Notes From The Coast

The beach does funny things to the brain

The Stuff of Life

Shoes in the middle of the hallway. Purse on the floor. Stacks of papers on the kitchen table. Empty coffee cups on the counter. The Stuff of Life.

Some people I know are in the good (some might call it anal) habit of putting all their stuff away the minute they get home. I am not one of those people. I’m more of a, “I’ll get to it in a minute, I need a glass of wine first,” kind of person.


Of course, when you live alone, your stuff becomes invisible to you. As long as I can find my bra in the morning and clear a spot on the coffee table for my wine glass, I’m happy. Stuff? What stuff? I can see the TV fine from here! Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a slob. You won’t find rotting food in between the couch cushions or grime in my bathroom but let’s just say I don’t lose sleep over a sinkful of dirty dishes.


Eventually, I get around to cleaning up my stuff and putting it where it belongs. Four days is usually the time limit on “Stuff Pile-up.”


But to other people, specifically my significant other, my beloved stuff just looks like little piles of shit all over the house. It can be maddening. But upon closer inspection, he is just like me; his stuff is invisible to him too. The truth is we’re both guilty and most times we can rise above the stuff (read: mess) and love our moments we have together. This I consider healthy.


I have a deeply held belief that a super clean house is a sign of an insane mind. Perhaps a non-violent psychopathic preoccupation. Some brand of crazy that results in gleaming countertops and tables perpetually polished with Pledge. I can’t relax in a room like that. I need a little clutter. A little mess. A little wax on a table from candles burned the night before is a sign of a good conversation. Empty wine glasses on the deck usually mean good music was played and no one wanted to go to bed.


Messiness and stuff is a sign that a house has life in it. A sign that it’s loved and enjoyed. A sign that there are bigger things to worry about than crushed goldfish crackers on the kitchen floor.



The best things in life aren’t perfect, but rather, a big jumble of beautiful messiness. Rumpled sheets, cookie crumbs, beer rings, remnants of cheese on cutting boards, lip gloss on wine glasses, flip flops tossed on the deck, stubble on a smiling face, and sand in the tub after a day at the beach. All of this messiness is the happy detritus of a life well lived and deeply enjoyed.


There will always be dirty dishes and clothes to be folded and a place and time for making things neat. But sometimes, the messiness of life, and letting things be, turn out to be the neatest.


Now, if I could only convince my significant other that all my stuff lying around is the clearest evidence that I’m happy and secure and in love with him and our lives. I suspect chances will improve when I go clean the cat box.

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