My dream house is a clean, white one, that looks like nobody lives there. (Some call it a minimalist house.) Regardless of the term, I love a neat, tidy, and uncluttered home. It brings me peace even if it drives me a little nutso to get there. To be honest, I know it is hard to keep a home like this especially when you live with two people that don't see this need (one of which is a preschooler.)
But for me, I start to get cranky and anxiety creeps in when the house is out of order or there is too much visual clutter. Don't get me wrong, I am perfectly capable of my daughter having play dates at our house and every single toy she owns is on the floor. Everything just has to be reset by the end of the day. I don't care how tired I am, everything gets put back in place because I am not going to wake up to a mess. For some, it is easier to just let it go, relax for the night, and clean up whenever. That is not at all easy for me. Rather than relaxing, it stresses me out and causes a lot of anxiety for me.
Thinking back to how my clutter anxiety came about, I came up with three specific time periods:
1) I grew up in a tidy house. My mom said we don't have to have the nicest house but there is no reason for it to be dirty. Everything had to be put in it's place and I don't think we had a lot of stuff in the house. My mom would go on purges once in a while and the house would kinda get swept up and things would no longer we around. After my mom passed away, my dad said I started to do the same thing. He would come home and some of his "stuff" would be missing...because I would throw stuff out for him.
2) I became grateful for all I have. Although I am not wealthy by any standards, I am comfortable and happy with all that I have. I know that I am more "rich" than a lot of people in the world. I became less wasteful (no longer buying things only to throw out later, no longer buying into fast fashion, and learning to reuse or upcycle.) I also became obsessed with donating things. I started to donate things I didn't use or love and eventually started to donate things that I love but others might have a better use for.
3) My daughter came into our life and her stuff also came into the house. Who knew that such a small person has so much stuff?! Once she became a preschooler, some things were removed (change pads, high chairs, diapers, bottles, etc) but new things came into the house that mattered a lot to her. Every toy she was ever given was now a friend. Every drawing she made had a story (which I love.) Every freaking leaf was brought into the house because "this" one was different. True enough but things are accumulating at a speed I have never seen before.
So, where do I go from here? I am constantly donating to children oriented organizations, giving things away to people that will have a greater need than me, and cleaning the house on a schedule. It probably stresses people out to hear about all the things I do but this is how I manage my anxiety. Friends that come over to my house and comment how clean and tidy it is, know that there is a greater reason for it. I won't judge your messy house, but please also don't judge my clean and tidy house.