It may surprise you to learn that my house is often filled with clutter.
Yes, yes, hard to believe, but it’s true. With two kids, a dog, an indeterminate amount of cats (who seem to wink in and out of existence like quantum particles) and then, y’know, me, things don’t always end up where they belong. A place for everything, they say, and everything in its place.
Not in this house. In this house it’s more like A place for everything, but sometimes just for today I’m really tired so that thing will just go over there with those things, and I know that isn’t where it really goes but bollocksed if I can drag myself down the stairs and back up the stairs again after to put it in its real place.
Things, in other words, pile up.
But never fear. I have for you today a simple, step-by-step process for dealing with the clutter in your own home; a process which has worked for me more times than I can count and is guaranteed to produce results. (Just maybe not the results you expected or wanted.)
- Notice clutter.
- Summon the will to care and then to do something about it. (Don’t be discouraged if this step takes a day or four.)
- Consider the proper place for the clutter, and measure the convenience of that place against your willpower from step #2.
- If you don’t know the proper place, ask your wife.
- If she’s not there, or if she sasses you for not knowing, take a nap and start over.
- Okay, let’s be serious. If you start putting things away now, you’re going to feel silly if you don’t clean the entire room, and since nobody has time for that, let’s just tidy up the clutter a bit. Push it to an unobtrusive corner of the table. Tuck it into a corner. Hide it under your sleeping dog’s backside. Be creative!
- Or, for bonus points, make the clutter more intrusive to encourage your future self to clean up the clutter sooner. Moving a stack of junk into the hallway so that it must be looked at / stepped around several times an hour is effective. As is putting whatever’s in the way on the kitchen counter so that you can’t cook until it’s dealt with also works.
- Focus all your mental energy into ignoring the clutter. Breathe deeply. Feel the energy of the universe flowing through you. Meditate on what it would be like to be a feather tossed on the breeze. Feathers can’t clean up clutter, and neither should you have to.
- Become overwhelmed and slowly panic inside, but continue not to do anything about it. You really need that “spiders crawling inside your skin” feeling for the next step.
- Wait for the weekend (which is what you were always going to do anyway) and clean the entire room.
- As you’re cleaning the first room, you may find yourself cluttering up a second room. Be careful not to start the cycle over again. Leaving the lights off as you clean can be particularly helpful for this.
- Relax in your newly uncluttered room.
- If you live alone — congrats, you’re done! You might not enter the cycle again for months. If you are married, you might get a week or so. Pets, a few days. If you have kids, expect to begin the cycle again within an hour.
This post brought to you by me stubbing my toe three times on a crate I put in the hallway so that future me would put it away properly at some undetermined time in the future.
It has since been properly put away and replaced with a fake potted plant.