Recently I was listening to a podcast on Focus on the Family with a woman called Sandra Felton. She started an organization called Messies Anonymous.
I’ll admit, when I read the summary of the podcast, I almost didn’t press play. It sounded a bit like a joke to me. Is messiness that much of a problem that there needs to be support group? Surely people can just get off their butts to clean their house instead of spending time meeting with and reading about their messiness problem.
Then Jesus told me to take a look around my house.
I am a messie. And I am not anonymous.
In this affluent, first-world country, we have the problem of too much stuff. Way too much stuff. It can be difficult to weed through all of the “stuff” we accumulate in order to get rid of what we actually don’t need or will not use.
As I listened to this podcast, Felton talked about two different kinds of people in this world: “cleanies” and “messies”. After giving a short blurb of each, I quickly realized that both my husband and I fall into the “messie” category, though I have the internal voice of a “cleanie” (my mother).
What does this mean?
This means that neither my husband nor I are naturals at keeping things tidy. We both tend to keep otherwise useless things for either sentimental value or possible future use. We both are not in the habit of putting things away as soon as we’re done using them. These small, seemingly insignificant habits mean that we can acquire a lot of junk very quickly.
In an effort to simplify our lives, we have continued to try to simplify our possessions. Though we both still struggle with putting things away or throwing things away as soon as we’re finished with them, we are working on this habit. We consult with the other when we feel there are items that would be best donated or thrown away instead of kept unused.
I recently cleaned out my half of the closet, removing all of the clothes I haven’t worn in a year or more, didn’t like the way it looked on me, or didn’t particularly like the style of. I was shocked to find how little clothes I actually had left. Importantly, though, everything I had left in my closet were things I loved and looked good on me. Fortunately, my closet cleanout inspired my husband to do the same. He too was left with much less clothing that he truly liked to wear.
Decluttering, cleaning out, and keeping organized are always struggles in our household and have been even well before we had children. Though we are learning how to deal with this problem, I’m interested to hear how my readers take care of clutter. What have you found that helps?