Fight the Clutter

I don’t believe in ghosts, but I have an evil spirit in my house, not the ugly huge type that look like mangled old trees or the dark eerie shadows that emerge from the walls even though your doors are locked, I speak of those tiny skinny mischievous ones that look like old wet twigs, the ones with rasp-like laughs. I’ve never seen them, but they assure me of their presence by the evidence they leave behind. If I tell you my experience you would understand why I am convinced they exist. These demons aim to drive me crazy, to eventually eject me from my house. No, they don’t whisper and talk when I’m sleeping, they don’t jump out of the closet and scare me when I’m passing the wardrobe, they don’t make any kind of contact with me, they know better than that cause I will probably break their twig-like bodies. What they do is turn my house upside-down and they only act when I’m asleep.  Or do they?

Here’s the thing, I have a very competent housekeeper who cleans my house to a shine. She dusts and shines till I can see my face in everything. This human uncluttering system turns my ogre-dungeon into a palace fit for a king. She usually does this work while I’m gone for the day; to work and then play right after. By the time I get home at about 8 or 9pm, my house looks like the palace of the king I hope to be. All tired and worn out from a day of working hard and playing even harder, I crash on my bed like a rag doll and snore like a boar. Waking up in the morning, my king’s palace is once again the lair of a hideous monster; my sitting room looks like it was hit by a tornado and my bedroom as though Katrina or her cousins visited. These horrible evil villains have been at it again; shirt hanging on the arm of the chair, one shoe at the sitting room door, the other at the bedroom door, singlet on the fridge handle, and socks on the centre table. Plates with half eaten food lie in front of the TV and an empty bottle of coke has rolled to the bathroom door. Cabinets are open, and containers are scattered everywhere. I make up my mind there and then that I must catch the vermin and make them pay. That night I decide to keep watch; I eat out and sneak into my house without undressing or entering my room. I sit on the couch and wait, club in hand and determined to arrest the situation, while waiting, I sleep off and wake up to the sound of my alarm. It’s morning and I must have missed them, so I open my eyes expecting to see the usual chaos; instead I see a perfectly arranged house. I wondered, “Did they see me with my club or what?” that’s when it hit me; I’ve been looking at the wrong suspect.

Usually tired from a hard day of working and playing, I open my door and drop my bag right there by the couch. I remove my shoe and kick off the other one, so it flies to the bedroom door, I pull off my shirt heading to the fridge to get something cold to drink and drop it on the counter top. With drink in hand, I remove my socks and drop them on the centre table, and head for the kitchen to microwave my food. I can’t find the right size of container, so I open every cabinet and throw out all the containers until I find the right one, then I leave the rest scattered all over the place. Food sorted out, I sit in front of the TV and click until I find something watchable, and there I remain until I dose off. When I stir an hour or three later, I switch off the TV, drag myself to the bedroom and sleep off. When I wake up in the morning, my mystery is solved; I am the vermin.

Our homes, offices and lives are in perpetual chaos simply because we have not developed the discipline of keeping things where we found them or where they are meant to be. Just by picking up the toothpaste from the bathroom sink and dropping it on the dining table on your way to the bedroom, you have started the cycle of chaos (and you wonder why the wife is always screaming at you). It is impossible to achieve order or internal alignment if your environment is in disarray. The first step to a calm and ordered mind is a calm and ordered environment. Husbands, I think this can save your marriage, and ladies this can fetch you a man. But above all, it’ll make your life so much easier and fun. Here are three quick keys to finding and maintaining order and control;

·         Decide where everything goes: whether we are talking home, office, schedule, family etc. Decide where everything stays, take the time and arrange the scenario to suit your desire, and make sure it’s to your taste.
·         Never be in a hurry: you might gain a second by dropping the file on the table rather than the shelf where it belongs, but you’ll pay with an hour the day you will look for the file and not be able to find it buried in a thousand rubbles under your desk. Consciously begin to form the habit of covering and putting back the jar after you help yourself with some cookies, it wouldn’t take much time.

·         Always restore order: every now and then you’ll miss it, but whenever you do notice that you missed it, immediately restore order by arranging what you missed. Don’t keep it for later, do it immediately.

Kanayo Aniegboka

Kani is a Nigerian born and based minister, public speaker, entrepreneur and life coach. His keen and unique perspective to life issues makes him a refreshing voice to listen to. He currently serves as the Executive Coordinator of House on the Rock - Word House and sits on the board of a number of companies.

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