Ever since I was twelve or so I wanted to marry an older guy. Perhaps it’s because I am an only child and my desire is to be around older people; however, when I was young, I thought it was so cool to have boyfriends that had jobs, cars (complete with a driver’s license!), and grown up problems (e.g., bills). There was something about knowing my special someone had a few more years experience than me that was extremely comforting.
The good news is I got my wish! Eric is almost six years older than me – which, in my mind, is a perfect gap for me. The bad news is Eric was twenty-eight when we got married and he had twenty-eight years to collect a lot of stuff.
About six months before we got married, Eric bought a house. He moved the contents of his apartment and his storage unit into the house. Several months later, upon getting married, we moved the contents of my apartment into the house and my extra stuff from back home. My mother was especially thrilled to free up some space in their house and shed. After all, I’d already been away from home for the greater part of three years at college. Needless to say, this house that seemed big when it was empty became quite small after we comingled the stuff we accumulated from our lives.
Shortly after we got married, we threw ourselves into grad school. At the end of the day, we were busy between full time jobs and part time school. The boxes of stuff we brought into the house stayed in the basement. After grad school, other pursuits awaited us. We pursued them and the boxes remained tucked away in the basement. And even as I type this, the boxes are still in the basement.
The clutter has finally caught up with me! It seems like I go to bed and wake up to find more stuff in my basement than I remembered (I think it’s multiplying…). If you are not careful, stuff will take over your life. When I was preparing for marriage, no one ever told me that clutter would affect my marriage. So, I’m here to tell all of you aspiring brides and grooms out there that CLUTTER WILL AFFECT YOUR MARRIAGE. At one point, Eric even picked up this book and started reading it: It’s All Too Much by Peter Walsh. He said it was a very good book that would have helped us if he slowed down enough to be able to implement it!
There is a type of peace that comes from having a neat, organized home. Most homes have some storage areas. It’s not feasible to think that you will never have to tuck items away for occasional use (e.g., snow shovels, gardening tools, and seasonal decorations); yet, an organizational system will aid greatly in keeping those items out of your daily life. Piles of stuff in every room may affect your ability to think clearly, relax, and enjoy your living space (I can tell you that it does for me!). There are reasons people don’t choose to live in storage units.
However, as of a few weeks ago, little by little, I started chipping away at organizing our living space. Goodwill will get a visit from me soon and Craigslist may see me as well. For the remaining items, I will be boxing, labeling, and organizing our unfinished space in the basement. For my sanity, the rest of our house needs to be the picture of minimalistic bliss.
Since I’ve let all of this clutter grow over the last few years, organizing it is going to be quite the job. If I put it off longer, it will be an even bigger job. Had I organized it as I was moving in, it would not have been nearly as overwhelming of a task as it is now. So, as I type to you from a cluttered computer room, let me strongly recommend that as you move towards combining your life with another, spend some focused time in the first few months organizing your home. If organization is not your gift, find someone who is gifted who can help you (if they really gifted, then they may even do it for free just to see one more room loosened from the bondage of clutter!). De-cluttering your home from the onset will be well worth it in the days to come! With that said… wish me luck! I’m going into the warzone again….
What ways can you organize now to make moving in together after the wedding less stressful?