Thursday, November 1, 2018

Clearing Out

There has to be a middle ground.

I'm in a housekeeping group on Facebook, and whenever someone posts about feeling overwhelmed with cleaning, the immediate response is pictures of living rooms and kitchens that look like spec houses, or pictures of apartments to be rented or something else that gives absolutely no indication of family, or even one human living there. Clean, yes. Pristine, but totally sterile. The proud taker of those pictures announces that they used to feel overwhelmed by cleaning, but then they did a complete purge and now this is how they live!

And yes, it's clean, and yes, it's beautiful, but it absolutely doesn't feel like a place where I could LIVE. And usually the OP (original poster, the person who asked the question if you aren't down with Facebook group lingo) ends up feeling pretty shamed or defiant. A lot of people - including me - don't necessarily WANT to live in what feels like a hotel room. But we also don't want to live in mess and clutter.

So there has to be a middle ground somewhere. A place where you aren't drowning in a sea of stuff, but where you also feel like you belong.

I feel like I've found that mix in the new car. It's funny, I organized a whole bag that I think I intended to keep in the trunk. It was neat and organized and had all been in the old car (in a much messier way). When I cleaned out the old car, I was frankly shocked at how much it had held in all the nooks and crannies. I thought it was all necessary, but since I didn't even realize half of it was there, I think I can admit now that it was clutter.

So I had a sterile car for a bit. Nothing stashed in the glove box, in the backseat, in the trunk, in the consoles. And yes, it was easy to keep immaculate. When you don't need to move things around, it's easy to clean and vacuum. But now, ten weeks in, I'm figuring out how to find that balance. I'm ok with the car looking as though two kids ride in it....but I'm not interested in having it look like two kids trash it. I'm ok with being a prepared mom, I'm not ok with having so many bags that I don't even know WHAT I have anymore. And it's worked. I still have spoons and napkins and tissues and Jolly Ranchers and Advil, but they are able to be neatly tucked away, easy to get to because I don't have to dig but hidden from sight.

So I'm coming around to the idea of doing more of a purge. Not to become a sterile home, but to realize the things tucked away that I don't even realize are cluttering up our life. Will this be easy? Um, no. Not at all. But it's a plan that I can try for.
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