The Satisfaction of Uncluttered Space


Blooming jade plant, California. My friends were amused by our surprise at flowers – outside – in January. We do have a cactus in our yard, though (under the snow).

It was cold last weekend – even for Minnesota in January. All of us, including the dog, were more excited about getting home than about taking a walk. I can never just sit around for very long, though, and with the outcome of our hygge conversation fresh in our mind, I began working on what was obviously needed around the house – tackling all the piles.

Maybe you know the ones I mean.

The basket of clean clothes, the hamper of dirty clothes, and the pile of worn-but-not-dirty clothes.
The papers to be filed, the papers to be shredded, and the papers of undecided future.
The random things that never got put away after the last two trips.
The piles of books on either side of the bed.

While I was at it, I vacuumed and dusted and washed the newly-visible surfaces. I took care of various small tasks, too. I cooked some new recipes and made foods for the week. I washed a stain off a lampshade that had been there, turned to the wall, for an embarrassing length of time. I turned some random soft fabrics into small blankets for the cat shelter. I changed the battery in my grandmother’s clock, which has been running slowly for a month (yes, I was procrastinating on a 5-minute task).

By the time I was done, the house had a whole new vibe – more peaceful than it’s been since… well, probably since the last time we had houseguests.  And when I sat down to read that evening and caught a glimpse of the room, I felt very satisfied and relaxed.

I am always gratified by the results of an organizing or decluttering afternoon, and I always imagine that someday, I will manage to always keep spaces in that condition, from the kitchen cabinet that always becomes disorganized to the dusty, cluttered laundry room.  And maybe I will.  While 10 minutes each day could greatly reduce the need for a monthly cleaning event, the truth is that many days I’m too tired after working, driving, and cooking for even those 10 more minutes.

So, to resolve this ironic loop of clean house is self care, but self is too tired to clean, I’m going to look to my family.  If 10 minutes will make a difference, that’s just over 3 minutes each – roughly one quick chore for everyone.  And here’s where I can use one of my strengths – designing a system.


2 thoughts on “The Satisfaction of Uncluttered Space

  1. I LOVE so much about this! 1) I did the same yesterday! Didn’t get it done, but SOOOOO much better, I crossed off about 10 line items on the 700 item long to-do list, and I involved the kids and they liked it a lot. We mainly cleaned off my dresser, dusted the cobwebs, put detritus away but what a big difference that makes. One tiny area but a big deal to me because I like to maintain it as a mini sanctuary. 2) Systems! Systems! Systems! I love me some systems. We have done a bit of this lately and it’s helped but it’s been hard to get it to stick. The main one that’s been helping the most is that after supper we all have to put away our plates (to the dirty dishes area) and wipe off the table before eating dessert. Tonight it’s not working. They are too wound up after being cooped up for 3 days. *bah*


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s