I hate cleaning.

There. I said it.

But here’s the other truth: I also absolutely love cleaning as well.

As a creative, I’m not the neatest person in the world, to say the least. (Okay, maybe I shouldn’t place all that blame on just being a dang creative.)

Add in a 2-year-old puppy who loves to de-fluff toys, chew on sticks inside, and is determined to have the porch door open even during pollen season… well… you get the point. The struggle is oh so very real.

I can handle disorder and chaos – to an extent. However, I’ve found that I have this awesome tendency of avoiding areas in my apartment that feel chaotic to a fault: the laundry room the bathroom I don’t use, my office…

Yeah, that’s a lot of rooms.

Why do I avoid them? Just walking into those chaotic spaces feels stressful and heightens my anxiety.

Having an avoidant attachment style means I avoid anything that “causes” stress or anxiety like it’s the plague. Messy rooms. Conflict. Taxes. Well, you get the point.

But this means that by avoiding the chaos, I end up creating a spiral…

  1. The level of chaos increases
  2. As a result, my stress and anxiety levels increase.
  3. And then as a result of that, I end up avoiding 1/3 of my apartment and wasting all that space that I pay lots of money for each month

Oh yeah, did I mention it’s not just a spiral but also a vicious cycle?!

I recently realized that being in a chronic state of chaos was creating chronic stress and anxiety for me, so starting last weekend, I decided to do something about it.

Rather than avoid what leads to alllll the stress and anxiety, I decided to “embrace” it and KonMari that s**t.

Last weekend, I declogged the bathroom sink. How long had I been avoiding it? About 2 months. How long did it take to unclog without me getting all gross and nasty? 45 minutes, most of which didn’t involve me actually doing anything except pouring some liquid down the sink. (It was a big clog, okay?!?!)

I also conquered most of the living room. (I’m still not sure what to do with my ridiculously large collection of books that won’t fit on the bookshelf.) Surprisingly, it has stayed mostly clean and stick-free.

Guess what happened? My stress and anxiety levels have been significantly less this past week.

When you get out of denial and start confronting (instead of avoiding) the parts of your life that cause you stress and anxiety, your chronic stress and anxiety levels will decrease, resulting in an increased level of happiness + joy.

Is 15 minutes (or even a few days) of facing the pain worth the long-term benefits of less stress, less anxiety, and more joy? Absolutely.

Today, I’m in the process of conquering the laundry room and the hallway. Most of the laundry room is done, and de-cluttering the hallway just means getting rid of 2 boxes of old boxes and trash.

Tomorrow, I’m conquering the office.

Let’s do this, Marie.