One of my favorite shows is CBS Sunday Morning. I look forward to watching it because I feel like it gives me a calm and focused start to the new week. I almost always discover something new to explore further.
Today they featured a segment about a new book out by Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freedman titled A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder-- How Crammed Closets, Cluttered Offices, and On-the-Fly Planning Make the World a Better Place. The most basic theory being that not all clutter is bad, some may be healthy, and may even be an indicator of a great mind at work. Aah, all music to my ears.
A quote from the segment caught me and I Googled it, finding this great article from the New York Times: "Saying Yes to Mess" by Penelope Green. It's a great article that nicely sums up the anti-anticlutter revolution.
To say the least, my home is cluttered. I am constantly concocting a grand scheme to de-clutter, but I usually find that that grand scheme just creates more clutter. I have two little boys, one 6 months old and one 2 1/2 years old. The toddler creates a massive amount of clutter, largely due to the fact that we are just now teaching him to pick up after himself. The baby creates massive amounts of clutter indirectly, as I don't usually pick up after myself as I tend to him. Then there is my husband and me, who create our own brand of clutter all on our own without any baby's help.
I try to see all this mess as a problem, as my husband sees it. Try as I might, I just can't seem to get myself properly worked up about it.
Of course, I have to say that at the end of the day, I still feel better with a neat and organized home. I believe that it benefits my boys' safety and sanity, recognizing that I think better when I'm not surrounded by mess... but I agree with this anti-anticlutter movement, too. Life is full of contradictions.
I was reading a passage in The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards the other day about how organized and orderly the husband character's office is. I thought to myself that maybe he is compelled to order as a response to the turmoil his guilt has created. It's one thing he can control to quiet the noise in his conscience. You'll have to read that book, too.
Anyway, I'm thinking, "At the very least, my messy home speaks volumes about the comfort I feel within my life. No one is going to leave me. No one is going to judge me here. I live here. A boisterous family lives here. You are seeing a glimpse into the fabric our lives when you see this clutter."
After you read the article, you'll see why I was thrilled to find it.
So is our clutter a reflection of our inner selves? Does it signify something negative? That our lives are out of control? Does it reveal a cluttered mind? I'll let someone else answer that last one:
“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk?”