This mess is exhausting! I admit, I am a packrat. This is how I grew up with my dad. This lifestyle has continued through my adult years. I hate it. Everywhere I turn, there is a mess. I have no idea what everything is or why I have it.

Today, I am tackling the mess piled 18 inches high on my desk. After two hours and three bags of shred, I can now see half of my desk. I refuse to just toss everything in a box and move it to the new place. Everything I have found worth keeping so far will fit nicely into the file cabinet where it belongs. No boxes required 🙂

For the past three weeks, I have been slowly going through closets, dresser drawers, cupboards and bins. If it can be recycled, that is where it is going. I made one trip to the thrift store. My entire trunk was full and half of my backseat. This may sound like a huge accomplishment, however, it did not make a dent in this disaster area I call an apartment. How can I live like this?

Bad habits can be learned at a young age. It can take a lifetime to unlearn them. For the most part, the mess and clutter has always just been something I expect. Although it is irritating to never be able to find anything quickly, the irritation is not enough to make me change. Now with three children and a husband who has completely zoned out, I realize the mess has negative consequences for all of us. Although it is something I have just always lived with, the reality of how it affects my family hits me in the face like a lead brick. And it hurts.

The constant clutter limits space my children can play in. Over the years, I have compensated for this by just buying them more stuff. What a great idea, just add to the clutter and mess! No, I am not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree. Here is a perfect example of my refusal to face facts: my oldest had so many clothes she could not fit them all in her dresser and closet. Many of these clothes had not been worn in a year. I asked her to try on every piece of clothing she owned to see what fit and which items she actually wanted to keep. I discovered that she only owned two pairs of jeans that actually fit her! More than half of her wardrobe was too small for her to wear. Off to the thrift store they went. Now, I have to buy her a complete new wardrobe and my checkbook is not prepared for this investment.

The clutter and disorganization is so overwhelming it adversely affects my mood. It drains me of all energy. It takes me away from my family and destroys any chance of enjoying an activity with my children. I am failing as a parent and possibly ruining the future my children could have. I expect my children to pick up after themselves, yet I am setting a poor example. Why should they pick up when mom leaves her junk everywhere? I have sent more boxes to the thrift store than I have actually packed to be moved to our new home. If this fact is not enough proof that I am a packrat, then I do not know what is.

Let me continue with my honesty on the subject. I also have a garage filled with junk and a storage unit that I have been renting for the last six years. I have no idea what is in either of them! We just keep sending more bins, more boxes out to the garage or to the storage unit. Some of these bins have been in storage for so long, I have no idea what I even own! This is just wrong. Plain and simple.

Trying to tackle the piles of crap is demoralizing. Where do I start? When I begin a task, I must finish it. I hate interruptions. Children interrupt all the time. Why should I even bother trying to clean house? The girls will just bug me and I will have to stop. Can we say ‘blame game’? Again, this is something I grew up with, therefore it is completely normal to me. It is destructive to my family and the blame is squarely on my shoulders. No wonder I avoid mirrors. I hate the mess, I hate the clutter, yet I do nothing to change it.

Cleaning house takes so much time and energy. I become exhausted easily. Some of the simplest tasks completely drain me. Because of this, I avoid the extra cleaning or heavy duty organizing. The mess just keeps building and sprawling across the apartment.

Here are some hard facts. One, being cluttered and messy is stressful because I feel like I can never relax because there is always something that needs to be done. Second, bills are paid late because I always misplace them or my laptop is buried on my desk and I cannot login to balance my checkbook. Three, my children miss out on activities because I can never find the information. Four, my husband does not want to help with chores because the mess is just to much for him to handle. He isn’t used to clutter or packrats like me. Five, my stress level is always on overload, leading to headaches, backaches, sleep problems and all of the related depression and anxiety. Six, my children are embarrassed to have friends over. Seven, my own friends avoid coming to my apartment because they are repelled by the way we live. This list can go on and on for pages. The bottom line is being a packrat is unhealthy for my family and for myself.

I want to change, yet I have no idea how. I need help, yet I will not reach out to anyone and ask. I read articles about organizing, yet I will not spend the money on the tips that they suggest. I do not have the energy the experts say I will have from cleaning house. I know I will get rid of things as we are packing. I also know there will be more items we get rid of as we unpack. I just wish it was easy and quick to do.