I find that often the mess that clutters my mind is the mess that stays hidden or the mess that people don’t see when they pop by for a brief visit. It’s the clutter behind closed doors or inside the boxes.
All that hidden clutter can actually weigh you down way more than the clutter that is out in the open. When it’s in the open, you can look around and estimate a time it might take to tidy up a space. When it’s hidden, you have no clue how long it will take, AND you have no idea what kind of rabbit hole you will stumble upon if you open one of those spaces!
The visible clutter is the stuff that every household has a bit of. Especially if people pop by unannounced. The kids are actively playing, so of course, there are toys out, that’s the visible clutter. Or, we just ate dinner, so there are a few dishes out. But even if the house appears tidy, there may still be some hidden clutter lurking around – and THAT is what haunts me more.
Getting rid of the hidden clutter is the ultimate win!
For me, the basement is my big source of “just shove it in the storage room, or the pantry, and we’ll deal with it later.” We don’t have nearly as much down there as we did before the big Purge (if you haven’t read that post yet, you can read about those shenanigans here!).
I have created a system for myself that gives me time to explore what I have hidden, but not necessarily deal with it all at once – that’s just way too overwhelming!!
The hidden clutter exploration hour!
I call it my HCEH time or my exploring time. I give myself one hour, and one hour ONLY! This is where my timer comes in handy! I only have an hour, so I can’t get into the details of any one space for too long, but it is enough time to find some of the areas that have hidden clutter. As I go around the house for that hour, I start compiling a bit of a to-do list of the areas that really do need more time. While I am at it, and seeing all the clutter anyway, I pull out anything that I truly was not missing! I don’t give myself much time to think, so it’s easier to be a bit objective about the stuff. Digging around in boxes or in closets makes it harder to forget about your stuff long term. Also, knowing what kind of hidden clutter you need to tackle can better prepare you to actually tackle it. Maybe that box in the basement that you thought for years was holding hundreds of items, actually only has a few things in it – and they are useful now! You wouldn’t have known if you hadn’t spent some time exploring it first.
Building up the anticipation of dealing with clutter can be the very thing that holds you back from dealing with clutter. We can make it such a huge job that it becomes impossible to accomplish in any reasonable amount of time. By taking the time to explore first, can make it all seem more manageable. It may even make you realize that the space you dread, will actually be fairly quick to sort!
Don’t be afraid of the hidden clutter! It’s better to see and know what you have than to let it build up into the impossible clutter monster under your bed! Once you have fought off the monster, you will realize how free you feel!
Start your own hidden clutter exploration hour! Start where you are most afraid of all the clutter!