When the clutter gets too much…

clutter, hoardingI am about a month in to my clutter challenge/declutter and I am hitting a black spot. Yes I have made some headway and I have got rid of around 60 items. But now the Gremlins are creeping in. I try and remind myself that this is an ongoing process and I can’t expect everything to be perfect overnight. I also have a big project underway namely tiling the Kitchen floor. All the tools that were stored fairly neatly are now lying sprinkled all over the work surfaces. There are little bits of plastic, broken tiles and two tile cutters (yes two!) and other tile related gizmos and everywhere looks like its smeared with concrete/glue/grout. It’s also had a knock on effect to other rooms, as things that ‘lived’ in the kitchen have now moved themselves into the bedroom.

So what to do? I am suffering from ‘Clutter blues’ an emotional state that doesn’t necessarily come from parting from the clutter but it caused just by looking at the clutter. So how am I going to address this?

My first thought is to leave the flat and do something else. This works very well, but inevitably my journey takes me past the shops and then I have to wrestle with the temptation to shop. Then of course, not wishing to spend the night on the streets, I am forced to return to find, surprise surprise, the clutter is still there. Only now it looks worse than it did before. I am also feeling more stressed as I know all I have done is run away from it and that is obviously not the answer.

Tactic two was sit and stare at it and that just made me feel worse. I felt like an aged character in a Dickens novel, wringing my hands in despair. Not very attractive and you’ve guessed it – completely ineffective.

Tactic three was to go crazy! Like a WWF wrestler  I attacked the clutter by picking up random items and then hurled them with great force across the room. Strangely enough, this did help me clear some clutter as I ended up breaking a rather nice vase in the process, but hardly the ideal way of clearing junk.

The only thing for it was tackling the clutter systematically. This was combined with some good old self talk to remind me that I was the one complaining about the mess, not anyone else. So I started grouping the clutter and decided I was going to focus on just the clothes. I put all the dirty ones in the laundry basket for washing and hung up/put away all the rest. It wasn’t rocket science, but it was surprising how much of a difference it made.

As the kitchen was a mess I decided to plan some simple meals that I could just bung in the oven and forget about. This was, not a time for fancy preparation and gourmet meals and I reminded myself that this too would be temporary.

This really was the secret – the mess wasn’t forever. My home needed some work, yes but then I wasn’t planning a photo shoot for ‘Homes and Garden’s’ any time soon. My family and I still had fun and when we joked about the clutter was the last thing on our minds. What’s more I realised that the clutter was in my control and even simple steps had made me feel better.It all came down to perspective. It would take a bit of time to sort out, but in the words of Scarlet O’Hara ”Tomorrow is another day. ‘

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