I have a terrible relationship with stuff

Hello. My name is Alison, and my house is a mess.

(Hi, Alison.)

It’s always been a mess, my whole adult life. I live and sleep in clutter; sometimes I even sleep ON clutter, because it’s late and I’m exhausted and I never got around to folding that load of laundry I dumped on my bed earlier in the day. I have stuff, on top of which I’ve set other stuff, and they’re both there because I have no where else to put them, because of other stuff that fill the drawers and shelves already.

One of the things I’m trying to do with this midlife makeover, such as it is, is to make lasting improvements to my quality of life. So I might as well do it right … and that means cleaning up my act. Or my house. Or both, really. But mostly my house.

I considered posting pics here of some of the rooms of my house. I couldn’t even bring myself to take the photos in the first place. There’s too much embarrassment, too much shame, in the way things are.

Even cleaning does not make the clutter go away for long. It creeps back in so damn quickly. I can clear everything out, put everything away, get rid of extra things. But before I know it, some of the clutter has crept back onto the coffee table, and then I’m out shopping and suddenly the living room gets an extra bookcase, and then hey, I’m just going to lay out this project across my desk that I’ll never have time to finish, and oh, and Nintendo put out a new gaming console that we have to have, and I got this cool new Funko Pop and I just have to display it somewhere … and before long everything has stuff on it and stuff under it ,and now vacuuming means cleaning up all the stuff first, and the dishes just haven’t been done in forever, and why don’t I just say “fuck it all” and watch Netflix?

Sometimes on a weekend I’ll grit my teeth and say “Let’s finally do something about all this stuff!” Then I’ll sink half a day into cleaning out some random corner of the bedroom or whatever, and at the end all I have to show for it are two full trash bags, a small patch of clean space, and a dozen items I don’t want to throw away but don’t know what to do with. And guess where they go? Right back into that space.

Clutter stresses. Clutter overwhelms. Clutter paralyzes.

Clutter also feeds into my depression in unhealthy ways. Due to the state of my house, I literally avoid having people over. I’m too embarrassed. Visitors who knock on the door get hustled into porch chairs, while I try to step out without opening the door wide enough to offer a view. I never, ever plan to have people to dinner, or over to play games, or over just to spill tea. Heck, the last time I was in a relationship, I never once brought him over to my place. The house just was never clean enough to let him in.

So that’s the third prong of this whole endeavour: improving my relationship with stuff.

I have to admit, this one will be hard for me. It’s also the one that, here in the beginning, I am going into without a clear plan of attack. In my heart, part of me wants to let everything go, to just clear it all out and start over; but the other part of me, the hoarding crow-brain part, literally screams at the very idea. So I’m just reading a lot of decluttering blogs, and watching a lot of minimalist vlogs, and deciding how I want to make this work.

At this point, I’m sure someone reading this wants to tell me about Konmari. You might have even started typing the Facebook comment already. Well, stop it! I’m very familiar with Marie Kondo and her method. I kind of even like it. But … well, more on her another time.


One thought on “I have a terrible relationship with stuff

  1. I won’t mention any decluttering book, but will advise you to only do a little bit every day and start in your bedroom, you need a clean place to relax. If you give over all your spare time to decluttering a corner of a room or a whole room it will become another chore that you hate. I started with my junk drawer in the kitchen and it made me feel great so I could move on to others. I will say now that I do not have kids living at home anymore it easier. I have been using a schedule for weekly housecleaning chores and I have found this really helps. Good luck

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.