I grew up in a home that my step-father constantly referred to as “functionally finished”. Some part of that house was always in a state of disrepair…or more accurately half repair.
The foundation wasn’t level, so the house got jacked up which caused cracks in the living room wall that stayed there for years. Finally the wall might be repaired. But then there would be new well-fitted drywall sitting waiting for paint or wall paper for months. Old wallpaper began to be removed but there were too many layers to deal with; it was a bigger job than was expected, so the half ripped wall would be left unattended. The house was functional. But it wasn’t pretty.
I won’t completely blame my propensity to start projects (or books or habits) on my childhood environment, but…
Millions of people are reading (ok…let’s be honest…millions of people are buying) “the life-changing magic of tidying up“. I only actually have three or four friends that I know have started or finished the tidying up process but they’ve all found it to be helpful. As I’m working to make positive changes in life like erasing negative tapes in my brain, setting goals, and following through on creative ideas, I’ve found myself increasingly uncomfortable in my own apartment. This is an apartment that I once loved but have now lived in for four years and don’t anymore.
After my last round of foster care, when I felt especially cluttered because there was baby stuff everywhere, I tried to open up space by getting rid of a desk that operated as a crap depository. But it feels more cluttered to me than ever…and there are three chairs holding small loads of crap right now. Some of which is frankly just stuff that didn’t get put away even though it’s home is a foot away from where it sits. This is odd for me because I’m not a pack rat by any means and I historically have liked a clean house (don’t we all?). However, I have always had a messy bedroom (ask my mother) and the longer I live alone, the more I find it easy to let things go and let piles of clutter accumulate…and I DON’T LIKE IT.
I’ve started to feel claustrophobic in a space that used to be life-giving to me.
I think I’ve reached my Tipping Point.
As I’ve been working to become more uncluttered and focused in my creative work and my thought life, my house has become even more messy. I keep putting household tasks off in favor of writing (or watching House of Cards).
I am two weeks away from my 40th birthday and I’m feeling the desire to put my house in order because what if (as “tidying” author Marie Kondo claims) “a dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective.” What if it really is “life transforming”?
Today, I borrowed the book from a friend. Next week we’re on spring break at work. So I’m going to jump in and I’m going to try tidying up.
Confession: I want to take you along on the journey but I am ashamed of what my apartment looks like right now…especially since I just picked up some extra side tables that I didn’t make room for before I got them from a friend. Of all the things I’ve written about on this blog, posting a picture of my messy living room would make me the most nervous. So I might show you a before and after eventually but I can’t do it today.
I’ll keep you posted though. And, no surprise, I’ll tell you what I really think along the way.