What’s your deal-breaker?

Sharing another secret today … I’m okay with a little bit of clutter around the house!

Barefeet Mop, deal-breaker, clutter, straighten your paths, organizationI’m a firm believer that each and every one of us has a deal-breaker, that one thing that we just can’t live with in our homes. For me, it’s dirt. Walking across the kitchen floor barefoot and crunching on ‘stuff’ makes me crazy!  Using the powder room and seeing water splashed all over the vanity and mirror … yep, that too.  However, I can walk past the bench in the garage that is heaped with all things my family drops before walking into the house. And … I can, and do, have a pile of papers in my cubby that I’ll clean out ‘some day.’

The danger comes with too much of anything, right? My co-worker, Cindy, tells us that when we enter a room our brain does a subliminal inventory of the entire visible contents of that room. We can’t help it, we can’t control it, we can’t stop it; it just happens. So, the more clutter, the bigger the mental inventory. Makes sense, yes?

So I hang out in my house for at least part of each day. I walk in and out of all the rooms while my brain does its inventory thing. (Could this be why we walk into a room and forget why we’re there?) Everything’s happy, everything’s fine. THEN, one of my children can’t find something! What’s the first Mom Child Horn, deal-breaker, clutter, straighten your paths, organizationthing they do? They shout, “Mom! Where’s my ___?!” Zing! My brain immediately starts flipping through the inventory. I know I’ve seen this “thing.” I can almost access the mental image, but there are so many images! At times, I can tell them right where it is without even realizing I knew where “it” was – like my brain knew I would need that one thing and placed a mental post-it note on it. Other times, I have to slow down, picture myself moving around the house, mentally scanning. Sometimes it works. Sometimes, I’m as stumped as they are.

This is where we moms become victims of our clutter. The more clutter, the more stressful it is to locate things. For some reason, most of us feel responsible for finding things for our children. Frankly, here at my house, I find it temporarily easier to find things for my people because we move on faster and get out the door on time. I say temporarily because the kids are not learning for themselves how to keep track of their own things by putting them where they belong. What I’m training them to do is to continue shouting for my help. What I’m training myself to do is to go into crisis mode, wracking my brain and giving up my own agenda until things are found. Maybe the silver lining is that I’m inadvertently keeping my aging brain exercised? Now, if I could just find my keys and my phone … 😉

Hang in there … they’ll be off to school SOON,


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