Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Unclutter My Brain. Unclutter My Home.

The truth of the matter is I have ADD.  What that means is that I have too many things going at the same time, which causes my focus to become extremely divided.  For instance, I now have nine (NINE!) tabs open on Firefox.  Why?  Because I'm afraid I'll forget something important:  to follow a new blog, or read the advice on uncluttering, or researching domain names, or Facebook.  Yes, I'm afraid I'll forget Facebook.  Or maybe I'm too lazy to close the tab and log in each time I want to access it.

In my home, ADD means having too many projects going at the same time.  The result of that?  Hundreds of unfinished projects and items that are half put away.  Since I learned about having ADD a year ago, I now make a conscious effort to complete the task I am doing.  I will actually recite - sometimes out loud (hello, crazy person) - a mantra that goes something like this, "Put away the laundry.  Put away the laundry.  No, don't wrap birthday presents yet.  Put away the laundry."  Surprisingly it works.

The point of organizing my own stuff, my house, my brain (tangent alert: yesterday, I spent 1 1/2 hours at a coffee shop answering email, writing emails I had been needing to compose, and putting important dates on my desk and phone calendars!), is not only to lessen my own anxiety, but to set a good example for my kids through modeling.  I began the process of uncluttering the house last spring with designated hooks and baskets strategically located around the house for shoes and toys and balls and coats and backpacks.  Now, the kids come home from school and know to go to the mudroom and hang up their coats and backpacks without me fussing at them.  Success!

But now, I realize, I have to dig deeper than surface cleaning.  I have always known that my external clutter has been a messy manifestation of my internal muck.  My friend First Laura pointed me to two websites that discuss the psychology of clutter.  This particular website offers a book review of The Joy of Less, which frankly might scare you straight(ening).  I'm holding onto a ton of shit for silly reasons and it's keeping me stuck.  If I can purge my stuff, either by selling, donating or tossing in the trash can, these authors believe I might feel less distracted, and consequently, my kids might start letting go of all of the plastic crap littering their bedrooms. 

I'll get right on that after I check Facebook and open the mail.