Lisa Hess considers her trigger points regarding the clutter others in the family leave around the house.
My house is not perfect. There are definitely spots where clutter collects but, alternatively, there are spaces that I keep clear. Staying organized takes work and, as a result, I don't have a lot of patience when someone else messes up what I've cleaned up.
Like so many other parents, I’m finding that a fringe benefit of the pandemic has been having my young adult child move back home while she tries to determine the next steps in her life. I really do love having her around, but the house she has returned to is not the same house she left. When she left for college, I was still used to having a “child” at home and my house reflected that. However, slowly but surely, the absence of one person in a small house led to the obliteration of clutter in places where it had routinely lived. Add to that my finalizing a book on organization midway through her college journey, and my house is a lot less cluttered than it used to be.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming my daughter … exactly. The truth is, she’s very particular about how her room looks. Consequently, from time to time, she'll do a deep cleaning of her room and decide to get rid of things. These things invariably end up in the public spaces of the house.
This does not go over well.
As I said, I'm really glad she's here. I don't want to nag her or pester her or make her feel as though she can't relax in her own home. But, at the same time, I find my house to be more relaxing with less clutter.
The more I thought about this, the more I realized that I do let some things go, but there are certain spots where clutter bothers me. I'm sure to nag if she:
- Leaves things sitting out in the living room.
- Leaves food sitting out -- anywhere.
- Puts things down in a spot that has just been cleared.
- Fails to clean up after herself in a public space of the house.
- Leaves things sitting on furniture meant for sitting.
- Doesn't use a coaster.
Okay, that last one isn't really clutter-related but it does relate to the fact that, at this point in my life, I would like to have nice things. As a fully grown adult, I'm entitled to have nice things and heaven help anybody who gets in my way once I acquire the perfect table for the perfect spot.
In a strange way, making this list made me feel better. Turns out I'm not a nag or a fussbudget (most of the time anyway). I just like things that are organized to stay that way.
And I really don’t think that’s too much to ask.
I'm pretty sure I won’t actually be doing that as I typically have enough maturity and self-restraint to make better choices, but the frustration is real. I'm also sure I will miss her enormously when she finds the apartment she's been dreaming of.
But her stuff on my sofa? That I won't miss.
Copyright 2021 Lisa Hess
Image: Canva Pro
About the Author
Transplanted Jersey girl Lisa Lawmaster Hess is the author of a blog compilation, three novels, and three non-fiction books, including the award-winning Know Thyself: The Imperfectionist’s Guide to Sorting Your Stuff. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is an adjunct professor of psychology at York College of Pennsylvania. She blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, Organizing by STYLE, and here at Catholicmom.com. Read all articles by Lisa Hess.