When the kids were small, we tried to carry out as much clutter as we brought in. If we got a new toy, something old had to be put away or given away. Around Christmas-time, we tried to do a toy sort before the gifts showered in.
As the kids grew, summertime garage sale-ing become a fun activity. I would let them choose large items that I wouldn’t normally buy. If it was only a few dollars, why not?
With four kids in a house, things could rapidly get out of control. One year, the house, yard and garage got so bad that we rented a large dumptster. It sat in the driveway for a week while we de-cluttered. It was heavenly! All the big rocks and tree limbs from the yard – gone! Excess clutter in the garage – gone! Each person in the house got rid of unwanted, unused items.
If items were valuable, we would give them away. But with a bunch of kids banging on stuff, it wears out pretty thoroughly. We could destroy the indestructible! The same summer of the dumpster, we also got rid of a huge wooden play set. As we were assembling our family, someone gave us this enormous yard set, complete with swings, slide and a fort. It was well-used when we got it, and the kids trashed it thoroughly. As the nails started to pop out and the slide fell off, we figured it was time to dissemble. It was effortlessly disposed of in the dumpster.
Since then, I have recommended the one-in-a-family lifetime practice of renting a dumpster to everyone who struggles with clutter.
As the kids have grown, their stuff has expanded. Our house has more than ample space with 9 rooms and a full attic, but it still is cramped. Bigger kids just have bigger stuff.
The clutter bothers me more in the winter. Being cooped up in the house tends to make me notice the mess more.
My messiness is a choice. I’m the one who doesn’t take the time to organize my papers or sort my clothes thoroughly. I “do art” as a way to use my right brain more and art is inherently messy. Is clutter my free choice?
Or do I have a surface disorder, due to the deficit of empty surfaces in my environment?