When Your Home Runneth Over

8 Dec

While watching a video about clutter management, I heard a woman describe her family’s habit of bagging up all of their clutter and hiding it whenever someone came to the house.

They hid their reality in a room named: The Overflow Room.

I can’t stop thinking about this phrase.  (To see the video, click here.).  Keeping a room available for hiding sacks of chaos is not a good use of living space, will not solve the problem, and — let’s face it — will most likely encourage more clutter.

If a glass is overflowing, we stop pouring and tip the glass to remove the excess.

If a home is overflowing, the solution is the same.

Obviously, this takes time and commitment, and we can’t actually tip our homes like we can do with a glass, but the solution still applies: stop pouring and remove the excess.

This year, in addition to the new adventure of writing this blog, I started a small business to help people simplify and declutter their lives.  I have always found it a rejuvenating and satisfying experience to make something better and simpler…but not everyone does!

Some people are so resistant to this kind of activity, they can hardly believe that anyone would enjoy it.

You enjoy doing this?

I do enjoy it!      

Shortly before I officially started the business, I helped a friend make her long abandoned home office usable once again.  She felt so uplifted by the result that she wrote a blog post (One Day My Soul Just Opened Up) about the experience of clearing out her office, and why it made such a difference in her life.  Months later, I also helped her with her closet and she created some video blogs, both from before the process, and during and after the process.

Organizing and simplifying are completely normal activities for me, but there are so many people with Overflow Rooms and other much more serious problems who struggle with it every day.  It can be a very emotional experience for people to face up to these kinds of issues.

If you have a problem like this and you think you need some support to deal with it, get support.  If you are too embarrassed to ask your friends or family to help you, hire an organizer.

Start now.  Make space for your life!


P.S.  You can contact me privately through acleansurface at gmail dot com if you need help in the San Jose, CA area, or even if you just need to talk to someone.

* The fabulous photo above is a close up of a framed Marilyn Monroe portrait I have in my home.

14 Responses to “When Your Home Runneth Over”

  1. Teri December 10, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    You are so right. Cluttered, overflowing homes are often symbolic of other undercurrents that are going on with the people living there. It’s probably rarely simply due to laziness…

    Helping people in this way is a real gift and I’m sure so many need it. Bravo to you.

    • acleansurface December 10, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

      I think our anxieties show up in our homes sometimes, just like they show up in our dreams.

  2. Stacia December 12, 2010 at 1:15 pm #

    There’s just something about throwing out (or recycling and donating!) a bunch of clutter that’s as freeing for the soul as it is for the square footage. I love a good de-cluttering weekend!

    • acleansurface December 12, 2010 at 2:41 pm #

      Yes, it’s very freeing, Stacia! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. bigsheepcommunications December 14, 2010 at 3:53 am #

    Rayme, I love the thoughtfulness of your blog. Your post about first graders and tetherball reminded me of the time I offered to pay a bunch of neighborhood kids, including my own, to rake leaves. One immediately started raking and kept at it, while the rest spent the afternoon trying to invent a leaf raking contraption that would do the work for them. Needless to say, I only had to pay one child that day!

    • acleansurface December 14, 2010 at 8:35 am #

      HA! Lisa, that’s funny. Some children are definitely more creative than practical.
      Thanks so much for the comment, and the kind words.

  4. It's just a web site man! December 14, 2010 at 10:27 am #

    There was a time in my life when I could live with clutter and messiness, but something changed I live with a woman for a time that was a hoarder and had no motivation to clean or keep things neat. It drove me nuts. I am married to a wonderful woman now, but I find that I can no longer live with clutter. I get very annoyed. Funny how things change over time.

    • acleansurface December 14, 2010 at 10:49 am #

      I found that I really changed when I became a parent, and I think I actually became MORE organized, because I need to counteract the constant chaos. Every time I turn around there is something on the floor!

      • Emily January 23, 2011 at 5:52 am #

        I know! I mentioned in my blog (perfectpanda.wordpress.com) if any of you read it that I have a sister in year 7… Obviously I’m the one clearing it up for her and my parents! Its a habit – I can’t stand a mess. Its weird how getting older can change you view on life as well as your responsibilities in it.

  5. lisa December 16, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

    These are great tips! Thanks for stopping by today 🙂

  6. Brown Eyed Mystic January 1, 2011 at 2:05 am #

    Now that’s like an awesome idea Rayme. I think it’s a great cause/business and will help a lot of people “unclutter” their rooms (and lives!).

    All the best.


  7. redesigncoach February 21, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    I think it is normal to have a clutter drawer, a catchall place for small things, as long as it gets cleaned out regularly but a whole room is way too much. Freeing yourself from clutter can free your life. Your natural Ch’i flow will be clogged up which can affect a person in many harmful ways.

    • acleansurface February 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

      Yes, I agree. A small drawer is manageable, but anything more will have harmful effects. I think it sneaks up on some people, and they don’t notice how bad they feel until it becomes overwhelming.

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