By: Jacqueline Gates – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
My main beef with decluttering and housecare instruction conversations that abound these days is this ….
We’ve abdicated dominion over our realm.
Social media made it worse because there are more voices on more platforms, and algorithms that maneuver us in front of metaphorical speakers so we can’t NOT hear them.
At one time, there was only the written word, with a few hand drawn illustrations. Lots of room for interpretation and experimentation.
These days, there are staged images of both the “good” – usually sparkling clean and show-house worthy – or the “bad”, with piles of stuff occluding ever surface.
Most of us don’t live in either of those extremes, but we overlay them both on to our environments.
The showhouse shows us up, and we identify with the piles because we’re fixated on our “clutter”.
No matter which lens we look through, we see ourselves as inadequate housekeepers.
Here’s my question …
Why don’t you try looking through YOUR OWN LENS for a moment?
Look at your home within the context of YOUR life, right now, as you are, with what you have going on?
Every. Single. Prominent. Voice. In the housecare industry, (and it is an industry!) over the past 50 years, has been on a mission – however well-meaning – to get you all to do things their way.
Mrs Beeton, Martha Stewart, The FlyLady, Marie Kondo … all of them are presenting what works for them.
Which is wonderful, of course, because we learn from each other.
And there are always the acolytes who’ll follow every direction and morph themselves into the domestic equivalent of celebrity impersonators.
But what they don’t show you – because it happens over time and usually in shame-filled secret – is that it’s likely to be unsustainable.
You can’t live like someone else for the rest of your life.
Not if you want to thrive as YOU.
So what happens ?
We end up with everything we own in a pile on the bed, but somehow we stall, or life interrupts, so we move that pile to the floor on the corner, and it stays there for 8 months.
Or we remember buying little seedlings of herbs and veggies because Martha told us it was “a good thing”, but now they’re dead and we’re still carrying the wound of falling short.
We joined Flylady to learn about decluttering and the 3,000 emails she sent us in the first week are still clogging our inbox.
Don’t get me wrong … I’ve been huge fans of all of these women. I have zero doubt that they’ve found something that works for them, and they’re passionate about wanting to help others.
What I don’t see enough of though … and it’s the part that always makes us come unstuck … is the affirmation of Sovereignty.
Sovereignty MUST come first.
We can take all the advice we can find … and these days, it’s everywhere … but if we abdicate sovereignty of our realm, we’re setting ourselves up for an internal civil war.
At some point, your Inner Knowing is going to want to assert itself.
You’ll be left wrestling with yourself over what you’ve been taught is ‘right’, and what feels right to you.
You’ll be shamed for “not following through”, or you’ll be given condescending permission to “do your own thing” and left feeling like your own thing is obviously not up scratch somehow.
YOU ARE THE CREATIVE FORCE IN YOUR HOME.
A fragment of All-That-Is who’s just trying to get her outsides to sync up in support of her insides.
Yes, an outside voice/mirror (I include myself here) can be wildly helpful, because you can’t see the big picture when you’re in the frame.
But always as a collaboration.
You and your nest and your coach/consultant/advisor.
Stop allowing outside voices to dictate how you feel about your home.
What looks like clutter to one person may feel like an exuberant homage to maximalism to you.
What looks like haphazard housekeeping from the outside might just mean that you’re finding your rhythm on the inside.
And if you have zero idea what “sparks joy” or doesn’t, letting usefulness be your metric is not a cop-out. (I can feel my blood boiling as I remember a client telling me this! *grrrrr)
There’s no housecare system out there that can or will work for everyone and I’m sick of decluttering being touted as a one-size-fits-all solvent.
It can’t be.
Enough with this nonsense.
Your home is your realm.
Consider this an invitation to reclaim it.
More by: Jacqueline Gates
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