OK I’ll admit it; I’m a bit of a control freak.
I like rules and order they give me balance and a sense of place to exist within. Generally this translates to multiple areas of my life but since starting school I was finding myself just feeling out of control.
Within the last few years my grandmother passed away and while it wasn’t unexpected the sheer volume of stuff we as a family had to go through and make sense of was voluminous.
She was a depression era lady so she kept darn near everything. So we found files of newspaper clippings on each member of the family which was sweet and a lovely walk down memory lane but it didn’t quite outweigh the boxes of bread bags or used Ziploc bags…we are talking hundreds. There were mementos galore, most with cute little numbers taped to the bottom of them to tell us who was supposed to get what….trouble was “The Book” that was supposed to decode the secret messages in the numbers like the Da Vinci Code had gone missing. So what ensued as we emptied her apartment in the necessary 3 days after her passing was nothing short of dumping stuff. There were some pieces of sentimental or monetary value that were kept. Funnily enough, several seemed to find their way to me. It was maybe a truckload of stuff, inclusive of a curio cabinet along with its contents and a small recliner and a boatload of pictures and papers. Not sure why I was the lucky winner of that lottery, but I digress.
So, in the haste to get the funeral done and clear out so the next person could get into her assisted care apartment, I literally just stacked the stuff in the spare room and figured I’d go through it all later.
About six months after Gram left us, one set of my parents said they’d flat out had enough of Minnesota winters and were going to move to Florida. In the planning of the move, they staged the house for sale. Enter house clearing number two. So another truckload of stuff made its way to my house temporarily.
Again I say, yeah right.
When the house didn’t initially sell, ‘The Rents’ decided they would concentrate on getting ready for retirement so the stuff just sat and waited while that got sorted out.
Eventually the house sold but the kicker was a three week closing. So off ‘The Rents’ flew to find a place in the sun to move into and my sister and I were left to begin the process of sorting through what we wanted to keep vs what could go. “Go” meaning other family, friends, thrift stores, or trash if it was something ‘The Rents’ didn’t want to move. We did our duty and divided accordingly and more stuff arrived at my home and was put in the spare room for “temporary storage”.
This, of course, brought the question to my mind that I stupidly voiced of, “Hey what about that stuff I’ve had for half a year in holding for you?” Answer was a curt, “Just hang on to it for now.”
Upon securing a new home, the packing to move for the 5 bedroom 3 level home they’d been in for something like 15 years ensued. In the haste of the move my dad decided to get those POD storage things. He looked at their site and picked accordingly – two of the long pods were secured. Things were boxed and movers arrived to continue to pack and then put stuff into the pods. It was, as they say, the best laid of plans; but needless to say; it didn’t all fit and they had to be out of their house. So more stuff again came to my house and promptly went into the basement, the spare room and the left overs stashed here and there.
As my parents headed to a sunnier and warmer climate, I had the brilliant idea to take on a couple of board seats in organizations I loved. So I just shut the doors and figured I’d tackle the sorting in the fall/winter.
You guessed it, Yeah Right comes into play again.
I was then happily going about my day to day life till one fateful day. It was then that I decided it was time to finish my degree.
Meanwhile the stuff waited; think out of sight, out of mind right? WRONG.
During this timeframe I was noticing I was gaining weight. I didn’t think too much of it till summer session hit, when I realized all the prior years’ summer attire was not going to fit. So I thought I’d just go ahead and do a diet. Well, as I shared in a prior post, I’m 47 and apparently when you hit 45 losing weight is no longer an easy thought process of “Oh I’ll cut out carbs and run with the dogs.” Apparently at 45 your metabolism goes on vacation and, frankly, refuses to come back so weight loss becomes an all-out war.
I said when I began, I’m a control freak, so I simply couldn’t figure out why when I was doing all the things the experts were saying and doing the “all things in moderation” approach, why was it not working. It not an understatement to say I was at the end of my rope looking for any answers so as not to drive myself to depression over what I shouldn’t eat. But the plain truth was, I was simply not only not losing but was, in fact, gaining weight.
Then I stumbled on this…..
….. And there it was, the answer staring me right in the mirror. Yes indeed your clutter does make your butt look fat. And worse yet, guess what? You are in fact way too overweight; you might be pushing obese.
Maybe you are far smarter than I am so you had already figured this out…
But I honestly never would have made the correlation that the stuff being stored in the spare room and the basement and Lord knows where else would have been a real source of stress to this degree and subsequently my weight gain.
Having all that junk just waiting for me to attack was a major source of underlying stress going unnoticed. It was like my own seventh circle of Hell and it was bleeding into other places from behind the closed doors, like my personal sanctuary, my bedroom. There were piles of paper ordered just so, but it became ever so much easier to just dump receipts in a bag and put them off to sort out later, rather than doing paperwork.
But later just got further and further away till the day I discovered that my badonkadonk was due to all that stuff cluttering up the house and creating chaos.
I was so used to running at a high stress level that I never even noticed the additional stress the clutter and chaos was putting on me or made the connection to the 10th surprising signs of stress. I mean come on, talk about your 10 surprising signs and symptoms of stress, I had darn near all of them and not once prior to discovering Peter Walsh did it hit me my weight gain could be starting there.
Well, guess what? I dug into what Peter Walsh had to say, and it completely resonated with me. Looking back on those piles of paper and that scale even now, just makes my neck and shoulders tense up simply recalling it. Don’t get me wrong, losing weight after 45 is no picnic, but at least I’m moving in the right direction now. Getting rid of the junk in the spare room started me on getting rid of the “junk in my trunk”. My hope is that is that if you are like me and didn’t get the correlation between the Chaos and Clutter and your battle with your weight that you’ll reach out and together we can tackle it and you can be healthier and happier.