Adventures of a Newlywed // Conquering Clutter

I was five years old, and I desperately wanted a gerbil.

My Mom told me if I could keep my room clean for three months then I could have a furry little pet I so desired. Somehow {and I suspect with lots of help} I kept my room clean, I got my gerbil, and have been battling clutter ever since.

When my wedding day was o’er I sighed with relief at my new-found free time, and enjoyed two weeks of honeymoon followed by four weeks settling into our apartment. I worked afternoons, and had the rest of the day to unpack, go on walks with Warrior Man, and decompress.

It was lovely. Then the semester started, and instead of just working afternoons, my schedule morphed into this:

  • 6:30 Cram for tests, and do homework as quickly as possible. 
  • 8-11:50 Classes
  • 11:50-12:00 Drive home, change, grab lunch from Warrior Man, and get dropped off at work. 
  • 12-6 Work
  • 6:20 Leave for rehearsal
  • 6:30-9:30 Rehearsal
  • 9:30-11:00 Collapse on the couch, and watch Netflix. 

If you noticed I have approximately 30 mins from 8:00 AM-9:30 pm that are unaccounted for. Oy.

The first few weeks of college life were overwhelming, and I wasn’t sure how to make all of this work. As I tried to acclimate to my new schedule our apartment quickly started slipping past the point of saving as laundry piled up, dishes begin accumulating, and general sloppiness became the modus operandus.

The beginning of last week I looked around in despair at the state in which we were living, and decided no matter how tired it made me I was going to clean a little bit every day.

When I got back from rehearsal instead of vegging out while watching Netflix I would do something while watching Netflix. Every night I chose one area to work on.

I grabbed the laundry, and threw in a couple loads then took out the trash. I put away textbooks, and rearranged furniture. I finally cleared out the bedroom, and donated a few boxes of stuff to goodwill.

As the week went on, something miraculous began to happen, our normally messy home began to gain a level of peace. It wasn’t perfect, but it was far from the disaster zone it used to be. The floors were becoming cleaner, the clutter getting put away regularly, and the laundry was–okay, not done, but at least less of a mountain.

The biggest benefit of all, however, wasn’t taking place in my home, but in my heart. Cleaning every day rather than stressing out an already stressed college gal was giving me a new level of peace, and accomplishment.

I, Bethany Lotulelei, was conquering clutter.

I hate to say this, because I feel like I am letting down clutterbugs everywhere by making this statement, but cleaning for an hour every night while watching my favorite show soaked up my stress like a sponge.

And sometimes I need a sponge for my stress even more than I need a sponge for my kitchen counters.

“No unwelcome tasks become any the less unwelcome by putting them off till tomorrow. It is only when they are behind us and done, that we begin to find that there is a sweetness to be tasted afterwards, and that the remembrance of unwelcome duties unhesitatingly done is pleasant. Accomplished, they are full of blessing, and there is a smile on their faces as they leave us. Undone, they stand threatening and disturbing our tranquility, and hindering our communion with God. If there be lying before you any bit of work from which you shrink, go straight up to it, and do it at once. The only way to get rid of it is to do it.” – Alexander MacLaren, Scottish preacher (1826-1910)

You, and I, weren’t meant to live our whole lives in a dirty home. We are meant to thrive. Make a plan, turn on  your favorite show or podcast, and do your thing. You got this.

Press on, friends, we are in this thing together.

Comments

  1. My husband loves to tell people that his wife cleans and bakes to relieve stress – haha! But it is so true. That feeling of order brings accomplishment to my being. This weekend, it’s THE GARAGE. Not exactly my cup of tea 😉 but I’m sure it’ll feel good. Lovely little reminder, gal!

  2. I totally relate to your post but instead of doing all the chores on one big day…break it up during the week and instead doing “double work” I learn to do my chores smarter!! And as long its age appropriated, get your child to do chores at early age (my kid is 11yrs !!)

    Ursula aka Blueridge Beauty

  3. Ooh GIRL, is this applicable to me or what?!

    Although I’m out of school, I’m working full time, doing two shows, trying to figure out how to get wedding things organized, AND living with an eleven-year-old! It’s like this post was written for me!

    Christopher and I (and J!) have definitely been working slowly but surely (so far we’ve found that focusing on one room and really crushing it before moving on has worked best) but ohmygosh, it’s hard some days! Thanks for the piece of encouragement 🙂
    Grady recently posted…PassionMy Profile

    • Whew, your life sounds SO busy, Grady! Balancing two shows is a challenge enough without everything else on your plate. One room at a time is such a great idea! I have been thinking I should do that in terms of decorating (when I have time to decorate, ha!). It is too overwhelming to think about the whole apartment. One room at a time, I like it. 🙂
      Bethany Miller recently posted…Adventures of a Newlywed // Conquering ClutterMy Profile

  4. What a schedule you have! I am impressed that you are able to find the energy to clean at night! I am a big supporter of keeping your clutter at bay and your house clean because it makes your home more peaceful and life less stressful. A great way to do this is to organize, make sure everything has a place and always put it back in it’s place after you’re done using it. Also…. simplify! Get rid of any junk you don’t need and the clutter will be so much less. From one seasoned cleaning freak to one cleaning freak newbie, you got this!! Good luck in your new found cleaning love. 🙂
    Jess recently posted…dwell // how to create an entryway in a small homeMy Profile

  5. I can totally relate! Kudos on conquering the clutter! It really does make one feel good. Doing something while I watch Netflix like folding laundry, or prepping all the diapers, or even just crocheting always makes me feel like I’m productive while relaxing. I love that quote you shared. It is something I try to remind myself of when I know I need to clean our bathtub … Our drain gets clogged, so yeah. Not fun.
    Nathana recently posted…3 Column Bible StudyMy Profile

  6. Very true that cleaning a little bit at a time makes this so much easier. I definitely prefer just keeping the house clean all the time than ever having a huge mess and many chores to do! I’m naturally pretty neat, but I don’t particularly enjoy cleaning, either, so staying on top of daily tasks definitely helps.
    Rachel G recently posted…Blue is BackMy Profile

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