How many struggle with this?

Answered

    Is anyone else at war with clutter?

    If so, have you seen the anxiety, depression-clutter-anxiety, depression cycle in your life?

    Have you noticed harmful effects on your marriage?

    Even before Covid, there has been a trend for minimalism, simple living, etc. and I’ve read many books and blogs and spent a lot of effort fighting an always incoming tide. I’ve collected a lot of wisdom along the way and “know” a lot of the answers, but an over-full house is my personal albatross.

    With everyone staying home, I hear a lot of how people are cleaning out and doing home improvement projects and getting so much done, and I look around and find myself still struggling with the same old uphill trudge to make any improvement and wonder how “everyone” (yes I know, it’s not REALLY everyone) else does it. I have this fear that after the lock down I’ll be the only one with a house that’s still messy!

    I have noticed that coming home every day to a house I still have not managed to improve is draining rather than re-charging to my husband and am doing my best (honest, I am!) to fix it. (That cycle I mentioned affects me badly, especially when I feel like progress is really slow. Sometimes the physical effects on my body are paralyzing and I just have to sleep for a day to get past them.)

    Am I the only one?

    If there’s anyone else, what helps you most with this struggle?

    (A push to get over the hump and make some big progress has been one reason I haven’t been around much lately.  Trying to be more purposeful about my day, “waste” less time on the computer, go to bed earlier, and keep my focus on making progress. But I sure have missed hanging out here!)

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    13 Answer(s)

      Glad you’re around again Duchess.

      No you’re not the only one. DW gets anxiety over clutter. It’s in her nature and she’s a little but OCD. (But I didn’t say that.) She is a great organizer and planner and likes to keep a tidy house for me to come home to. She’s awesome!!! On the other hand, my office at work and the top of my dresser & end table is a reflection of me and my creative side. Eventually it’ll drive me crazy and then I’ll organize and start over. Yes, we have clashed sometimes. She’s learned to relax a little (dishes in the sink is a big issue) especially with teens…and I’m learning to be better about how my stuff starts spreading. Opposites attract apparently…and I know I will live longer if I’ll keep my areas tidier. 😉

      This pandemic has pushed her to the edge on some things. She’s got a lot done and now that it’s nicer out, she’s moved to taking care of landscaping and flowers, clean up, etc which she loves to do and my allergies hate.

      Under the stars Answered on May 22, 2020.
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        I don’t know the name of the oriental lady that does or did the de-clutter show, but my wife has embraced her idea of if it doesn’t “spark joy” in you when you pick it up, then don’t keep it around.  She has mostly kept this to her own stuff, but she’s not above asking me about something  of mine. I come from a long line of depression era subsistence farmers. I just might use that 17″ piece of 2×4 that I’ve had on that pile since 1999…. 🙂  This has come to fruition when I use something out of the scrap pile to repair something of hers, so as long as I keep it somewhat organized, we’re good. I am not a chaotic person anyway, so I like some organization. Not to her level, as she approaches OCD with some things, but I’m fine with her efforts overall. I can  imagine that if I was a totally haphazard, chaotic personality, she would struggle. In fact she probably would not have married me. I always wonder how she got past my clothes organization system while a batchelor. I thought it was rather efficient – one pile of clean, one larger pile of dirty. I pretty much knew where the dividing line was….  LOL!

        Blanket on a secluded beach! Answered on May 22, 2020.

        Are you talking about Marie Kondo? I love her books, too.

        on May 22, 2020.

        I don’t know her name x but her catch phrase is “spark joy.” She speaks very little English apparently.

        on May 23, 2020.

        Ya, Marie has a book by that title and its also her motto. I have made it mine, as well.

        on May 23, 2020.

        I had trouble with Marie Kondo’s method. One, there is often just too much stuff to put it all in one place to do her thing. She comes from a Japanese culture which is rather minimalist to begin with. Two, I found that way too many things “spark joy” for me! If I had one positive memory attached to it, it sparked joy. If I liked the lines or the color of it, or could imagine it as part of a beautiful table setting or shelf display…it sparked joy! On the other hand, there’s nothing joyful about an awful lot of things that I actually do need to keep.

        I’ve had better results reminding myself that God always provides what I need in the moment I need it, so if I don’t need it NOW, I can let it go and trust that something else will be available if I need it later. (Again, I practice this very imperfectly!!)

        on May 25, 2020.
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          I deal with this EVERY SINGLE DAY of my life. I have anxiety but i also have Lyme’s disease and a myriad of other health problems and my yard and house remind me of this daily and it causes great anxiety in me. If i had the health i would gladly tackle it all.

          Blanket on a secluded beach! Answered on May 22, 2020.

          I’m so sorry! I’m really thankful to be in basically good health right now, but there have been times when I wasn’t and I’m still trying to dig out from how things fell apart then. It’s an uphill battle, isn’t it?

          on May 22, 2020.

          For sure and i’m trying to learn after all these years (!) to praise the Lord in the midst of it. I’m very very much a “kick against the goad” type of person, ugh….

          on May 22, 2020.
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            At war with clutter?

            No! Not any more! I have conceded defeat! Life is so good!

            Seriously, it is a challenge too. But, I try not to let it bother me too much.

