Clutter Represents Possibility — Yeah, We Like That!!

One of our readers, K, submits the following to our real life/not style “This is Not a Lifestyle Blog” series.

K's House

I just took this picture of our house, and my husband and I had the following conversation:

E: (suspicious) What are you taking a picture of?
K: Our house.
E: …You’re not going to post that.
K: No. (not on my facebook page or website)
E: Good. Don’t. (he totally knows I am up to something that involves shame)
K: Why not?
E: Somebody will see it.
K: And?
E: We could get in trouble.
K: (What, like the Pinterest Police will show up with a warrant to remove to Mexican sugar mold that is behind all the piles of binders?) Don’t worry, you have to have, like, cat poop on the floor before CPS will take your kids away. Clutter on the credenza is insufficient grounds for removing children from the home. 
E: I still think we could get in trouble for it.
K: (laughing so hard I nearly snort)

He is lucky — if I were a truly evil wife, I would take a picture of his office. Think: trash compactor scene in Star Wars, but recreated with books, paper, and empty beer bottles awaiting recycling, including bonus items like D&D statuettes, a large papier mache volcano, musical instruments, a long cardboard tube that looks like the pipe Luke is holding in that picture, and a framed doctoral diploma.

Star Wars has nothing on us

Lucky for him, I kept it to the sideboard and my desk — my only “personal space” in the house aside from the one drawer of our dresser that only opens 5 inches before it is blocked by the foot of the bed. The desk presents a perpetual avanlanche risk, and this is better than it looks sometimes. I bark at the kids, “That is MOMMY’s space. Do not touch anything on there. It is all MAMA’s.” They are pretty compliant, save the times I have found that my address had been stamped on my desk, or when my keyboard was decorated with pencil and red pen. I do often find toys up there. The sideboard was clean two weeks ago, and now it has art supplies, a box of postcards, a pair of Doggles (our dog has been DEAD since October, and hadn’t worn said Doggles since 2004), empty photo frames waiting to be filled and hung on the wall, notebooks from my A&P classes, two piggy banks, and some tchotchkes and a lot of books on pregnancy and childbirth (this is actually their current storage location – great dining room decor, right?)

My old boss, Sara, said she read in a book that clutter represents possibility, and a too-orderly house is a sign of a person who isn’t up to anything interesting. Not sure if that’s true, but it’s a nice story to tell your messy self, right? Actually, in my case, the stacks and folders represent my classes, current and past doula client folders (the currents are in a particular spot up high on my desk and don’t filter down to the bottom), books I am reading, artwork from the kids, correspondence from family and DLSS. So, it is true that they represent all the activity and forward momentum of my life.

Thanks, K!! If you want to contribute pictures, images, or stories of your real life (not styled), send us an email at lauren(dot)clodi(dot)whitehead(at)gmail(dot)com. To see more in this series, check out our This is Not a Lifestyle Blog category to the right, or the page above.

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10 responses to “Clutter Represents Possibility — Yeah, We Like That!!

  1. Awesome. Looks just like my desk. And I love the idea of a real life vs. pinterest campaign. But I have to say that one of the things I like about writing a recipe blog is that the photos are so close up that I can pretend (to myself) that the clutter isn’t there. 🙂

  2. pinterest completely and totally befuddles me. why does anyone want to look at any of that? i experience it as a giant glossy catalog, or maybe a giant glossy Martha Stewart Living. i’ll go check out your thingy over there, if it is the antithesis of that.
    and also? love this clutter! especially that huge Tonka truck right there.

  3. Emmy, that would be awesome!

    Marian, I agree the truck makes the image!

  4. LOVE this! We are 4 people living in less than 1000 sq ft (ahhh NYC) so I would have to echo the “Star Wars has nothing on us” sentiment. Plus, I’m messy. I admit it (so long as my husband never finds your blog).

  5. Pingback: Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup « emmycooks

  6. Oh, how I LOVE this post! I’ve always said, “I am an organized person living in a disorganized house.” Deep down inside, I so desire to have that OCD home where everything is perfectly in it’s place, labeled and organized. I blame my cluttery home (and the 3-car garage that we cannot even park ONE car in) on my husband. And YES, he is messy. He can’t even remember to put the lid back on a jar of vitamins. But in all honesty, I am quite a contributor to the mess as well. Your blog gave me a really good laugh and a sense of camaraderie that put me at peace with the home office that is so cluttered, I am doing good to find my keyboard. I am going to get it clean… er, just not today. I was once told by my business coach that people that organize are always too busy doing just that. That I shouldn’t worry about it because many successful folks are very disorganized because they are too busy doing all the other things that make them good at what they do. But I love your words above even more: clutter represents possibility, and a too-orderly house is a sign of a person who isn’t up to anything interesting. Now those are words to live by. Or at least I’m going to tell myself that. 🙂

    • Thanks for writing, Alise! I have the opposite issue: I am messy, but my husband is very orderly. I don’t mind a bit of chaos but he feels like house clutter is mental clutter. Somehow we muddle through. Thanks for your comment!

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