Being a military spouse means that every three years you will have to rebuild parts of your life. For example, you finally find that perfect space for that picture on the wall, just to realize that in 6 months it will have to come down to be put in a box to find its’ new perfect space in about 2 1/2 years. The packing and unpacking combined with a tendency to live in the clutter has led me to the clutter chaos. I envy those women who can throw their houses together after each move, but I have not mastered this technique and it causes so much turmoil in my soul.
It takes me forever to unpack, it has been almost a year since we moved, and I still do not have all my boxes unpacked and feel unsettled in my new space. Then the chaos portion sets in. I am constantly in flux of trying to set up house, just to realize we have so much stuff and nothing is organized. I honestly believe that an organized home leads to a peaceful feeling, but the organization part of it becomes so overwhelming that I just give up.
Then in a few months, when I can’t stand the clutter once more, I take another stab at culling the disaster. It goes well for a week or two, maybe three, then the shame and guilt of owning so many things overwhelm me, and I live in a shame spiral and eventually give up. I feel so guilty that I have so much while others don’t have enough, so I shouldn’t be complaining about de-cluttering the mess around me, which in turn makes me feel worse. You see I create this loop that just feeds into itself and then three years later we move, and it starts all over.
I have been watching Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up on Netflix and the people are so happy when they have finished the decluttering process. It literally changes their lives. I want to be that person! I want to walk into my home and just feel the peace surround me.
I think that mental health is greatly impacted when you are constantly surrounded by chaos that has become your responsibility and it is disheartening to say the least. It bleeds into every portion of your life. You can’t find that important document you need today that you saw a week ago. You spend countless hours trying to find one thing you know is in the house but have no clue where it is. Frustration sets in because you should be able to go to an organized closet and be like here it is. Then you just give up, oh we can’t find the swimming goggles we own 5 of, I will have to go buy some more because we need them this afternoon and have wasted 2 hours looking for them. I waste a lot of time and resources on misplaced items.
It is a perpetual cycle and frankly it leads to a ton of discontentment in my life. I know I will never have a home that someone would walk in and be like “oh Martha Stewart lives here”, but I do want a home that when I walk in the anxiety of the chaos is not crushing me. I want to walk in and feel relief to be home instead of instant dread of all the tasks and organization that needs to be completed.
I have started small. I cleaned and organized two rooms, which were the easiest as they weren’t so cluttered it would take a small army to rectify the situation in a day. I have then maintained those rooms as I am working on tackling a room at a time. The progress is slow, some days I want to quit all together, but then I step into a space that is organized and decluttered and feel the peace hit my anxious soul and know that I must keep pushing on.
This process is literally the last thing I want to do with my time but is so important to my mental health. Living in chaos is extremely detrimental and as I journey to a whole self, I must deal with all of me. I am also trying to give myself grace, because I can be intense and push myself so hard. I will set expectations of myself that can’t be met. I might try to organize for 10 hours straight and if I don’t finish it could nag at my soul. My hope is to work a change into my whole being. If I organize and declutter for 3 hours that is amazing. I can then work time in that is solely devoted to my kids. The balance is so important and honestly it is the hardest part for me. I set a goal and if I don’t hit that goal in the specified time I have failed.
In the journey of creating a life of beauty and joy, I know that I need to address this. Maybe you can relate and if so, I feel you, I really do. Maybe you are super organized and this blog you are just thinking you poor dear, you just have to do it, trust me I know, easier said then done. Underneath it all, I have issues I am working on as I am decluttering. The mess sometimes feels like it represents my mind, CHAOS. Then I think could the clutter be contributing to the chaos of my mind? As I work on decluttering, I am working on my mental health and I can feel how they are connected. If I believe I am organized and that I can do it, it starts to take shape. I am trying to change this about myself, but it is not for the faint of heart my friends.
My goal in life is joy. In learning balance, I am finding joy. In learning that I am enough when I wake up in the morning and when I lay my head down, whether I folded 8 loads of laundry, ran a marathon, hiked a mountain, built sandcastles with my kids, or had a day soaking up the world around without a giant to-do list. I want to have days watching the sun rise, listening to my children play, and reading a book without feeling the pull of needing to do more.
To the clutter chaos, I am coming for you. It might take me right up until we pack those boxes for the next move. To those of you struggling with your own clutter chaos, hang in there and don’t give up. I can envision what it would feel like to have an organized house and I know that it will be worth wading through the chaos to get to the other side. You can break the cycles that are holding you back, it won’t be easy, but the reward is going to be worth it! Close your eyes and stand in the middle of your home and envision what it will look like. Let the feelings wash over you, now open your eyes and use that vision to fuel you!