I hate clutter. HATE it.
All kinds of clutter. Anywhere. I have a visceral reaction to it. It drives me crazy and stresses me out. I cannot say enough about how much I hate it.
Unfortunately, I live with men who are pack rats and slobs and clutterers. There are piles of stuff on our kitchen table. On our counter tops. On the floor around the table. Piles in almost every room of the house. Clutter in the car even. And it spreads. Mess begets mess; clutter begets clutter.
My dislike of clutter translates to so many areas of my life. For example, it drives me crazy to have a full email inbox and I feel stressed when my google reader is overflowing. I like my desk cleared off and everything has its place. I even don’t like “stuff” on the front of my refrigerator. Or background music playing when I’m home or in the car: audio clutter.
My husband likes piles. He swears he knows exactly what is where. For him, out of sight is out of mind and he will forget about things, so he wants to keep everything front and center where he can see it. For me, out of sight is out of mind in a good way, so I DON”T want to see things! Over the past 23 years we have both made compromises in this area, but I admit that every now and again things just build and I can’t manage to walk through the house with my usual blinders on and the clutter starts my heart racing and my head pounding and I blow.
My sons might be even worse clutterers than their dad. My older son leaves things in his room in discrete piles. The top of his dresser is heaped with papers and empty deodorant sticks and books and empty boxes from computer games. My teen has so much stuff on the floor of his room that you literally cannot take a step inside without careful maneuvering. There are clean clothes mixed with dirty clothes and trash and toiletries and used tissues from the last time he had a cold and probably a lot of missed school assignments in there somewhere. For some reason he is collecting used Gatorade bottles. But I close the door to their rooms and walk on by. What is harder to live with is the teen’s pile on and around his “spot” at the kitchen table. Shoes on the floor, dirty socks and a sweatshirt or two, college brochures, sunglasses. And he leaves a trail of dirty dishes in his wake. My older son did something similar at and around the table and I took to referring to it as the “locker area.” Unfortunately, the locker area was taken over by my husband’s clutter when our son left for college.
I know I am a bit anal. I have some perfectionistic tendencies; some unusual quirks. (You can stop laughing now, dear family members who read my blog.) Yes, I like things in their place. Yes, I like surfaces clear. Yes, I like to see the tops of my kitchen table and counters. This is my reality. I know this about myself. It is not something I can change. What I have changed, is my approach to dealing with clutter. And my willingness to compromise and accommodate the clutterers who I love more than I love order and clean surfaces. I am a neat freak doing her best to live in a house filled with clutter. Loving her men, but not loving their mess. Putting back on the blinders. Another day, another mess. And just for today I am enjoying the relatively picked up house, thanks to having hosted company this weekend. I’ll take it for as long as it lasts:)