I’ll Just Put it Here for Now by Alexandra Kuykendall
We have a house with a front door that almost never gets used. Sure we open it to go on the front porch to get the mail, but almost everyone who comes in and out of our house does so by way of the garage and our mud room. The “mud room” is a landing place between our kitchen, laundry room, garage and stairs to our basement. In other words, it’s a vortex of stuff.
And because we are a family of six, we’re talkin’ a lot of stuff. Six people’s worth of backpacks and cleats and sweaters and artwork and leftover lunches, to dump every time we walk in the house.
On top of the regular inflow of clutter, its snow season where we live. Which means for the last month and a half we’ve needed snow boots, hats, gloves, scarves and snow pants for sledding about two times a week. The rest of the days, a single jacket will do because it’s back to Colorado sunshine.
A few days ago, I could barely walk through, not to mention over, all of the MESS that had landed in this spot. Visitors coming in and out of our house were greeted by this “welcome mat” of coats and socks and school papers and lunch boxes strewn everywhere. I needed to do something about this disaster of a space.
I grabbed Kathi Lipp’s newest book, Clutter Free: Quick and easy steps to simplifying your space. This is what I found:
“It’s so easy to just put things somewhere “for now” and then leave them there day after day, week after week, month after month until our house becomes a cluttered mess.”
This landing had become our “for now” spot with all things coming in and out of our home. Kathi asks, “What is causing you to put things down “for now”? Are you feeling too rushed in your everyday life? Is there never a chance to reset?” Ummm….does she have a nannycam positioned in this mudroom of mine? I needed to take the hour required to clear this space of its clutter.
I decided our mud room should hold only immediate needs. The jackets, shoes, backpacks, and gloves we need TODAY as we walk out the door. There shouldn’t be soccer backpacks hanging on hooks because it’s not soccer season. There should be no flip flops in shoe bins when we have snow on the ground. And there should not be four coat options per person when we can only each wear one jacket, one hat, one pair of gloves at a time. All of these things we “put here for now” have overstayed their welcome and need to be tucked away in coat closets and bedroom closets to be brought out in a few days or a few months when we need them.
So I did just that, moved everything back to its designated spot (and in the process redesignated some locations) and gave a bag full of shoes and hats away in the process (tips I also learned from Kathi’s book). With all of the piles cleared out it felt as though I could breathe when I stepped in my house. And when my husband walked in the door he proclaimed, “Praise Jesus!” Well, yes, always. But also thank you Kathi Lipp for a practical nudge to get the clutter out.
Alexandra Kuykendall is a mother of four, ages twelve to three, Alexandra Kuykendall spends her days wiping. Wiping counters, wiping bottoms and wiping tears. Alex lives in Denver with her family where she serves as the Specialty Content Editor for MOPS International (Mothers of Preschoolers). Her first book, The Artist’s Daughter: A Memoir, chronicles her questions of identity from girlhood through motherhood.
Find her at www.AlexandraKuykendall.com.
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She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.