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No one likes decluttering, despite what Marie Kondo says

A look at the ‘clutter’ in the Foley household, which mom Jessica says she cannot and will not get rid of. Photo by Jessica Foley.

Clutter is my nemesis. Having kids and a small home (but not a tiny home) means too much stuff — all the time.

How do I deal with the clutter? I don’t.

Sure, sometimes I’ll sort the pile of mail on my dining room table, or make the kids reorganize the ‘toy’ area in hopes of making more space, but that never works.

And do I want to watch someone tell me how to get rid of my stuff? No. (Marie Kondo – I’m looking at you!)

I know how to get rid of my stuff. Throw it out, recycle it, donate it — I get it! But how do I get rid of things full of memories?

I don’t know about you, but all my clutter has meaning. It’s everything we’ve been doing — tickets and playbills from shows and concerts, artwork and schoolwork my kids create and bring home, mail (why do we get so much mail when everything is online now??) and general life bits and pieces.

These things don’t go away on their own. They sit around and wait for you to look at them, or actively throw them out. But every time you pick them up, there’s a memory attached.

And then there’s the clothes — I have about four pairs of ‘work pants’ and two pairs of jeans. I have to have a collection of shirts so I can make outfits that don’t all look the same from those six pair of pants! I will say I also have a few pieces that I very rarely wear, but I love them. And because I love them, I won’t get rid of them. Even if I haven’t worn them in a year.

To be honest I have not watched even one minute of Marie Kondo and her tidying up show. I don’t want to know how or why I gather so much stuff. (I know how and why — I have kids and a life!)

Quite frankly, if I want a tidier, clutter free-home, I need to move. And in moving, throw out half my stuff. That’s the only way I can get rid of clutter. But even that is not a true solution, because as long as there’s a place to gather ‘things,’ there will always be clutter in my life.

The problem with purging everything is it eventually all piles up again. The kids keep going to school, the mail keeps arriving, and I keep doing things in my life like concerts, shows and other fun stuff I want to remember.

Sometimes I have days of inspiration and I go out and buy some organizational tools (baskets for shelves, drawer units for the kids’ rooms), but then where do I put those? There won’t magically be some new space to put those organization tools into.

It’s like fighting a losing battle.

So I’ve nearly given up.

My home is messy. It will always be messy. Even after the kids move out, I’m sure.

But I’m accustomed to it. If you’re coming to visit me, I hope it’s me you’re visiting, and not my home. I will clear off a chair for you, or even the dining room table if you’re coming for dinner!

Don’t judge me on the state of my home. Piled up papers don’t make me a bad person — just a disorganized one.

And one who loves hanging onto her memories.

Jessica is a busy working mom who enjoys writing, editing, and blogging. She loves raising her family here in Kingston and tries hard to get out to all the amazing events around town.  You can find more of her writing on her blog A Modern Mom’s Life, and see what she gets up to with her family on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

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