The Corner We Worked On Looks Great

Kristy came over today.  She saw all of the piles, the pantry, even the basement, and she said, “No problem.”  Nothing scares her.  She even greeted the pet rats upstairs during the house tour.

Somehow she made sense of a corner in my kitchen that wasn’t even on my radar screen, and now I can’t stop looking at it.  I breathe differently looking over there.  If we can accomplish that, then I know we can change this entire place to better reflect who we are as a family, and to support our best selves.

Today, I even let Kristy throw out most of the things in the bag she filled.  And she’s coming back next Wednesday.  Woo hoo!  In the meantime, I have two homework assignments: 1) to take pictures of my kids’ art so I can create some photo books of the work instead of keeping the actual art pieces, and 2) to clear off the nature shelf in the kitchen, a Waldorf inspired idea that features outdoor souvenirs like pine cones and acorns.  Taking pictures was an idea I got from organizer Peter Walsh and decorator Nate Berkus.  I was as proud to share that suggestion with Kristy as I was to show her my alphabetized spice cabinet.  “See?!” I wanted her to know.  “I’m not a total lost cause!”

I was really worked up in the anticipation of today, and now I’m excited about what my house is going to look like.  The charge is almost gone from receiving help around this.  As I did reps at Pilates this morning, it dawned on me that I don’t feel like “less” of a person because I have a teacher leading me through these familiar exercises every week, despite the number of years I’ve done them.  Why is housework any different?  Another “aha” moment was reclaiming my gifts, skills and experience as a healer.  Really owning that, being proud of that, freed me up to see what is in my “shadow” side – being less effective around household organizing – instead of remaining in denial about it, pretending that I’m actually good at it but that a lack of “time” is the culprit.

I’ve limped along here and there and done lots of work on purging and organizing, but none of it has been sustainable.  I lamented that the money I’d spent on previous help two years ago was all for nothing.  But a friend pointed out that perhaps this reorg is a regular thing – that periodically, maybe an overhaul is needed, especially if I don’t have consistent help with cleaning.  That made sense to me.  It takes away the pressure to “get it right this time,” since things are always changing, reflecting our family’s needs and rhythms at any given time.

Today’s helps were so easy: we used a larger manila envelope to hold coupons instead of insisting on stuffing them in a smaller envelope simply because that’s as far as the storage got before now; created a second downstairs coin jar for loose change, instead of letting it drift around the countertops until it made its way upstairs to the “official” coin jar; and was brutally honest with myself that as much as I *want* to use magazines for recipe ideas, I never do use them and always go on-line, or use my regular cookbooks.  It took a while to sink in.  I keep buying the magazines because I love the recipe ideas, but I don’t actually use them.  So they got tossed.  It about killed me, but it felt right after they were gone.  Finally, we created a grab ‘n go pile of magazines I like to have handy to take with me on car rides, etc. but instead of stuffing them in those corner shelves with the cookbooks, they’re in their own basket.  

I’ve been delighting in thinking about what it will look like every day to do “maintenance” instead of constantly attempting, and failing at, doing an overhaul of a closet here or a drawer, there.  I’m imagining what it’s like to clean without feeling like I’m in a crisis (not exaggerating), letting go of the intensity, and celebrating how much more our lives will flow, how much more excited I feel about being home, etc.  I’m euphoric just dancing with these possibilities.

Under the category, “Of COURSE…..” — During our hour with Kristy today, Declan took every piece of downstairs furniture and every upstairs pillow to create a fort in the living room.  I loved it!  I laughed so hard, appreciating the contrast of clearing and order on my kitchen counter, while my living room was filled to the brim with a fort that “you’ll NEVER be able to get in, Mom!!” 

It’s all perfect.

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