The power of a cupboard

Sometimes it’s best to just stuff your sin away in a cupboard and get on with your life.

My home, as I may have mentioned, has been something of a visual cacophony these past few months, and I couldn’t seem to get on top of it, or even really make any headway with it. Week after week my routine chores would fail to scratch the surface of the clutter that had become endemic to my abode, my thankless toiling at the kitchen sink or laundry basket fundamentally incapable of making anything look any cleaner or suitably arrayed. My vacuum cleaner broke in protest at having to skirt awkwardly around lumps of various classification. I was despondent, defeated, and prevented from practicing yoga by just a bit too much stuff on the floor.

Here’s the thing. I have a large, large cupboard. When I put things in the cupboard, they cease to exist. So I had pulled things out of the cupboard, to force myself to deal with them. And then I did not deal with them. In half a year, I probably dealt with three of them. Okay, maybe I’m not being fair to myself, maybe it was five. But there were more than five things that I had pulled out of the cupboard. Yet I could not put them back in the cupboard, because then I would not deal with them.

You see my predicament. The solution to my problems was the very thing I had told myself prevented me from solving my problems. And so I resisted my salvation for far too long.

…I finally put them back in the cupboard.

Now all is well. Life is a breeze. My Roomba is free to roam. I’m going to do some yoga tonight. I might even go for a run first, not because it’s related, just because I fucking well can. Sure, there will be a time when there is something I need, and it will take three hours of concerted effort to extract it from the cupboard, but that time is not now. What I needed in this moment was floor space.

The reason

I’m kinda antsy about people coming into my house. Like I have this nice idea of myself some time in the future just welcoming all of these friends new and old into my beautiful, inviting, spacious home and generously sharing my bounty with them all in whichever way is appropriate. But, truth is, right now, if almost any of them turned up at my door today they’d be greeted with a deer-in-highlights expression and a shaky oh, er, do you want to come in?

Why? Because my house is a reflection of myself and that self is barely bridled chaos. And I spend most of my leisure time at my desk in my bedroom, so unless I have a specific reason to go look at it, I don’t even notice how dishevelled my living room is. Don’t get me started on the kitchen that I pathologically refuse to engage with. I live in fear of having to invite someone into it and suddenly being faced with untold pandemonium.

I’d liken it to getting caught with my pants down, but – fun fact – I recently learned I’m nowhere near as embarrassed by that as someone coming into my unprepared home.

So, why can’t I just be comfortable with the fact that I’m a mess and my house is a mess? Well, I’ve figured out at least one pretty compelling reason. The other day my mother visited and when she came into the partially tidied living room she said dramatically “woah, it’s pretty tidy in here, you feeling alright?”, which is completely standard fare – she is guaranteed to either dismay that I haven’t tidied enough or feign concern for my health if I have. It’s very witty. But then it was like, for the first time in her life, she heard what she was saying and said “do I sound like grandma?”, and I said “no, you just sound like you.”

And it was then we both realised she’s the reason I don’t like having people in my house.

I’m exaggerating. But, yeah, kind of.