By now everyone who knows me knows my conflicting emotions on working from home. I know I’m so fortunate that I have been able to keep working full time when so many other have not. I also know that never leaving the house messes with my mental health in serious ways. It’s truly a mixed bag.
One thing that has NOT been hard for me is compartmentalizing. I have never felt an urge do to housework while I’m on the clock. To take it a step further, I almost never feel an urge to do any housework during my lunch break. I know a lot of folks who really struggle with this, but I don’t. Not. One. Bit.
Why? Because I embrace clutter. It’s more efficient to have things were you need them, not to pretend you live in a magazine. Mail on the table? Sure. Coat on a chair? I’m just going to use it again tomorrow anyway (well, maybe not this year but you know what I mean). Clean laundry waiting to be put away? I’ll get to it eventually and I have more than 7 pairs of underwear to my name so I’m not out anyway.
To some people this sounds like the seventh circle of hell. I argue that I’m a lot happier than you are. I have friends who routinely complain that they can’t relax after work because of all the things they have to clean. I say- Don’t do it!! You know that old saying that no one on their dead bed ever wishes they had spent more time in the office? I bet no one has ever wished they spent more time cleaning either. Play with your kids! Talk to your spouse! Watch that TV show! You deserve it!
Now to be clear- there is a difference between clutter and filth. Mail on the table is clutter. 2 days worth of dirty dishes on the table is filth. A haphazard stack of books on the end table (that I am going to read eventually- really!!) is clutter. Pet accidents are filth. Clutter means you live there. Filth means you belong on an episode of Hoarders.
There is even an entire decorating style devoted to this- it’s caller cluttercore. It’s the exact opposite of Marie Kondo’s approach. Keep things you need where you need them. Keep things you love- ALL the things you love – where you can see and appreciate them. It’s been referred to as “an organized mess” but it’s more than that- it’s being comfortable in your own space while living in it at the same time.
This attitude comes natural to me. If you aren’t so lucky I don’t recommend going all in all at once. Your head will explode. Start small. If you get the same small appliance out every day- maybe a coffee maker or blender- give it a permanent home on the counter. Let those shoes stay by the door (where they aren’t a trip hazard of course). You put them on there anyway, right? You might be surprised how liberating this is! And I guarantee your family will appreciate it too.