is already starting to make an appearance.  Don't cover Pretty up with Stuff.
* now would be a great time to diffuse a lovely essential oil.  An oil that makes you happy!  Joy or Purification would be lovely.
* start bringing your lovely and useful for the function and flow of the room back in.  Put the item in its New Home.  Does Pretty like where you've put that item?  Yes?  Wonderful.  No?  Better find another place for it.  Maybe even in that box in your vehicle. 
* you might need to become brutal with yourself.  It a hard fact.  You still have stuff in your Keep and your Put Away boxes that you don't need or even want.  You just think you do.  It might be time to even give away those lovely (still) fake plants that are perfectly fine.  Or the material you were going to sew into throw pillow covers for the couch, three years ago.  These things are not "you" anymore.  WE CHANGE.  It's OKAY.  Give it Away.  It's freedom!
* keep working.  Keep going.  Don't stop.  Your almost done!  Everything in that room MUST have a home.  One that is easy access and easy to put away...for everyone who might want to use that item.
* is Pretty there?  Decorate.  Now take half of your decorations out.  That's about right.  Make fine adjustments.  Bit more, a bit less.  You and Pretty decide but remember less is so very much better.

Almost done!

* take out the trash.  Love it!  Feels so good!  The Clutter Monster is hiding in those bags!  Freedom!* take the last of the Give Aways out to your vehicle.  The Clutter Monster is hiding in that Stuff!  He's not happy.  Tread carefully.  He's calling to you about that old bike helmet.  The candle stick holder your friend gave you 15 years ago but you never liked it.  Ignore the Clutter Monsters taunts!!  Remember this is your life and your home! 
* Put Away the Stuff in your Put Away pile box.  Think very hard about every item.  Do you really want to keep this item?  Does it have a home?  If no, take it out!!
* drive and donate.  Get rid of the Clutter Monster.  I recommend doing this the same day.  I know you are tired.  I know you don't want to.  Last thing.  Take it away and be free!
* well...this is the last thing.  Spend time in the room you just finished.  Feel the Pretty.  Feel the peace!

Well Done!

Now is the fun part!  Everyday, when the Clutter Monster starts eyeing up that room, look at that Stuff that is beginning to hide Pretty and make a decision...right then...put away, give away or throw away.  Don't become wishy washy with this part.  The Clutter Monster wants to come back.  He must not be given the a place to nest!  Deal with clutter daily and soon the Clutter Monster will learn that your home is not his home any more.

Now...repeat in another room.  But first, please, take some time to renew and refresh and enjoy the monumental task that you just accomplished!  Wow!  You are AWESOME!!  Fantastic work, my friend!!  Enjoy!  Soon, every room in your HOME will be Clutter Monster free!  Can you imagine?  I can't wait to move on to my next room.  It will be my very small and over stuffed and very dark basement store room.  You would think that I would do a more visible room next but I need a place to put my potting soil.  Our school room was first and is now filled with Pretty!  Okay, not quite done.  Still I have too much stuff in here but it is much nicer.  I had to kick three kids out of here so I could take the pictures.  Everyone wants to work in here!

One more thing.  All of this is made so much easier with a Great Friend to come along beside you for encouragement and to keep you motivated and on task.  It very hard and VERY emotional work but  worth each moment.  You might cry.  You might yell.  You will blame others.  (Like the Clutter Monster.)  A good friend is invaluable to the process.

This is all about Freedom.  Freedom to become, to evolve, to be who we are.  Don't let Stuff hold you to who you were.  Don't give Stuff power over you.  It is a yoke we do not need to bare.  We all have become slaves to our things. Too much time...and life...wasted on Stuff that does not matter.  Cleaning it.  Moving it around.  Thinking about where to put it next.  Pointless pointlessness.

We could be dancing!  Or drawing, painting, singing, playing with our children, gardening, worshipping Jesus, making love, having a picnic, swimming, counting the stars, calling our parents, playing Minecraft. 

We could have Freedom!

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
                                                                                              Galatians 5:1


  1. I have so many monsters its not even funny. I know I need to just take care of the messes I have now, but a part of me cannot until I get everything out of storage. Are you a part of Fly Lady?

    1. It's easier if you don't have everything to deal with. Take one room and just do it...with a friend...of course. I use to be part of FlyLady and I love her ideas to keep clutter at bay, but I'm an all or nothing kind of gal. She does little by little, which works but my brain needs more! lol

      Maybe I could help you next time I'm around. I could hold that baby of yours while you wrestle those Clutter Monsters into bags and boxes.

    2. Ooh, I do like that idea. Of you being around - even if we just sit and have tea!