Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Chaos to order, more or less

What motivates you to clean up? I'm sorting through things. Again. It's 2am in a busy week of coach training but I can't sleep so here I am. Madness? Maybe. Hopefully temporary.

"I wish I could move in here!" That's the comment our guest keep repeating. "It's calm and uncluttered, not like my place." That calm comes at a high cost.

One rule of science drilled into our heads in high school said that everything descends from order to increasing chaos, or "everything is running down," not evolving into something better.

Most of us periodically fight the descent into disorder. We have surges of organizing, bouts of housekeeping, and indulge in spring cleaning. Some people naturally run toward order. Their floors are always vacuumed, their cabinet shelves immaculate behind closed doors, and their cars washed.

Since May, I've sorted, sold, and given away life-as-we-knew-it. Every time I get a little breathing space, I get another dump of stuff to sort. In the wee hours of this morning, I'm going through sewing things = a serger manual going back upstairs for the serger the kids said they wanted; the manual and bobbins for the beloved Bernina sewing machine claimed by our daughter; and a huge bag of donations for curbside pickup this morning.

What an ongoing chore for me as well as for my daughter-in-law, who's expecting a baby imminently and excavating her own boxes upstairs. Just when I think things are claimed (or slated to give away), we start another round with the same stuff. "Didn't you say you wanted this?" Oh yes we do. Oh no we don't. It's frustrating and exhausting for both of us.

I throw china, crystal, pictures, and books into bags and send them to the curb. Just don't care anymore. Don't want to touch them for the third time. Don't want to think about them. Don't care if they smash. Don't care if they get tossed.

With each donation pickup, my piles get fewer and thinner. W hasn't started on his stuff in the attic, garage or his office. I don't have to deal with that. I'm almost done with my end.

We crave order for many reasons. Are you an occasional or perpetual order-maker? Which of these match your motivation?

  1. That's the way it works best: we have limited space and time and order makes everything run more smoothly (my mom's motivation. She gets satisfaction from keeping a clean house.)
  2. Seasons and holidays: guests are coming so we put our best foot forward. We clean and decorate, viewing the rooms with fresh eyes.
  3. Exhaustion: we're tired of dusting and moving too many things so we declutter with garage sales and donation runs.
  4. Reinvention: we're ready for something new. We're spurred on by our New Year's resolutions or a shift in thinking. Our flurry of cleaning reflects our good intentions.
  5. Boredom: we are tired of the old, refreshing our spaces with new decor.
  6. Fashion: we pick up a decor magazine and realize that our 80s broadloom carpet and tufted sofas have seen better days. It's time for hardwood and clean lines.
  7. Relocation: moving to a different community or space.
  8. Life change: the new season of work or life doesn't fit the old life. Going back to school and need space on our desk for textbooks and a laptop? The kids have moved out and we can set up an office or workshop? They moved back in and we have to give up space?
  9. Other - why do you create (or crave) order?

1 comment:

  1. I clean up as I go - so nothing ever looks cluttered. The older I get, the more I find myself wanting to simplify even more.

    RETA@ http://evenhaazer.blogspot.com