Yesterday, my friend Heather came over to my house for a quick visit and we were lamenting the passage of time, how we sounded like our mothers (gasp!), and pending holidays around the corner. She is going to have a house full of company for Thanksgiving which is always a mixed blessing: you love having loved ones come and stay but there is a lot of preparation that goes into having it all happen seamlessly. Heather said, “I love entertaining and having people over because it forces me to clean up my house.” Truer words have not been spoken. There is nothing like friends or family coming and staying for a spell to force you to look at your home with fresh eyes.
- How long has that pile of papers been sitting on that table that I never noticed until now?
- Has this closet door always been difficult to close because it is stuffed to the gills?
- Do we really not have a vent in our guest bathroom? (this is actually true in my house and will be fixed hopefully before company comes for Christmas)
- Do I always just throw stuff in the guest bedroom when I don’t know where it should go?
- Has this room/ closet/ flat surface really become my dumping ground?
Do any of these ring true? Sheepishly, I have to nod my head as well. The great thing about writing and reading online is that nobody is watching you silently agree that your house has gotten a little out of control this year. It happens to all of us because life is full of change and activity. If it weren’t we’d be static, boring people. Having clutter in your home is it is a bit like boiling a frog: it slowly creeps up on you and don’t realize the water is boiling or that your home needs some help. If you watch Hoarders, you’ll realize that these people didn’t start acquiring stuff yesterday; it takes time to amass and accumulate.
Fortunately we have these annual built in times of reflection like company coming over, spring cleaning, New Year, end of summer, etc. when we can pause and reflect on our lives and decide if we like how it looks, how it functions, and what we can do to improve. Shoving the boxes and bags to the back of the closet isn’t going to solve the issue of the clutter. You are going to have to decide if you want to change and, if so, when. Having a built in deadline like pending company is an excellent motivation for change. Use that inspiration to clean out that cabinet or closet but also try to find out the source of the clutter to begin with so you don’t have to keep facing the same piles repeatedly. Everything needs its proper place in your home or it shouldn’t be there. Now is the time to start clearing out what you don’t need so you can show your home’s beauty and relieve yourself of the stress of having to deal with excess stuff. Enjoy the time with your family and friends instead of hoping that nobody opens that super stuffed closet or scary drawer.