We need to talk. It’s about all that stuff you’ve accumulated in your house since you had kids and how it’s affecting you.
Almost every mom I talk to says they just have to accept the mess even if it bugs them. They deal with it even though they don’t like it. They just don’t look at it. They don’t obsess about cleaning anymore.
There are places in our homes we don’t go because we don’t want to see the mess! I’m guilty of this too. For me it’s one of the rooms in the basement. It’s like a thrift store threw up down there. There’s stuff everywhere that we’re not using.
What are we doing about it? Ignoring it!
We’re doing what all those other articles tell us to do. We’re letting go of the idea we can have a house that looks the way we want.
As a mom, I get it. When you have a newborn, that’s your only option, let things slide a bit. The problem is, things start piling up. A year into the journey you realize there’s stuff everywhere. You have a hard time remembering everything. You have no energy and you feel like you’re barely making it through the day. You feel like you’re failing as a mom and a wife. Do you think there might be a connection between your state of mind and all the stuff?
Gretchen Rubin does. She has written several times on the topic and I think we need to listen. She did a mini podcast episode a few months ago called“A Little Happier: Outer Order Contributes to Inner Calm”. In this episode she talked about how she was feeling kind of stressed out. She had some trips coming up and there were lots of things she had to do to prepare. She wanted to do something to help her feel calm. So she did something she often does to make herself feel better.
She looked for a messy place in her apartment and cleaned it up.
In this case, it was a messy drawer in her kitchen. In 10 minutes she put everything in order. She felt “enormous satisfaction” from completing this task. Enormous satisfaction! When’s the last time you felt that?
She goes on to say it would seem odd but over and over people have told her that they feel the same thing. “Getting control over the stuff of life makes us feel more in control of our life generally. There’s something calming and energizing about putting things in order.”
In this post she talks about how some people don’t notice clutter or genuinely aren’t bothered by it. She calls these people clutter-blind. For those of us who are not clutter-blind, clutter is a problem. I think this is especially true for people like me that used to be organized.
If we ignore the fact that the mess and the clutter are bothering us, we are doing ourselves a great disservice. It’s bothering us every day. It affects our mood. Gretchen says again and again,
“One thing that continues to surprise me about the nature of good habits and happiness is the degree to which, for most people, outer order contributes to inner calm.”
She goes on to say “An orderly environment makes me feel more in control of my life.”
Isn’t that what we all want? To be calm? To feel in control? To get back to that place?
I think most of the information out there about how to get it all done when you’re a mom is wrong. First, because they’re generally not actually giving you any tips for getting things done. Second, because they’re telling you to live without outer order. That you should accept that you won’t have outer order and that is the answer.
Sacrificing your inner calm is not the answer.
You and I know that we need it for ourselves. We rely on that inner calm in dealing with our toddlers every day. We don’t want to flounder because we have a million things to do and don’t know where to start. We know that something else always comes up. That’s why this is so important.
Taking the time to pick up your house and get things in order will lead to inner calm. I have experienced this myself. So please, listen.
Don’t just take our word for it though.
Test it out for yourself.
Next time you need some calm, take 5-10 minutes to clean something up. Just pick from the list below.
- Mail pile
- Kids’ art projects
- Kitchen counters
- Toys in the living room
- Out-of-season coats
- Out-of-season shoes
- Your purse
- Diaper bag
When you’re done, think about how it makes you feel. Then leave a comment here telling me:
- Do you feel better about yourself?
- Did it give you a sense of satisfaction?
- Did it help you feel more in control of your life?
- Was it worth the time?
I’m looking forward to hearing from you!