I used to think my messy mud was a negative reflection on who I am

  • My mud room is where I throw everything from my suitcase to random papers.
  • It’s the first room you see when you enter our house, and it’s very unwelcoming.
  • A muddy mess often mirrors my mental health, but I try to stop beating myself up over it.

We all have places in our homes where we throw away our wallets, keys, miscellaneous papers, bags, and other unwanted items when we walk in the door. It might be a kitchen countertop, a foyer, or a dining room table—to me, it’s a mudroom.

It has become kind of a landfill recently.

The mess in our room doesn’t always bother me. It’s a sign of a crowded family, which includes two adults, two children, and a large dog.

It houses backpacks and coats, my daughter’s squad machine, laundry baskets, laundry in different stages, dog bowls and food — all the usual suspects.

These are put in, moved, straightened, and pushed aside on a daily basis, and that’s fine—most of the time.

It’s not very welcoming

The mudroom is the first room you see when you enter our house via the garage. So it’s not the most welcome sight when there’s a pile of leftovers from the week’s activities.

While some clutter is understandable, no one really wants to skip shoes, backpacks, and laundry when they first enter someone’s home. It just doesn’t scream ‘hello’ or ‘clean’, and I don’t want to put that on the guests who come to our house.

A messy mud room often reflects my mental health, so the subject comes with a lot of baggage — and I don’t mean backpacks on the floor.

I’ve noticed that over the past year or so, the physical spaces in my house – this house in particular – really reflect my feelings and mental health. I suffer from both obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression, which together can create a really interesting cross between wanting to keep a very clean and tidy home and not having enough energy, desire or focus to do so. I’m not going to lie – it’s an ongoing challenge, and I can clearly see it happening in my mud room.

Addressing these problems is an ongoing process, and I am learning to be patient with myself and my family. It’s a common space with a lot of moving parts, and we’re all busy.

My clay is a reflection of my mood

If I stop cleaning completely because I’m depressed and unmotivated, the mud room will obviously get filthy and unmanageable, and it just makes me feel bad. If I combat the lack of energy and get myself to do some straightening, I know I’ll feel much better and more in control.

On the flip side, if my kids or dogs mess it up after I’ve cleaned it up, I have to give them and myself, knowing that it’s just mud and that it’s okay.

Easier said than done, but it’s a clear reminder to me that managing my feelings is important not only to me but to the rest of my family.

My messy mud room is a part of my life, which is constantly evolving as my children and husband grow. It is not a negative reflection on my personality or ability to be a good parent and run a busy family. It’s just a room. It doesn’t have to be anything more than that – just a physical reminder to focus on keeping the good things in life and letting the other less important things go by.

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