Sometimes my world is all about my kids: getting them to birthday parties, scheduling well-child checks with the doctor, replacing the broken bow for the violin, dental appointments, football practice, etc. Lots of times it’s about the everyday basics of living, such as ordering more oil for the furnace, making sure we have something to eat, clean dishes so we don’t get food poisoning, clean clothes even though I’m not going to iron them and maybe won’t even hang them up for days. And sometimes my world is all about my husband and enjoying the relationship I have with him. I should spend more time in this world.
Rarely—read never—do I spend time in Spotless House World. I wish my house was clean and everything in place, but I don’t have a magic genie to grant me wishes. Hmm, maybe if I dusted that old lamp…
But occasionally, I do reside in that OMG-Someone-Is-At-The-Door-And-How-Come-I-Never-Noticed-This-Crap-All-Around-Me World. That happened last week. I completely forgot about the appraiser coming. In fact, I was still in my PJs, which was humiliating enough, but all of a sudden, huge piles of things that required my attention popped up all over the place. It was as if I had an anti-genie.
Then to rub salt into the gaping wound created by my super ego—Thanks a lot, bud. Where were you last weekend?—the appraiser needed pictures of every interior room. Wow! Just what I needed, a record of my inadequacy as a housekeeper.
But shame is a powerful motivator, so now I’m on a kick to purge my house of unnecessary stuff. I started with the kitchen last weekend, because we are preparing for a remodel. It was a good time to get rid of some things, but it’s not always easy to part with personal belongings. Why is that? It’s just stuff. Only it’s not just stuff.
Many items have memories attached to them, or possibly represent aspirations, such as the margarita glasses in the cabinet above the refrigerator. When I see those glasses, I have visions of Cinco de Mayo parties with lots of friends laughing and having a good time, but the reality is there have been fourteen May 5ths come and go since my husband and I received those glasses for our wedding. The truth is I don’t make margaritas. I don’t even like the taste of lime! So, why am I holding on?
Well, if I lie down on my couch and analyze myself, I think certain objects symbolize what I want more of in my life. Not alcohol or tacos, but joy and friendship. By giving these items up, it feels like I'm giving up the dream. Yet if I’m really, really honest with myself, collectively these things are a barrier to me getting what I desire in my life.
Because my house is cluttered, I don’t want to have others over to socialize. In addition, I don’t have a peaceful environment in which to write because I have these things creating visual noise and oppressive energy. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’m not a hoarder. The show Clean House makes me hyperventilate, and I start cleaning my own house five minutes in. But I think I’m like many others who just have too much stuff that is interfering with complete contentment.
Gee! Thank you, therapist self. I feel much more enlightened now. You’re welcome. That will be $200. Grr… I should have hired a housekeeper instead.
Is there anything acting as a barrier to what you want in your life? Or, if you’ve already overcome a barrier, how did you do it?