Yesterday, my mom asked me to drive her to the home of an elderly woman who needed her house cleaned. Mama has a “cleaning anointing”, if there is such a thing. All my life, I’ve known mama to have the ability to make a place sparkle with even the most basic of cleaning supplies. So it’s no surprise that word of her abilities sort of travels.
I dropped her off at the woman’s home and returned after a couple of hours. When mama got in the car, I could tell she was frustrated. She began to tell me how the home was nothing like she anticipated and that the biggest issue was the clutter.
She said there was stuff everywhere, even in the bathtub. Stuff was piled on top of the kitchen table, leaving the table useless. Stuff was piled on top of the kitchen counters, leaving the counter tops useless.
There were clothes everywhere that clearly weren’t being worn but were taking up space in the bedroom..
There was even a MOUSE!
Ok, that right there would have sent me running for the hills, but my mama is a good ol’ country woman who’s seen her fair share of rodents and other such creeping things.
After listening to my mother describe this home,  I couldn’t help but realize just how deadly clutter can be.
Here was an elderly woman almost entombed by clutter. She couldn’t bathe in her own tub. She couldn’t prepare meals in her own kitchen. Clutter had changed the original purpose and intent of her furniture and living spaces. I said to my mama, “Imagine how much better she’d feel if all that stuff was gone and her space was clean? Imagine how much brighter the house would feel and her health might even start improving”.
Mama agreed.
I also agreed.
We may not live like hoarders, surrounded by piles upon piles of things we’ll never get around to using in our lifetimes, but oftentimes, our hearts and minds are cluttered. We strain under the weight of past relationships, grudges, animosity and spite. We shoulder the burden of trying to maintain relationships that have stopped being mutually beneficial. We pump resources into things that take up space but change the purpose of what they’re resting on. Clutter changes you. It takes away your ability to be who you are.
It’s time to let some things go.
Mama mentioned how she was only able to throw away a small grocery bag full of trash because the woman was so emotionally attached to her clutter.
How sad it is when trash becomes our treasure.
How very tragic it is when we can’t even see how the things we’re straining to hold on to are actually the source of our unhappiness and sometimes, our poor health.
Oh, and let’s not forget about dear Mr. Mouse! I told mom that the reason the woman couldn’t catch him was because he had plenty of places to hide! Clutter not only makes you a prisoner of your own home, it creates a home for things you really don’t want; disgusting things. Harmful things. Pests and scavenging things. Clutter keeps dirty little secrets well fortified until they erode everything around them.
I’m not telling you to spend your weekend cleaning out your closet or your garage, even though you’re welcome to do that if you wish. It’s a start. But I am suggesting that we all spend a little time looking at our lives and identifying the clutter. Maybe it’s a job that you know pays the bills but is costing you your health and your good years with your family. Maybe it’s that relationship that takes up space in your life but it’s toxic and leaves you feeling like you’re worthless. Maybe it’s that addiction that you’ve tried to deny for a very long time but now, it’s becoming so big, you can barely contain it. Whatever it is, think about that elderly woman my mother tried to help yesterday.
Think about how she’s living in a home she can’t even bathe in, a kitchen she can’t cook in and a table she can’t eat on. Think about how clutter is slowly choking the life out of her.
And when you do, decide that piece by piece, and bit by bit, it’s time to let go of the clutter in your life…
Before it kills you.