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It’s time for the next installment of 20 Days of Me!  Today you will discover the truth about me.  Am I a Messy Bessy or a Neat Nellie?  If you know me in real life or if you follow me on Instagram (and especially in my Instagram stories) you probably already know the answer.

Title card for Day 7 with two bananas. Speech bubble asks are you messy or neat.
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What’s your guess? Am I neat or messy?


Ironically enough, as I was in the process of writing this post, I was also spending some time organizing my teaching binders.  Even though I’m “retired” from teaching now that the school year has ended.  Why would I do this? Theoretically I don’t need any of it.  I’m pretty sure it’s my love of learning that doesn’t want to let go.  Creating curriculum and planning activities was one of my favorite parts of teaching and that’s what is in the binders… ideas! plans! possibilities!

I love order and organization.  I just struggle to make it so or to keep it so.  I have been on a quest to organize and declutter my house for years now.  I have collections of “before” photos in my memory vault but not so many afters…


pub table covered with papers in front of full bookshelves, trash can under the chair
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My messy desk tucked back in the corner. At least the kids can’t reach the computer there!
circa 2004


cabinets and countertop with many other drawers full of scrapbook supplies
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Fast forward a few years… the nook has been upgraded and taken over by way too many scrapbook supplies
circa 2010


Things I have tried-

I followed FlyLady when the kids were little.  Mantras that I still use today are getting dressed to shoes (though I sometimes skip the shoes, I do get dressed every day because it makes me more productive) and baby steps (every step forward counts, no matter how small).

I hired a professional organizer for one session. Some of the boxes we labeled that day are even still in use (though most of our progress has dissipated through two moves and the children growing up).  The organizer was surprised by how easily I was able to make decisions about letting go of things.  At that point in my life, as a mom of 3 young kids, just having the time to tackle the project was the biggest hurdle.  Having her there to move us through the project was the secret ingredient.  An excellent investment in a couple projects but the effects do wear off after awhile.  I would absolutely hire her again though for a couple sessions.  Hmm, maybe I should give CLee a call…

I signed up for Simplify101 online workshops.  As far as long-term effect, this was probably the best thing I’ve done.  I learned several things in these classes and the moral support and accountability of the group was great.  I now know that I need things to be easy to put away.  I don’t mind having to work a little harder to find something when I need it (for example, if I know what I’m looking for is in a particular basket, I don’t mind digging through to get it) as long as it’s easy to put things away (I can just drop it in now and walk away – easy peasy).  So for me, a basket with a pile of paper is okay and a complicated filing system is a roadblock.  Aby is so positive and encouraging and great at helping you figure out what works for your situation.


pantry with wire drawers full of supplies
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See… sort of organized and clean…
(never mind that it doesn’t look this good anymore…)


A recent discovery-

A Slob Comes Clean Podcast… I have been listening to this podcast since October and really enjoy it.  Dana’s brain works similarly to mine and I find her advice encouraging.  Her tagline is, “Sharing the truth about cleaning and organizing strategies that actually work in real life for real people who don’t love cleaning and organizing.”  Episode 151 The Link Between Creativity and Clutter gives an excellent explanation for why creative people often struggle with clutter.  We see the possibilities in things.  We have ideas about what we could do with things.  As Dana says,

“The creative soul loves the what-ifs. We love the potential and the possibility of things.  There is a thrill that comes from collecting something that’s a what-if… there are all these ideas and possiblities of what it could be.”

The collecting does give us a thrill.  But Dana eventually realized that actual creating gives lasting joy which is even better than the thrill of collecting.

“Creativity produces more creativity… Collecting in hopes of creativity actually paralyzed me…The less stuff that I have, the more that my creativity flows.”

-Dana K. White, A Slob Comes Clean

Some encouraging words of possibility, right? Now I just need to get the excess stuff out so I can enjoy what’s left!  On the plus side, I bring less stuff into the house now than I used to which is good.  But I haven’t been able to unlock the secret to getting what’s here back out again.



My main problems-

Too much stuff.  Honestly, it’s the volume of stuff in my house that’s the biggest problem.  It’s the reason that my house is always messy.  And the amount of stuff is overwhelming which makes it hard to start eliminating it. Not only do I need to get rid of a lot, I also need to stop things from coming in to begin with which is something that slowly, slowly happens without notice until one day when it all becomes too much.

Not enough time and energy (or desire).  Cleaning is at the bottom of my list and I just never seem to get around to it.  I’d much rather do something more fun or more relaxing than clean up my disaster of a house.  Lazy is a word that seems to fit here.


looking down on a living room with two couches and lots of toys everywhere
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Believe it or not, this is actually not that bad on the messy scale…
circa 2010


living room with couches
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This is about as clean as it gets…
circa 2011


The Answer-

I’m always going to be a Messy Bessy.  That’s just my nature.  I appreciate order and organization though so if I can just keep taking baby steps (aka FlyLady), listening to Dana (A Slob Comes Clean) encouraging me to just keep going no matter what, and applying what I learned from Aby (Simplify101) as I go, then maybe I can make things better eventually.  After all, knowing is half the battle.

“Knowing is half the battle.”

-GI Joe


All 20 Days of Me

What’s coming up next? Check the list to see what Day 8 will bring.  Click here to see all completed days in the series.

20 Days of Me questions
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20 Days of Me
All the questions!


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