Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Who's Responsible for This Mess?

Over the last several years the stuff in my house has grown to epic proportions.  Things get bought, brought, borrowed, gifted... but nothing ever leaves.  My mom will tell you that this is how it was in my childhood as well.  At least in my room.  It was bad enough then that I remember coming home from school to 33 gallon trash bags full of my stuff sitting outside the bedroom.  I wasn't allowed to go through it or beg for its salvation.  If I wasn't responsible enough to clean it all up, I wasn't allowed to plead the case for keeping any of it.

When I got married almost 10 years ago, my parents finally got tired of babysitting my stuff and boxed up the contents of my room and said it had to move with me.  Sadly, most of those things are still in the boxes in which they arrived at my new/old house.  It isn't that I don't know how to sort things, throw things away, say goodbye to things.  I know how to do all that.  Decluttering is overwhelming, and my problem always lies in where to begin.  So I'm beginning here...

My name is Amanda, and I am a horrible housekeeper.  

I am not hanging my head in shame.  I am holding my head high, because I know that I can do better.  I'm not admitting defeat, no thing, no stuff, nothing is going to get me down.  I refuse to live another able-bodied day without getting my house straightened out.

I have blustered about the mess for too long without doing anything constructive about it.  
February, being the shortest (and often most hated) month of the year, is a good month to begin a new project.  You're still early in the year, but by February it doesn't quite feel so much like a resolution.  Let's be clear about something:  I have made that resolution many times, and it never stuck.  My house still looks like a wreck.  All.  The.  Time.  There, I said it.  I own it.  When my cousin asked for people to join a February clean-up challenge, I hesitated.  Granted it was only 28 days, but there is so much stuff in my house!  The paper alone might take me a full year to sort through.  In the end I joined, and I felt accomplished for the first time in a long time.  I felt happy about cleaning.  My kitchen looked amazing...until I started cleaning the rest of the house.  My cabinets and pantry are still fantastic, but the floor is a bit crowded.  (Now that I've seen I can manage with stuff in the center of the floor, maybe it's time to petition the hubs for a center island.)  I even started sorting through clothes, which for whatever reason I have a weird emotional attachment to.  I have two tall kitchen trash bags full of clothes I need to donate.  I started going through paper, and just the old bills, receipts, and medical statements took me an entire afternoon to shred and filled a 33 gallon trash bag.  It's sad, really.  Sad that I have let my house get into such a state of junkedupedness.  But after the first week and a half, I slacked off.  Things got busy, hectic, complicated, and I quit unstuffing my house.  And now it's a full month later, and I'm no better off.

I have blamed the husband for the state of our house - after all he hasn't volunteered to clean it up, and when he helps me he asks me what to do with every single thing he finds.  I know he doesn't do it to be difficult, instead he does it because he doesn't want to put anything where I don't want it or to throw away something I might need.  

I have blamed the kids - I mean, really, where does all the stuff come from when you have a kid?  You come home from the hospital with a carseat and a kid and suddenly your home is overrun with stuffed animals, blankets, toys, books, drawings, and life.  And I love every minute of it!  Unless of course I step on a Hotwheels car and bend the axle that my 4 year old will then ask me to repair, and when I repair it the wheel is inevitably going to come off and he will ask me to glue it back on.  No glue on this planet will hold a plastic tire on a metal axle, sorry kiddo.

That brings me to my current question:  who's responsible for this mess?

The short answer is, ME.  I have always blamed everyone but the person responsible.  

Who chooses to read a book (or write this post) instead of sweep the floor?  Who chooses to let the laundry go for one more day?  Who decides that a few dirty dishes don't justify filling a sink and wasting water?  Who can't seem to get a handle on all the stuff?  That would all be ME.  I keep waiting for my small world to change and one day to wake up to a spotless home that isn't piled up, or at the very least for my hard work to actually pay off with a house that remains clean after I've worked diligently for a week to get it in top shape again.  The fact is that unless I change my world, unless I stop being my own worst enemy, unless I care an awful lot about my house being an enjoyable, less stressful environment, nothing is going to's not.  I will be the one who has to concede the victory and let my stuff rule my life.

Last night I had taken all I could.  I simply could NOT look at this mess any longer.  I cleaned on my dining room for four hours, stopping at 1:45am only because I was hungry and my knee was aching.  I found enough pencils to last until my kids graduate college.  I threw things away.  I jammed out to my favorite music...quietly of course, since I was the only one awake.  I felt good about my progress for once, and it was a noticeable difference.  Tonight I am trying to catch up on laundry and dishes that have both been untended for several weeks due to some county-wide water issues.  

My daughter said something earlier that most 6 year olds wouldn't think about - I'm so excited, because tomorrow is a new day!  When did she get so wise!?  Tomorrow is a new day, and I'm so excited because I can decide to change.

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