Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Why I Must Get Rid of the Clutter

Do you ever find yourself on a mission to clean a room that is so messy that you don’t even know where to start?

I do. It’s called our apartment – today.

I am realizing as I lie in bed with clothes strewn on the end of it from rushing to get ready for an event last night that I have believed a lie over the past 2 ½ years. I have really, truly, honestly believed that I am a ‘tidy’ person. A person who enjoyed order, picked up after herself, had a place for everything.

And yet, this has unraveled completely over the past five days. I have realized that I am not that person at all. Brandon is that person. And he loves me so much that he has let me believe that I am neat and tidy when really he is doing a lot of the work! You see, Brandon has been away for various reasons over the past week, and the messiness has increased significantly.

Okay, I am going to give myself a bit of a break – I do clean. I am not a complete slob. And whenever Brandon says, “Hey, I have a great idea...” which is always followed by a suggestion to tidy up the apartment quickly, I usually comply.

But in general, I am okay with a bit of mess. A few clothes strewn about can be overlooked. A curling iron left by the sink can be rationalized (I mean, I’ll be using it tomorrow, right?). A few dishes waiting to be done can easily be ignored.

These things can be pushed aside until, that is, someone comes in. It is at that point that I desperately want time to turn back so I can take those few minutes I spent scrolling through Facebook and instead make the bed. It is when my mess shows itself to other people that I feel lazy, complacent, and flustered.

I think this premise, this idea, and this realization is applicable to other areas of my life as well. I am realizing that although in many ways I have my ducks lined up in a row in life, or maybe would like to think I do, the ducks are kind of floating around everywhere.

When there are too many things on your plate, when you are trying to juggle too much, it seems that nothing gets done really well. And the problem that I am facing now is that I am consistently trying to overlook, rationalize, and ignore the mess in my life.

And when life gets messy, cluttered, and sloppy it can become difficult to even know where to start. We can look around at the work piling up, the schedules needing to be made, the literal dishes that need to be done and feel completely overwhelmed. How do I get rid of this clutter?  

This is the point where I typically distract myself. I jump on the computer, I turn on an episode of Friends, or I read. Now, I am not saying that any of these things are bad in themselves, but when they serve as a means to distract me from my cluttered reality, something is off balance.

Too often we ignore the mess and instead of being able to sort through it affectively, it just piles higher and higher.

Brandon always says, “I can’t work in a messy environment” and I am taking that mantra into my life... I can no longer work in a messy life. It is leading to complacency. It is leading to disengagement.

And so, today I clean. But not just today, tomorrow too. I am realizing that setting goals and effectively accomplishing them calls for action not just today but the day after. And the day after that. And the day after that... okay, you get the point.

So how do you tackle the mess? Well, I am obviously no expert, but here are a few things I am going to be doing:

1// Choose one thing that you want to accomplish in any given chunk of time.

This morning it may be meeting with a friend. This afternoon it may be starting that paper. Plan out the day, put together a schedule, get a calendar!

2// Go deeper.

I think much of the clutter and distraction in our lives are to create layers of protection around the deeper issues. It is about seeking God, journaling, reflecting. It is digging deep to find out the why behind the mess... this is a process I am certainly continuing, and likely one you will hear more about in the future.

3// Let others in.

I know it is hard to let others into a messy room, let alone a messy life. It can be embarrassing, it can feel like you need to make excuses. But it is worth it. A mess can be tackled more affectively with others there to help.

It is time that we rebel against the high-strung, take on everything in sight, go-go-go mentality of our culture. It is about recognizing the dangers of the clutter that is so cherished by society and turning off the distractions. It is time to start sorting through, and I guarantee that you will learn so much more about yourself in the process.

Open the doors, empty the sink, make the bed. Let the cleaning process begin.

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