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I live in clutter.  I’m positive it is not good for my health because the dust bunnies make me sneeze when I sort through stacks of boxes yet to be unpacked from my move a year-and-a-half ago.  And my back goes into spasms when I bend to pick up the clutter without using my leg muscles.

When I was a child I used the excuse that I was a scatterbrain and didn’t know any better.  As a teenager, I used my sister, who shared a room with me; that it was all her fault the room stayed a mess.  That worked again in college when I shared a room with four other girls in the sorority house.  One could only function in chaos, certainly in those conditions!  Then came marriage and four children and honestly who keeps a perfect home without clutter?  But now, it’s just me and my husband and still there are stacks of clutter throughout our home (except his office which is pristine and perfect.)

I tell people (and myself) that my clutter is organized; that I know exactly what is in every stack, box, shelf and desk drawer, but in truth I don’t.  I have an idea, but that’s all.  And I know in my heart that the clutter is unhealthy and not good for my well-being.  This I know, because when I take the time to clean up I feel the rewards, even when they may be embarrassing.

Years ago, when I was a young mother of two, we celebrated a birthday party for my two-year-old.  Back in those days, birthday parties were at homes, not places.  I worked like a dog, as the saying goes, cleaning my house, going through piles of papers, projects, crafts, toys, etc. to clear out the clutter.  One table (an antique chest) in my kitchen was a catch all for most of the junk.  I happened to walk up from behind to find my two sister-in-laws standing in front of the chest.  They were commenting on the fact that they had never seen the top of the trunk.  I laughed and said, “I heard that.”  I was hurt, but only for a second; for it was true and they meant no harm.  Just like my seven year-old granddaughter did not mean to hurt my feelings when she walked into my house the other day and said, “Mimi, you cleaned off the table.”  I had been using the table in the kitchen for some projects and it had been weeks since I had cleared it off.  I laughed and asked her to help me with the centerpiece, an antique wooden compote that belonged to my mother.

If we don’t take the time to clear out the clutter in our life, then we are not letting people see the real us.  And now in my age of wisdom, (baby boomer years), I’ve come to realize that clutter is a metaphor for hiding the real me.   I need to wake up and let people see who I really am.  I might just be surprised to see how anxious they are to see who I really am!

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