A Cluttered House is a Cluttered Mind

Recently, I took a look at my blog stats on WordPress. One of the most popular search terms for this blog is “hoarding” and one of the most popular posts is Can Children Be Hoarders?

Photo courtesy of Dreamstime.

Most of us have seen shows like Hoarders on A&E. I still remember (along with many others on the planet) being utterly horrified when I watched the first true hoarder (to me) on television. It was on the Oprah show about four years ago – an older woman who lived alone with several animals in a nice, suburban area. Once we got a glimpse into her home we were treated to scenes of ancient animal feces, massive dust bunnies and piles and piles of clothing, housewares, food and lots and lots of stuff.

I grew up in a very neat, clean and organized home. I took it for granted that everyone’s home was in a similar state. Sure, my brother and I might mess up our rooms with clothing and books but the rest of our house was generally spotless. As a working mother of two, I now realize what it takes to keep a house clean and neat. There’s laundry to do, dishes to put away, food to dispose of, grass to cut, pets to care for, toys to pick up and sort, etc.

And it’s that clutter that often clutters up my mind. I’m a writer and feel like I can be most creative when the house is tidy. If I’m staring at a bowl inhabited with congealed milk and granola bar wrappers, I’m much less likely to have a creative epiphany.

My kids laugh sometimes when I tell them that we need to clean up. Why? They ask. Well, to me, clutter is as clutter does. Whether it’s scientifically proven or not, a clean, organized home makes for happier, calmer occupants. Agree?

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2 responses to “A Cluttered House is a Cluttered Mind

  1. Actually, I think it is a person’s internal response to clutter, rather than the clutter itself.
    When my kids entered the teen years, our house became the “hang-out”, and every day I fed and monitored a small herd. At around the same time, I started working full-time (after years of part-time). Suddenly my home was exponentially cluttered, and my time and energy to clean were significantly reduced. I loved having the kids enjoy our healthy and safe home, so I decided I needed to learn how to have a mind that is uncluttered, calm, and creative when my house was not up to my standards.
    I gradually developed new skills. Looking back, I think what happened is I taught myself how to not have my emotions connected to having several things out of place. I was able to postpone my reactions (“if that jacket is still on the couch in the morning, I’ll remind John to hang it up”). I learned how to be able to focus on the important things (dirty dishes, food left out, bathroom sanitary, etc), and not allow myself to experience negative or distracting emotions by the rest. I had 14 years of teens hanging out at my house, and during that time I lived a calm, highly creative, and very happy life.

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