08/01/2012 - For the most part, l am a good natured person. I find many things to
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be funny. I like to laugh, tease and smile -- especially with my family. Even
through tough times, our home resounds with cheerfulness. But one thing
can wipe all that goodness away and almost instantly. It is clutter. Here is
my confession: "I mutter over clutter."
My dear mentor, Noah Webster, agrees with me. He does not give
clutter high marks. In his 1828 American Dictionary of the English
Language he defines it as a "heap or assemblage of things lying in
confusion". That goes along with its Welsh root meaning which comes from
the word "cluder" and it literally means "to heap".
For the sake of keeping order and sanity in our house, my family
knows it will serve them well if they place their shoes neatly by the front
door or in the closet, carefully hang up wet towels and put away items used
in the day. They will not only enjoy a nice home, they will enjoy a nice
Over the years, I have observed something about clutter. It not only
looks messy, it messes with the mind! Around clutter, I can't think straight
nor can I cook well. Why? Because it accommodates confusion. In Latin,
confusion literally means "to mix together". And it is not a nice sort of mix
and mingling but a stirring that stirs up anxiety and strife.
Clutter is anything that no longer has use or value to us. It drains us
of our mental energy, takes up valuable space and makes us sidetracked.
Clutter can be a heap of lids without matching containers, dull disposable
razors set aside, long forgotten books buried beneath the stairs and broken
items not likely to get fixed. With living space going at a $100.00 or
more per square foot, clutter is a bad investment.
lf you are finding yourself easily irritated, confused or fatigued, I
encourage you to assess your surroundings. Look for clutter. Downsize.
Deep clean. Take back your space and your life. It is worth the time and the
While I am opposed to heaping up clutter, I am in favor of heaping up
something else. It too (in the Dutch language) has the root meaning "to
heap". And that is to hope. If you want to accumulate anything in great
measure, I suggest you hope. Pray and believe. Be optimistic. Experience
the pleasure and joy that hope brings. It is so much better than living with
disorder and confusion. When we live with a heap of hope rather than heaps
of clutter, we can have a cheerful home regardless of any current difficulties.