Trade offs

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind,
of what, then, is an empty desk?”
–Albert Einstein

My house is a mess. Seriously, it’s a total mess at the moment.

There are boxes all over, clean laundry in baskets that needs to folded and put away, and piles of books sitting in the middle of my bedroom floor.

Not exactly uncluttered, huh?

But tonight, I’m not staying home to straighten up. Instead, I’m heading to a Red Sox game.

On the popular blog/website Uncluttered, there was a recent discussion of the tradeoffs of uncluttering. The discussion, to my way of thinking, is really about priorities.

Last night, for example, I had planned to deal with the books on my bedroom floor, which are waiting to be packed up and given away. Instead, I took the kids to the pool. It was a hot, sticky night, and the pool was definitely more fun for everyone than packing books.

I like to have a clean and organized house. In fact, I’m working on getting rid of extraneous Stuff in my house, and I’m uncluttering, very slowly. Clear and open space in my home makes me feel calmer and more relaxed. I’d like to have more relaxed feelings and less Stuff. Sometimes, though, other things seem more important.

I don’t think I was being lazy, or procrastinating. I just had other priorities. Hanging out with my family, finding a way to enjoy the day rather than complain about the heat, and going out for ice cream (using up our gift certificates, of course) all seemed a lot more important than making headway on the uncluttering project.

There’s a certain rush that I get when I really clear out a space. Over the last weekend, I cleaned out several drawers in my bedroom, and a few shelves of books. I just love that feeling of freedom that comes from having more space and less Stuff. It’s hard to explain, it just … makes me feel like I can take on the world.

But there are times when I decide to embrace the mess, because other things (go Sox!) take priority. At moments like these, I remind myself about these folks:

  • Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin due to a petri dish he had forgotten in his desk. The misplaced sample grew mold, which led to the discovery of  life-saving antibiotics.
  • The owners of Chocomize knew a good thing when they saw it: dark chocolate, marshmallows, granola and Gummi Bears accidentally melted together on the backseat of the car, and then cooled into deliciousness. It gave them the idea to start a business where individuals can go to a website and choose the exact ingredients to be mixed into their chocolate. (Highly successful business, too, from what I understand.)
  • Albert Einstein had a fantastically messy desk.

Some say that messiness leads to great creativity. This thought gives me hope as I look around my, ahem, very creative home. 🙂

The books on the floor? They can wait until tomorrow. As for me, I’ll see you at the game!

Update: We got to see Red Sox third baseman Adrien Beltre hit a homerun with the bases loaded. It was a rather exciting moment to be in the stands! Definitely better than staying home to fold laundry. 🙂

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This entry was posted in Family, Happiness Project, Observations, Uncluttering and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Trade offs

  1. a grand slam is definitely worth a messy house!

    i agree that it’s a matter of prioritizing. clean and uncluttered is important but family memories are more important. i know i don’t want to miss precious fun time with my daughter to empty out a closet. if that means my house takes an extra day or two to get clean, i’m ok with that!

  2. mollyonmoney says:

    I’m constantly trying to ‘get a hold’ of my clutter. My father is one of those brilliant scientist guy (thank god my Mom taught him how to socialize) and his home office is always full of piles. If I’m on his computer I can expect a pile of papers to come tumbling down on top of the key board. He will then fuss that ‘I’ messed his desk up!
    Years ago at work his boss came in to congratulate him on a very large contract he had won the company. The conversation turned to my Dad’s performance (glowing) with the one exception: his messy desk. His boss wanted him to get ‘organized’…..My Dad laughed and said he wouldn’t do it. An organized work space throws him off completely! I guess there is always exceptions!

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