Gleaming counter tops? A place for everything and everything in its place? Um, not in my house. But it’s my mission-not-impossible. Order out of chaos. Cleanliness out of clutter.
For days and nights I have been shuffling boxes and opening storage containers, sifting through files and unearthing photographs, throwing out magazines, tossing ripped clothing, processing, processing, processing. And doing laundry.
Lately, I dream interiors: my mother’s spacious dining room, its bay windows and patterned wallpaper, the copper bucket filled with logs by the fireplace, the large portrait of my grandmother over the mantel. There are images from my old home as well – its neatly organized office, the foyer filled with floor-to-ceiling bookcases, a kitchen with cabinetry I can actually reach.
I am trying to effect positive change by organizing my environment. Preparing for the future, and determined to do it.
The task at hand is imposing – six years of accumulation and disarray. But worse, there is grieving to be done. Letting go of dreams, of people I loved, of the woman I thought I was, the life I do not lead. And so I’ve been doing it, bit by bit, day by day, for more than a month.
My small space
There’s nothing unusual in downsizing after divorce, nor after layoff. What is unusual is the onslaught of injuries, rendering everything about settling into a home more challenging.
Carrying things up to the hot attic? Sure, my boys can do that.
Sift through the post-divorce, post-accident paperwork? Organizing research and writing? Going through photographs and objects from my mother’s passing?
So I work my way through cartons, containers, files that were once in a home office, and enough books to open a library. Everything is stacked, leaned, heaped or piled. There’s only so much I can do before I must stop.
If my living space could speak? It would say this: I am buried, I am overwhelmed, I am going under. But I am a parent. I cannot go under.
In the past week I have filled eight giant trash bags, tackled painful memories, and I see progress. The transformation is slow, but I hope that if I can change my living space, my psychological interiors will follow suit.
My mood. My sense of well-being.
For now, my home reflects the presence of teenagers, the reality of jumbled emotions, the instability of freelance work, the suggestion of physical limitations, and equally, the presence of explicit passions – books and art. Thankfully, I possess an orderly mind, which has allowed me to work effectively no matter what. But I expect that I will feel lighter, more relaxed, and more capable – if I can accomplish this makeover mission.
What does your living space say about you?
By the time we’re adults, our environments tell a story, whether we create that narrative, pay a decorator to design its public face, or it unfolds as we tumble through our hectic lives.
- Does your living space reflect your crazy life?
- Does it mirror your emotional state?
- Does it reflect your stage in life?
- If you could change anything about your interiors, what would it be?