Out of clutter, find simplicity.
Ever need to clean up a room right quick and just sort of sweep everything into a big bin, and throw it under the bed or in a closet?
But then forget about the big box in the closet, until one day you’re looking for something and you open it up to discover the huge jumble inside?
And it’s just too much for you at that moment, so you pretend you didn’t see it and quietly put it back?
How about that time your house got robbed, and the fingerprint guy was totally overwhelmed by all the stuff falling out of the bedroom closets and said, “Whoa. They really tore this place apart, huh?”
And you just looked at him, slack-jawed, and then nodded yes, totally blaming the robbers for your unholy mess?
No? Just me?
That day with the forensics team was a turning point for me. It was, quite simply, the most embarrassing moment of my life, on an already difficult day.
I am physically incapable of leaving the house a mess now. Rooms need to be picked up, laundry in baskets at the very least, beds made. You just never know when your house might get robbed and people are going to be asking you, “Was this here when you left?”
I dug in, buckled down, and ruthlessly decluttered. I was flyin’ with the FlyLady. (That was short lived. Too! Much! Enthusiasm! for! Me!) I set up daily chore lists and enforced nightly ten-minute cleaning drills. I was a lean, mean, housekeeping machine.
Only… that was over five years ago.
And… then I got a job working from home full-time.
And also… I started a blog, in my “spare” time.
And did I mention… my brother and his family stayed with us for a few months, while they settled on a house for their growing family. So everything that we used to store in those rooms… came to live upstairs with us for a while.
Yeah. Somehow the clutter has crept back up on me. And set down roots.
You know when the clutter has grown out of hand and you don’t know what to do with it? And you go to the store and you buy all these fancy organizers that you think are going to solve the problem, but they don’t fit in the drawer right or you just don’t get around to using them?
You know how you empty three rooms of craft supplies and Christmas decorations and never-used wedding china and handed-down-waiting-to-be-grown-into clothing into a corner of your office and you have no freaking clue where you’re going to put it all?
So your husband builds a loft in your bedroom?
No? Just me?
So. I have this loft. And I know it was very handy and nice of my husband to build it, but… I feel like we have turned into crazy people, suitable for reality tv. I call it Elton’s Folly.
And I have all this STUFF. Most of it is stuff I actually need to keep. It was semi-organized when spread out over three rooms— I knew where to find things, even if it looked messy to the casual observer— but when Jeff moved it, he just dumped it all into one big pile on the floor.
And I don’t know where to start. I have an extra room and I still don’t know where to begin.
I just keep thinking of The Cat in the Hat.
And this mess is so big
And so deep and so tall,
We can not pick it up.
There is no way at all!
Well, I don’t know about you, but when I’ve got a mess that’s staring me in the face that I can’t quite deal with, what I like to do is… read a whole lot of books about decluttering and organizational techniques! I’ve become quite a connoisseur over the years.
Pretty Neat: the buttoned-up way to get organized & let go of perfection by Alicia Rockmore & Sarah Welch is a fun-to-read, practical, usable approach to getting your life in order. First of all, the authors get the mom schedule, how we have to work in ten-minute increments around the rest of our lives. They get the fact that no matter what we do, our houses are going to look lived-in, not like a magazine spread. And they are OK with that, and that is the place we begin from. Amazing!
Their first pieces of advice:
- develop your own meaning of organized
- prepare yourself for imperfection
- prepare rebuttals in advance
Can I get an amen?
The following family-friendly chapters include tons of personal anecdotes from women who have been there, done that, and found a working solution; as well as helpful tips for delegation of duties, learning to say no, mastering your to-do list, settling schedules, taming toys, winning the battle of the overflowing inbox, and mastering home-cooked meals.
This last chapter covers picky eaters, menu planning, the issue of time, and “how to hit the trifecta: healthy, good, and easy.” One of my favorite passages points out that processed food does not reduce average preparation time, it just gives that illusion since it reduces prep work like chopping.
This chapter all by itself is worth it. This is news you can use, friends.
And you can win it!
All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me something embarrassing that’s happened as a result of a cluttered house, a cluttered schedule, or a cluttered mind, so I don’t feel like the most disorganized slob in the world. (I didn’t even tell you about the day I missed my son’s parent-teacher conference.)
Or, an extreme you or someone close to you has gone to to try to overcome the clutter.
Or, if you can’t think of anything that fits, you can just tell me why you’d like to win this book. I’m flexible like that.
This giveaway will end at 11:59pm on March 20. One U.S. commenter will be chosen at random to receive a copy of Pretty Neat: the buttoned-up way to get organized & let go of perfection.
And that’s not all! Know what else is pretty neat? Several other bloggers have also posted reviews and giveaways of this book. Once all the giveaway winners have been reported, one will be chosen at random from across all blogs to receive a $200 gift card (same as cash) plus a selection of Buttoned Up products (ARV: $50) to be used towards her own reasonable organizational goals for her life.
Yeah. That’s awesome. I totally hope you win.
Full disclosure: I received no compensation for this post, but I did receive a copy of the book to review (and highlight and dogear and otherwise get full use of). My participation in this Global Influence campaign puts me in the running for a $100 gift card (same as cash) plus a selection of Buttoned Up products (ARV: $50). I hope I win, too!