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Saturday, October 13, 2012


Home clutter maintenance takes time.
Not a lot of time, but regular time.
I find it amazing and overwhelming how quickly everything can pile up
with just a few days of being-too-busy.
Too busy to do that regular evening sweep,
tidying up, recycling, returning books to their shelves,
coats to the closet, shoes to the Shoe Box, and above all,
papers to wherever they need to go.

I recognize that it is all about building habits.
My lovely mother-in-law, Mamie, is a home organizing genius.
She loves to clean, move furniture around, and rearrange drawers.
You could eat off the floor in her home (though she wouldn't let you).
It would not be recommended to do that in our home
unless you were trying to really prime your immune system.
Years ago, as I quizzed her on How She Did It,
I remember she said, "If you just take the time
to put each thing back in it's place after you use makes all the difference."

Of course, I scoffed: too simple! How could that solve our clutter problem?
Well, part of the problem back then, with limited storage,
was that not everything had a place to live.
 But now, many Goodwill bags out the door later, it does.
And it really does make the difference.

After just one week of attention spread in many other places,
when I forgot that the thirty seconds it takes to return something to its home is worth it in the end, our downstairs looks like a whirlwind hit it. Maybe I'm exaggerating, but it feels overwhelming to me. Paper piles. Magazine piles. Shoe piles. Homework binder piles. Things headed-out-the-door-but-not-there-yet piles.
And with all these piles, it's harder to find the floor to keep it clean.

So just like a monk sits down to meditate and takes the first breath, a runner heads out the door and takes the first step, a cook picks up the kitchen knife and prepares to cut the first vegetable, I have to learn to start from the beginning again every day. Pick up my first item, and return it to its home.
The simplest tasks performed again and again.
Back to basics. Building the habits. Home maintenance.

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