            Under the stars Answered on May 22, 2020.
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              Yes, I have a problem with clutter. But it’s the other way round: DW is a natural clutterer, whereas I like things fairly neat and airy. To be honest with you, the only solution we have found is that I have my separate “man room” that I keep free of clutter and minimalist and DW has her “woman room”, which she is free to keep messy.
              For many years I tried to convince DW to get rid of her clutter but I came to the conclusion that she likes it that way, so I gave up. Once I accepted her tendency to create clutter it stopped becoming a problem.

              Fell out of ... Answered on May 22, 2020.
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                Our home struggles with clutter…. but I don’t really struggle with it. 😀  I have had to learn to just let go of certain expectations, otherwise I would live a miserable life.  But there are times that I get to my end, and then I go through a purging phase, and do some “whip cracking” with the kids.

                One thing that helps keep our sanity is to keep communal areas cleaner and more clutter free.  Not that we are perfect.   I don’t really worry about bedrooms, or the spaces that everybody isn’t constantly in, but narrowing down the expectations, and expecting the rest of the family to keep their own stuff picked up in those communal areas, takes some of the stress off.

                Under the stars Answered on May 22, 2020.
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                  Clutter wears me down, too. I have to have a fairly empty house and bedroom to survive. If the house has clutter on the table or laying around, I simply can’t function.

                  I believe I would have survived better in our tiny house if I would have got rid of stuff. Not that it was so much clutter, but storage of things that we would use again. The house was so small that walls were lined with storage tubs and every inch of space was used. I should have got rid of more stuff to clear my mind.

                  DH also says he doesn’t like clutter. Lets just say our ideas of clutter are 2 different ideas. The house and yard would have to be pure disaster before he would ever comment that its time to clean up! OTOH, I cannot go to bed or leave the house if its cluttered or messy. I always have an open (garbage) bag for the thrift store.

                  Under the stars Answered on May 22, 2020.
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                    We struggle with clutter as well. As a man, I’m pretty good at ignoring it and it doesn’t bother me very often. Outside is my domain. DW struggles more. TBH she works her hind end off planning for and homeschooling our brood. She is also determined to cook healthy meals. We call her the kitchen Nazi! So cleanup is just farther down the list. Our frugal nature works against us well as we both hate to throw things away.

                    Fell out of ... Answered on May 22, 2020.
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                      @Tim, you talking about your wife reminded me….  I have limited energy, 7 years ago, I chose to focus much more of my energy on my sexuality and our sexual relationship, that meant other things had to be scaled back.  Back then, my husband was fine with the trade of that, with less of a cleaner house and homecooked meals, and he still is.

                      Under the stars Answered on May 22, 2020.

                      SC – your words here struck a chord with me. Knowing you as more the traditional housewife, and all the stress that brings, then tying that to a choice of spend energy on that or sex….fascinating. Most men think quite the opposite. We come home from work and stress and look to sex as a respite, not another drain on us. It typically reenergizes us, not draw from us. I know for my DW coming home from a long day dealing with other people’s problems and her business that the last thing she wants it to think about having to give more of herself to me. Took me a few years….well, several…to come to grips with it. And it has caused much angst in the meantime. But I guess the energy aspect hadn’t been clear before. I do know that during this recent COVID situation and her closing for several days during the week has actually been a miniature boon to our sex life. Now that she’s back to business as usual,I suspect old patterns to re-emerge. Not looking forward to it. But unlike where you can choose to not do as much cooking or let some clutter exist to save energy. She doesn’t have the same choices.

                      on May 23, 2020.

                      I understand what you are saying, but everyone has a choice on how they invest their energy (or how busy they are.)

                      on May 23, 2020.

                      Well…she could sell the business I suppose. But she would not do that for the purpose of a better sex life, or even a better marriage really. Not when she can have both to her satisfaction. So yeah, she has choices, and has made them.

                      on May 23, 2020.
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                        My problem has been a lack of war with clutter. I’ve surrendered to clutter so often you’d think our house must be cluttered with white flags. Well, there aren’t a bunch of white flags strewn about our house, but we do have a lot of stuff I wish were gone. Neither my DW nor I are good at cleaning, and when there’s clutter everywhere, it can be difficult to know where to start. I myself have trouble throwing things away that aren’t soiled or broken. If something is still good, I have a hard time throwing it away, even if I know no one will want it. I have lots of clothes—far more than my DW. We have clutter with other things too. I don’t feel like we buy stuff all the time; stuff just accumulates. This is one thing I really wish I could get good at fighting. A more minimalist house sounds good to me. And yet the moment I start moving in that direction, I start worrying about getting rid of something I’ll want later on or I start getting sentimental.

                        Queen bed Answered on May 23, 2020.

                        YES! And invariably, when I do muster up the mindset to go ahead and let stuff go, I am sure to find an actual need for something I go rid of which sabotages all my future efforts to cultivate that mindset!

                        On the other hand, the one thing that has helped me more than anything else with this concept is to remind myself that God is my provider and that if I get rid of something I need later, He will provide it. (Not that I always succeed with that! But that is my failure, not God’s.)

                        on May 24, 2020.
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