A Simple Approach to Living With Less

Rage Against the Mess

Sometimes you just have to get angry!

“I can’t stand this mess anymore!”

“I am so sick of all this junk!”

“Enough is enough!”

Sound familiar?

If you’ve ever spoken those words or had those feelings, then you are definitely not alone! Often all the planning and good intentions to declutter won’t get you as far as just jumping in and attacking the mess.

That’s exactly where I was this week.

A Tale of Too Much Technology

My husband is a computer guy. He fixes them, builds them, and everything in between. As part of his work, he has collected a HUGE amount of computer parts and gadgets.

This wasn’t as big of a problem when we had a 2400 square foot house with plenty of basement storage. When we moved in with my parents, it became a storage nightmare! After months of paying for a storage unit that housed these computer parts, we finally decided to bite the bullet and move it all here to get rid of that monthly bill.

Even after tossing and donating a ton of parts, we have had towers of boxes and miscellaneous plastic bins housing the massive collection. For months now, we’ve been tripping over things in the hallway as we sorted through what could be sold or what should be saved.

Yesterday, I woke up and finally said ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

I was so mad at all those dumb boxes! I was so sick of looking at those computer parts and bumping my toes into extra computer towers. I just couldn’t deal with it a moment longer.

I had no plans for dealing with the mess. It wasn’t on my to do list for that day or even in the back of mind. After all the time that had passed, I had begun to overlook it all. Plus, afterall . . . it wasn’t MY mess.

It may not have been my mess, but it became MY MISSION!

For five hours, I organized, stacked, and fit things together like some massive jigsaw puzzle. Although I would have loved to toss the whole pile, it wasn’t mine to make that choice but I did succeed in rescuing our hallway and my peace of mind.

Tips for Angry Mess Management

Don’t keep putting things off. In retrospect, even though it was a headache to deal with I wish I had attacked the mess sooner. If I had known, a few hours of work could make such a big difference I would have done it a long time ago.

Think of alternatives. My favorite thing to do is throw things away. In my situation, that wasn’t an immediate option (but don’t worry I haven’t given up completely). Instead think of other ways to attack the mess. Organize it, condense it, or hide it.

Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. If you only have half and hour to work, then set a timer and make progress with the time you have. If you can’t complete a project in one sitting, just do what you can and enjoy the results. Little victories will encourage you to attack the rest of the mess sooner.

Dive right in. Don’t convince yourself that every aspect of a project needs to be planned out or that you have to know the exact end results before taking on a project. If you’re motivated, you’ll be amazed at how fast you work.

Need More Direction?

Maybe you’d like to take things a little more slowly. Or maybe you’re not even sure where to start.

You can read my book on Family-Sized Minimalism that covers everything from dealing with kid clutter, to dealing with difficult family members, to hearing from a dozen other minimalist families and how they manage the mess of day-to-day life.

I also recommend my friend Tanja’s 30 Day Clutter Bootcamp. She’ll walk you through your house step-by-step in as gentle a way as possible.

Do you have a mess that’s waiting to be attacked? Go ahead and get angry at it . . . you have my permission.

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Article originally published on 08/17/2011

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  1. LOL! I actually clean when I get mad. There is always something that needs tidied up with a child in the house. Kind of therapeutic.

    • Faith Janes says

      “There’s always something that needs tidied up with a child in the house” – AMEN to that!! 🙂

  2. Travis @DebtChronicles says

    Every day when I get home, I can’t relax or function at all until I process the mail, clean off the counter, pick up the upstairs and downstairs living room of things that don’t belong there, and plug my laptop in. I am constantly keeping our house “picked up.” My wife is constantly getting angry at me for throwing things away – specifically scraps of paper that have things written in every direction. I finally bought her a notebook, labeled it “IMPORTANT STUFF” and said I would never throw the notebook away. Everything else is fair game. It works for us.

    I will now go and fill my ipod with Rage Against the Machine songs for tomorrow’s #miniminzeyobutt workout, since you reminded me that they totally rock. 🙂

    • Faith Janes says

      Love the hands off notebook! That’s a great idea. Putting in some boundaries that are mutually agreeable is a good plan.

      Rock on, Travis! 🙂

  3. I love the ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! I have been there before many a time! Glad it spurred you on to action!
    Oh, and we have several “spare” computers at our house…
    Frustrated with the ever-present mess?

  4. Wow; did you come to MY house and then write this? lol Thanks so much for posting this. I’ll try not to throw away hubby’s tech toys. 🙂

    Laurel H.
    Always learning

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