Guest blogger, Kristy Patterson, gives us the dirt on household clutter and cleaning up after the new year.
First Confession- My house is disorganized and I’m mad as hell! As I rang in the new year with my husband and a small group of our friends I thought about all the things I want to do in 2017. Start writing more regularly, work harder on my paintings, make new contacts to collaborate on creative projects and ultimately start my own podcast. A to-do list that I felt excited to start on January 1st, that is until I found myself standing in my kitchen looking around at the mess which is my house. Thinking of all the creative ideas I have floating around in my head and how to make them viable has always been exhilarating for me, like a pure high, perhaps like the ones runners experience, though I can’t be sure since I abhor intense exercise.
So as my mind wandered from creative thought to present moment reality it became abundantly clear to me that my lack of organization could be hindering my creative efforts. As I glanced around my kitchen and living room with its empty Amazon shipping boxes, shoes, clothes, blankets for forts, legos, wrestling figures and their gear, my husbands work stuff and about a pound of opened and unopened mail loosely stacked on every available surface my blood began to boil and I had “one of those moments” where you want to scream, run away and just start a new life somewhere else, or maybe that’s just me. Instead of fleeing, I took the high road and turned my frustration on my husband who was sitting quietly amongst the disarray playing a video game on his iPad. “When are WE ever going to do something about this house?!” I bellowed out in the otherwise quite room. Of course my husband wasn’t ready for this level of emotion about something that we have both contributed to in our own way and expressed that he just assumed that I had grown to be “fine” with the continual clutter in our home. More unproductive words were exchanged between us before my husband skulked off to the farthest corner of our house and I stood in the kitchen crying tears of frustration. Happy freaking New Year I though to myself as I tried to lick my wounds and soothe myself back to composure.
Admittedly my living space has been disorganized my whole adult life. A stark contrast to my childhood having a mother who is an obsessive compulsive clean freak and a queen of household organization. I wish a healthy tad of that had rubbed off on me but alas all I was gifted was the depression gene and and memories of my mother kicking us out of the house to play for hours as she toiled away cleaning and organizing. I was never asked or even directed to assist, simply shoved out the door with my younger brother a cup of Kool-Aid and maybe a snack to appease us so what went on inside was truly a mystery to me. My mother was praised or rather renowned amongst family and friends for her domestic attributes. So as I stand in my own kitchen surrounded by clutter at 42 with my own family I once again feel angry with myself and cheated by my ineffectual upbringing. Damn you mom! Surely this is somehow all YOUR fault! In as much as that thought may hold some deeper merit it does little to combat all the plastic bins and piles of random items laying next to them in my spare bedroom which is designated to become our little adult escape room and future podcast/creative arts studio.
After an hour or so of “me time” I was ready to face my family again. In my deepest moments of frustration about my messy house I realized, as if for the first time THIS IS MY MESS and I have to clean it up. By that I don’t mean the physical labor of lifting and stacking heavy boxes those duties I will still leave to my husband and son, but with a new caveat. I will be directing them, you know, the this needs to go here and please stack that there and maybe let’s mark some of these bins for future reference so we don’t have to tear the house apart looking for someone’s long lost item or cherished keepsake.
The hardest part of being a disorganized mother and wife is that your family is looking to YOU to run the inner workings of the home. Whether or not you still have career aspirations, or you have Fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid Arthritis or depression or you are going through early menopause or have a crazy extended family to deal with. Even if aliens came down and snatched your body and beamed you back home as only a fully functional head on a stick, as a wife and mother you would STILL be looked to for answers to questions like “What did you do with my dress shoes?” “Whatever happened to that shirt I used to wear all the time?” “Where’s that letter from so and so it was really important?” “I have no idea where my backpack is, where did you put it?” “Why is the floor so sticky?” And my personal favorite question, “When was the last time the such and such was cleaned?” ….Ha! You know what they say, “If you have to ask.”
So in the spirit of living with less clutter and taking more control over things I actually have control of in life I am going to put more effort into my domestic disaster area in hopes of making my creative self and my family feel more at ease in our home. I will make no grandiose promises on how each day I will bust my butt to achieve a perfectly organized home but I do vow to stop walking past the same items over and over expecting someone to magically make them disappear into the perfect spot and start being more proactive on where in hell I want to put this stuff and getting rid of what we clearly don’t need.
Kristy Patterson was born in Saint Louis, Missouri and grew up in Ferguson, Missouri. I graduated high school in 1992 and then floundered as a bartender and sometime cocktail waitress until I was 26 and enrolled in junior college for Mass Communications. After many semesters in J.C. I transferred to a four year state school and ultimately landed at the only “Liberal Arts” university I could find in my region, Webster University. I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Public Relations in 2006 and my Masters in Marketing/Advertising in 2009. In between I moved in with my husband and we had our son in 2007. In 2010, after losing our home we moved to Southern Illinois, about 30 minutes from the Saint Louis area. I’ve written poetry and short stories, worked in freelance journalism, Ad Sales, Co Owned a small Advertising publication, volunteered for women’s rights organizations, campaigned religiously for political candidates, protested on more than one occasion and picked up painting as a means of creative outlet, always bartending in between. I also love to travel almost anywhere, pet every dog and help empower other women to be the best version of themselves