Does your MESS cause you DISTRESS?

I remember years ago coming home from a cherished date night with my husband only to find the babysitter had left me with a messy kitchen that included a sink full of dishes and a counter covered in crumbs. My mood instantly shifted from a joyous, delicate buzz to an unexpected, uncalled for, and unexplainable hatred.

Ok maybe hatred is too strong. But you get the point.

It was irrational.

It was trivial.


My little kids were safe and asleep.

I was able to get out with my husband without getting the dreaded croup call, the crying “I can’t sleep call”, or the babysitter can’t make it call.

And, I am a reasonable person with life in perspective who doesn’t sweat the small stuff and rarely gets angry…


BUT...there was and still is something instantaneous that happens to me when I see a mess.



Recently, I had that reaction again visiting my girls in their shared New York City apartment. I walked in and flipped out.

Why would something so harmless send me into a tizzy?

Afterall, I was not the neatest person myself...

And I am not a perfectionist...

This got me thinking. A lot.


Is the mess in our homes symbolic of the mess in our lives?

Confronting our messes can be scary and overwhelming. In fact, it’s often easier to shove things in the back of a closet and close the door then to really look at our messy lives.

When we stare are our stuff right in front of our eyes, we have to be brave and strong and admit that life isn’t perfect. We can’t pretend that everything is pretty and presentable. We have to admit that we have shortcomings.

Sometimes the mess is just clutter -  it’s things that we have accumulated along the way and other times the mess is the stuff that we just don’t know what to do with. You know - not only the jeans in a size too small or the blouse that we can’t seem to give away, but also the toxic relationships, the stagnant careers, and the stresses of parenting.

If we hide them away can we pretend that they don’t exist?

Taking out the items of a mess and looking at them, taking a look at our lives, and trying our best to put items in the proper place where it makes sense takes a lot of work, thought, and analysis.

For me, it usually includes some shedding of tears and facing of fears.

So what about you?

Is this the time for you face the messes in your life?

What is it that you’re hiding? What is easier to hide then to face?

This just might be the right time to declutter our closets and our lives.

Lisa LewtanComment