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Screw Spring Cleaning! A Clutter-Filled Life Is Just That: Life

Photograph by Twenty20

I’m the kind of girl who really appreciates a clean and clutter-free house. Nothing says peace and tranquility like an empty kitchen counter topped with nothing but a vase of fresh-cut flowers, maybe a candle flickering nearby. No dust, definitely no sticky fingerprints. No stray "Paw Patrol" figures or craft project remnants. Laundry piles? Nonexistent. Everything in its designated place. Everything where it belongs.

Basically, social media has ruined me. Because a house like that would only happen twice a year—if I’m lucky.

Thanks to Instagram and what I like to call comparison poison, I’ve latched onto this image that my home needs to not only be clean, but clutter-free and beautifully decorated. Other moms are doing it—and posting the evidence—so why can’t I?

Don’t get me wrong, showcasing those perfectly clean kitchens and pristine bedrooms with fluffed pillows and empty nightstands isn't bad. It’s just that, for me, in this season of my life, it is 100 percent unrealistic.

Stop by my home and you’ll see the unkept rooms. The disorganized closets. The too-full drawers. There will be fingerprints on windows and superheroes standing on the bookshelves I so carefully tried to style. It’s just how it is—because of my people.

I have four children at home and because of that, clutter means life. Clutter means we are here: eating breakfast, playing board games, setting up scenes with Legos, reading books, creating art, and turning couch pillows into lily pads and pretending to be frogs.

Clutter belongs here. Clutter is part of our story. Clutter is not the end of the world.

The clutter we make, the clutter that makes me question my worth as a homemaker and pine for a more Pinterest-y house, is actually a sign of my greatest blessing: my children. So, how did I ever allow resentment to creep in? How did I ever think that the jumble of life was something to wish away?

Clutter belongs here. Clutter is part of our story. Clutter is not the end of the world.

Choosing to view my family’s mess as an authentic part of our day to day has brought me mountains of freedom. My home isn't ready to be photographed and pinned, but it is a robust place of play and love, learning and laughter.

The pile of shoes by the door—there is beauty in the outdoor adventures they represent.

The stuffed animals sitting in every chair around my dining table—they show the hospitality brewing in my children’s hearts.

The toothbrushes and toothpaste scattered all over the bathroom counter—well, their dentist would be pleased that they are such a prominent part of our day.

I've learned that a big part of parenting is reassessing frustrations and giving them a new perspective, one set in reality. I'm often frustrated by our endless amount of stuff everywhere, but I'm teaching myself that clutter can be my friend because it is a sign of a life well-lived.

So, if you're like me and feeling Instagram envy over all those picture-perfect living rooms, I say it's time we let go of all of that. Instead, let's embrace the clutter and choose to love our lives just the way they are—figurines everywhere and all.

Besides, who has time for spring cleaning, anyway?

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