I wrote this a year and a half ago, but I keep thinking back to it. My mind is cluttered to the point that I can’t maneuver around it. Incidentally, my car is too... and my closet... and my kids’ rooms... and my kitchen counters... I keep feeling like I need to sort through the physical stuff to be able to sort through the mental stuff, but instead I just run and run, keeping busy so I don’t have to deal with any clutter.
I needed this reminder. Maybe someone else does too.
Clutter. I really hate it. Like, a lot. But I find myself surrounded by it. Stacey and I started a decluttering competition on January 1. Day 1, we had to get rid of one thing. Day 2, two things. Day 3, three things and so on. The first one to not purge something loses. I let her know that I could win this based on my closet alone. It's awful. It's not huge, but it's big enough to stash stuff in a hurry. It's a compilation of all the stuff that has been cluttering up other parts of my room and I'm sick of seeing, so I'll pile it up and throw it in my closet. The competition lasted about 7 days before the crazy kicked in, and we got sidetracked.
My car is piled high with clutter. My trunk? Don't get me started. My daughter's cheer shoes are still in there. She hasn't been a cheerleader since the 8th grade and she's now a sophomore in high school. My son's folder from his three year old pre-k class is in there. He's two years out of that class now. By my calculations, it's been 2 years since I've done a deep cleaning on my car (or at least my trunk).
When it's time to clean out the car, I get a clothes basket or a bucket and I'll fill it full of the things that aren't trash. I'll then take the basket into the house or leave it in the garage. There have been times that the basket is never gone through again. It just sits there, filled with things that once seemed pretty important, but I'm too overwhelmed to go through. It then clutters up my garage. When Brad cleaned out the garage over Christmas break, there were several of these baskets he wanted me to go through. I told him to stick them in the attic or throw them away. I didn't want to see them. It was too much.
My countertops accumulate clutter like crazy. Guess what I do when I get sick of it? I pile it up, stick it in a bin in order to make it appear clean. It's all still there, it's just rearranged into a giant overwhelming pile.
When things get to be too overwhelmingly messy, I just sweep it all into a pile and throw it into a corner, or a closet, or a trunk, or a garage where I won't have to deal with it... until the garage gets too full of these bins. The closet gets too hard to walk into. The trunk won't close. The clutter basket on the counter is overflowing. Eventually, you have to deal with it. Pushing it aside for awhile might make you feel better temporarily, but it doesn't deal with the actual problem at hand.
I think this is what I try to do with the clutter in my mind, too. When I keep myself too busy, I just keep sweeping all the thoughts I have over to the side. If they're too painful, I'll throw them into a bin to process later. If they might lead to confrontation, yeah... I definitely don't want to do that, I'll put that in the trunk to worry about in a few years. Let's just throw that hurt in the closet. The self doubt can go in the garage. Just as long as everything looks clean on the surface, it's good enough for now. I'll worry about the rest later.
Until the closet is cleaned out, the paper pile is recycled and the bills are paid, the garage bins are gone through, and the trunk is empty, I don't think I can have the inner peace I so crave. I'm speaking figuratively, but I feel that literally, cleaning these out will lead to sorting through these thoughts in my head at the same time. I think I heard Oprah say that the state of your closet is representative of the state of your mind. A clean closet equals a clear mind. Though that seems overwhelming, I think there may be something to that for me.
Enough pushing the clutter aside. Time to face what's uncomfortable and deal with it head on. Wish me luck.