Monday, August 18, 2008

Things Finally Reached the Breaking Point

Have you ever read the exhaustively titled Shel Silverstein poem, Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out?

It's about, well, a little girl who wouldn't take the garbage out. Obviously.

Sarah's problem starts out innocently enough, with a little garbage strewn here or there. But, before she knows it, it starts piling up. Before she realizes it, it touches the ceiling. It touches the sky. And eventually, after all the neighbors move away and nobody comes over to play, poor Sarah exclaims, "Ok, I'll take the garbage out!"

Really, there is no better metaphor for my struggle with home organization.

I'm a perfectionist and a procrastinator. It sounds paradoxical, but that combination is the Perfect Storm for shoddy home maintenance. I procrastinate a job because I don't have enough time to do it perfectly. When I finally do decide to do it, it's usually long overdue. I reach a breaking point where I can't take it a minute longer -- something has to be done!

I'm ashamed to say, "neat and orderly" has never been my forte. I'm pretty distractable. A lot of times I make more messes in my attempt to clean up just one. In my head, the concept of "put away what you take out" seems simple. In reality, I can't seem to do it consistently.

And, if I had problems keeping things neat and orderly before kids, you can only imagine the struggle I have in doing so with kids. You've got the baby paraphenalia (exersaucer, swing, bouncy seat, baby toys), the boy paraphenalia (10,000 Matchbox cars, Rescue Heroes, superhero costumes), and the older girl paraphenalia (My Little Ponies, Polly Pockets, more books than you can count).

To make things more challenging, there's additional clutter coming home every day in the form of school papers. I did a little computing and figured that new papers are being dumped on my desk at a rate of about 30 sheets a week.

So, in the midst of my growing chaos, I had my Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout moment. I finally said, "Okay! I'll clean the house out!"

I've got to stop the madness, you see. (Does anyone else ever feel this way?!?) We don't really need 10,000 Matchbox cars. A handful would be more than sufficient.

So, I've been busy clearing out. And with every bag that heads to the trash, with every box that goes to Goodwill, I am feeling the pressure ease up just a little bit. Little by little I'm taking on the pantry, the clothes closets, the craft closet, the makeup drawer, and the like.

Less stuff = less work = a simpler life (hopefully)

Ahhhhh. I'm feeling better already.


mah-meeee said...

oh i'm totally with ya! nothing feels better than when i clean out the house with bags of trash and bags for donation.

less clutter for your home = less clutter for your mind.

Lori said...

Oh, I am SO right there with you. No wonder I'm feeling anxious and agitated -- it's all closing in on me -- quite literally the "stuff" is just encroaching on all my living space. Will it ever end??!?!

Lizz @ Yes, and So is My Heart said...

Oh Michelle, I get it! I am so there right now. I nodded my head through this entire post.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, nothing, I'm telling you nothing, makes me feel better than loading up the minivan and heading to Goodwill. The less cheap toys my kids have, the better they play. The less clutter in my house, the better I can think, breath.

You go, girl!

heather said...

Oh girl. My house is a hot mess, and I have suuuuuuch a hard time trying to keep everything so neat and tidy. So much so that I stop trying, and it creates a vicious cycle.

Maybe I'll take the challenge and try to get rid of a couple bags of clothes this week. We already cleared out the toy room, it was just too muchto take!

Mim said...

Oooo, me too, me too! I have been in that mode lately (my husband has been hinting that "maybe we need to hire someone, you know, to just come once a month or so, to, you know, do some of the things that 'we' can't seem to get done..."). So I thought I might need to take the hint and buckle down and get better about organizing and cleaning. I have been ridding our closets of clothes that haven't been worn in several seasons and the playroom of at least the Happy Meal toys. And I've begun a schedule of cleaning tasks to do (just one main task per day) and a list of things I never seem to get to (dust ceiling fans, organize school papers, organize pictures, etc.) We'll see how long it lasts.

I might even go crawling back to flybaby status for the 12th time...

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

Good for you! You're gonna feel so good about yourself. :) I am also a perfectionist/procrastinator when it comes to certain things, so I know just how you feel. Usually when it comes to cleaning my house, 'cause I can never get it quite as clean as I think it should be, so I don't even feel like starting in on it. Crazy, huh?

Kellie said...

I LOVE that poem. I actually quote the first line whenever the garbage is completely full but the two garbage emptiers in this house keep avoiding it!

You will feel so good after you clean things up and throw things out!