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Monday, July 17, 2006

Spring Cleaning

Better late then never, right??

Our house is a mess. More then a mess, its a disaster, a bio-hazard zone. Seriously if I ever walked into someone's house that looked like ours, I'd gag. And I LIVE IN THIS EVERYDAY!

I had grand hopes for my vacation. I was going to scrub the house from top to bottom. The place was going to sparkle like the Hope diamond. What really happened...I started with the windows. They needed to be introduced to Windex. I'm not sure if they had ever previously met or not, I'm guessing no. Things were going well. I had a small army of dirty papertowels littering the kitchen floor, beautiful sunshine actually dancing in my kitchen...Then I.Broke.A.Freakin.Window!!! End of cleaning, thank's folks, show's all done, might as well go home cause the curtains are closing. I tipped the window in to clean the outside and the whole thing fell out. I tried shoving it back in, but somehow the tracks it rides on got all squirrely. One was a good 3 or 4 inches higher then the other. Some swearing and jamming on my part and the window was back in, albeiet functionless. Wouldn't move up, wouldn't move down, perpectually stuck 2 inches open. Dad had to come fix it.

What does this have to do with anything....

Well, I've realized a few things:

1). The state of the house is having a DIRECT effect on my depression, as in its directing my mood right down the crapper (which by the way, surprisingly is probably the only clean thing in the house).

2) Its also having a direct effect on our finances. We eat out WAY too much. Why do we eat out? Because the kitchen is such a cluttered mess that I get too depressed to even think about cooking in there. I see it and instantly give up. Why cook? I'd have to clean before I even started, then just have to clean again afterwards.

3). Its affecting my relationship with DH and A. I'm depressed and moody and I don't like being depressed and moody. When I am, I just want to withdraw from everyone, have them all leave me alone. Doesn't put me in a nice nuturing place.

So I've made myself a plan. 4 bursts of 15minutes. One before work, one before I start supper, after supper and before bed. 15 minutes and only 15 minutes. I can do 15 minutes. I'm starting with a trash bag and a "fling it" attitude. I'm good at flinging things, maybe too good, but it needs to happen. We've got too much shit and the shit is KILLING me.

I've been reading up on decluttering (I'll admit, I'm a lost fly-baby) and this caught my attention: (Copied from Ariane Benefit, Neat Living

Here are 10 ways excessive clutter can affect you and your life:

1. Family

* Clutter causes irritability, resentment and stress that leads to temper tantrums, outbursts, and overall disharmony (especially, if people are having to deal with "other people's clutter". You may start to feel like you aren't a good parent or aren't a good example for your kids
* Excessive clutter can cause depression, acting out, bad behavior in children due to their inability to focus caused by the clutter

2. Relationships

* Causes conflicts often due to chronic lateness
* Can keep you from socializing because you don't have the energy or can't find clothes to go out. Keeps you from getting close to people because you don't entertain or want to have people visit you in your home

3. Loss of Self-Esteem

* Causes you to feel like you aren't capable or are missing some basic skill that everyone else "seems" to have so you feel bad about yourself - the truth is you are not alone, many people have issues dealing with clutter

4. Emotionally

* Excessive clutter often cause feelings of shame, guilt, anger and embarrassment that holds you back.
* Clutter drains your energy - and you don't realize it till it's gone. Every item in your home has an energy to it. When items go a long time unused, unloved and uncared for, they become stuck, stagnant energy that actually physically drains you of your energy.

5. Physical Health & Stress

* The stress caused by clutter is enormous. Every time you can't find something, or an argument flares up with a loved one, or you can't relax because you worry about all the things you need to do, but can't till you get the clutter cleared, your stress levels increase. Stress in turn, lowers your immunity and resistance and so you may have frequent, persistent colds.
* Clutter can make it more difficult to eat healthy, cause headaches, fatigue, sinus problems and allergies and more.

6. Mental Health

* Clutter decreases your ability to enjoy life. It causes stress, confusion, inability to focus, and often leads to depression. Sometimes clutter is initially caused by depression, but clutter also makes it nearly impossible to recover from depression. In my experience, once people start releasing their clutter, their energy comes back and the depression gets better, sometimes it goes away for good. Some people are extremely sensitive to their environments and just never realized what a difference it could make.
* Even in people who don't have ADD, clutter causes ADD like symptoms.

7. Safety & Hygiene

* In extreme clutter, people have a hard time walking without tripping or bumping into things. Often there are things hidden in the clutter that are very unsafe for children. I've seen some cases where a young child is pretty much confined to a playpen all the time because it just isn't safe to be out of the playpen.
* Inability to clean cluttered areas can lead to extreme dust and even mold and mildew that exacerbates and even causes health problems in yourself and your children

8. Time

* Simply having too much stuff eats up your time like crazy. Every thing you own requires some amount of care and organization. If you have too much stuff, it's much more difficult, time consuming, and expensive to get organized.
* Having too much stuff often leads to procrastination and lateness which wastes your and other people's time and causes a whole host of other problems.
* Not being able to find things is a huge time cost of clutter. For some people it wastes several hours every day.

9. Your Future

* Holding on to clutter often grounds you in the past at the cost of your present life and your future.
* Clutter distracts you from being able to think about your goals, projects, hobbies and get things done

10. Financial

* Things have to have homes. Whether the home you provide for things is an extra room, a piece of furniture, or a container, you continue to pay for things long after you initially acquire them. Clutter directly costs money in the following ways:
o Late fees for bills paid late
o Credit card debt - often for unused stuff
o Duplicates purchased because you can't find things
o Some people move to larger home to accomodate the stuff
o Renting storage facilities

* Clutter drains your energy - and you don't realize it till it's gone. Every item in your home has an energy to it. When items go a long time unused, unloved and uncared for, they become stuck, stagnant energy that actually physically drains you of your energy. This one speaks to me the most. I think it will be my mantra for now.

Wish me luck, dear friends, cause I'm going in and I'm not coming out till its done!

Posted by floreksa to floreksa_general at 7/17/2006 11:48:04 AM


julia said...

I can so relate. My house is verging on bio-hazard, too. I just don't have the motivation to clean it. It doesn't help that I'm enormously pregnant and it's so. freakin'. hot. But still. I hate living like this. Good luck with your 15 minutes ventures. That sounds like a good idea, one that I may just borrow.

Kassie said...

This is awesome. Thank you for posting it, I can TOTALLY relate. I've got to binge clean this week for company (the only time I clean!) and after that I'm trying that 4/15 thing. Brilliant.

Ariane from said...

Hi Sarah,
I am so moved by your struggle with clutter. I'm glad my blog article helped you understand how clutter affects you. I also have several posts on my blog which actually give you tips on how to approach de-cluttering. The price you are paying to live with the clutter is high. I highly recommend working with someone to help you create a plan and get started. Once you are depressed, it's very difficult to dig out on your own.

Finding a clutter buddy could also be a good approach. If you are up for it, I'd like to offer you (and your readers) a free phone consultation. Then if you want to continue we can do telephone / email coaching to get you started. If you have 2 or more others we could also start a support group to help you all get through your clutter clearing projects.

Once you learn / develop a methodology that works for your to get clutter cleared, it will get much easier - I promise you!

My phone number is 973-429-2100. Feel free to call me anytime. If I'm not here - just leave a message!