Do you think this saying is true? Tidy house, tidy mind? I know that when my house is relatively tidy I “feel” a lot calmer and I know that the state of my house is usually a reflection of my state of mind so I guess in that sense there IS truth in the saying. I also know that when I visit people with tidy houses I feel ‘house envy’ and wonder to myself at length “how on earth do they do it!!?”
Right now, for instance, there are little pockets of clutter all over my house. Some on view, some stuffed in cupboards. I work REALLY hard to stay on top of everything but it’s not easy to maintain. A LOT happens in my house. There are 4 of us living here – myself, my partner and our two children, as well as our two furballs (our cats Lenny and Frankie), plus I work from home and my partner also has a lot of his paperwork here too. We have a myriad of musical instruments- used to varying degrees – we eat here, sleep here, work here, laugh here, love here, play here….it’s a busy busy house. On a good day the downstairs is tidy – I try to stay on top of the kitchen and the living and dining areas because these are communal spaces and were anyone to pop by unannounced (heaven forbid!!) these would at least be presentable – not always achieved mind you! So I guess this could represent the part of my mind that needs to keep on top of things – family life (in my house at least) only works well – i.e. without stress – when it runs like a well-oiled machine. When things don’t run so smoothly chaos reigns and the house invariably gets messier!
With regard to each individual room, however, well, that’s another story. Neither of my children spend any time clearing up, my partner is pretty much the same (sorry Marcel- but you know it’s true!), and my office, oh dear- best not mention that. You know what my daughter said to me the other day? I was finding it physically difficult to be in her room because of her mess – not because I couldn’t get in but because it was making me hyperventilate – (I should add that I DO tidy her room- she just messes it up again in no time at all) so I conveyed this observation to her in the nicest possible way, and do you know what she said? “Well, the rest of the house is messy!!” I mean, is that any excuse? :-) I was quite horrified though that she would make this remark because I try very hard to keep things tidy – it’s a full time job and I don’t have that much time to do it in – but I do genuinely try, I just have a LOT of other things to do too! **I should mention I’m referring to clutter not general cleanliness here – please don’t imagine us living in a pig sty!! ;-)** Plus we go out a lot as a family – we don’t stay in at weekends to tidy up – we like to take the children out into the fresh air whenever possible – so we don’t have those days when we stay home specifically to tidy up. I just fit it in around everything else that happens during the day or when work is quiet….
The problem also is that we have outgrown our house and do not have a loft space either (it was converted before we moved here into a fourth bedroom) and so the usual “dumping ground” of most houses is sadly lacking in ours. However, this has the positive effect of making me deal with ‘some’ of our clutter on a frequent basis (as I literally have nowhere to put it!) and so in that sense- as a reflection of the state of my mind – there is movement, albeit slow. I am CONSTANTLY giving things to charity, I recycle whatever can be recycled, give things away to family, school, toys to nursery, etc. but despite this active de-cluttering the piles of ‘stuff’ never seem to go down. Why IS that!? New things seem to be coming into the house quicker than the old things are leaving it. Birthdays and Christmas – particularly presents for the children – become this time of dread for me as I know I’ll have to find space for even MORE stuff!! (They LOVE it of course though!)
As you can see I have a lot of rooms to cover and obviously not enough time. I dream of the day when all the rooms are clutter-free (am I setting my aspirations too low here?) and when positive energy can flow freely around the house without getting stuck amongst the piles of mess :-) I pray that this day will come and at the same time bring with it a clutter-free mind too that won’t keep me awake at night *sigh*…When this miraculous day arrives- when my house is tidy and my mind too- what then? I came across another saying “Tidy House, Empty Mind” – is this empty as in nothing’s going on? Or empty as in blissfully clear- like in a state of meditation? Alas, in all honesty, considering the years of working towards this blissful state of a truly tidy house (no clutter hidden in boxes either), I’m not convinced this will ever apply to me. A girl can dream though, can’t she!?