Invasion of the Clutter

Friday, January 22, 2010

Without meaning to, we've accumulated so many things around our house it scares me to death. Literally. Paper piles and misplaced odds and ends knock the wind and the vitality of life right out of me.

The self-designated "no-drop zones" often turn into prime dumping grounds for papers, pictures, mail and extra hardware. We get a new armchair and the extra plastic pieces end up on the dining room table. They then sit there for weeks. Each time I take in the disorderly mess on the table, I lose a little bit of sleep.

I think I've just uncovered the reason for my insomnia. Others may dream about little morbid dolls that come to life or losing a molar. But I, oh poor little me, dream of being buried alive beneath mounds of paper clips, cracker packaging, dust and other easily accumulated nonsense. All those small "projects" around the house invade my consciousness until REM is no longer possible. I tell you these pesky piles of junk on the table are alive. They are sources of negative energy for sure. They steal my attention, jeopardize my relationships and wear me down, one paper-thin layer at a time.

To be sure, I am not obsessive compulsive. I allow wrinkles in bedsheets and marks on the walls and the occasional dropped pea to be left on the floor for one of the four-legged creatures to find--just please no shoes on the off-white upstairs carpet. And for God's sake, no clipping your nails in the living room.

The perfect antidote would be to light candles and let the imperfections fade into the background. Everything looks better in candlelight. And place a pretty basket by the front door, a designated "dumping zone" that you don't mind looking at. After all, to combat all the "no-drop zones," there has to be at least one "dumping zone."

I do let certain things go, but only to a point. And sometimes it feels like I'll never be able to breathe or venture into certain rooms for fear that a pesky pile will consume me. Once you let the scum build on the bathroom curtain, the salty winter shoe marks to linger on the linoleum, the cobwebs to climb the ceilings and the piles to overcome every open flat surface for too is certain death.

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