Saturday, November 08, 2008

Cleaning house

And my brain, while I'm at it.

Cleaning the counter

This is that counter space. You know, the one right by the entry way, the horizontal surface that is oh-so convenient, otherwise known as the junk pile? I swear that as the pile grows, so does the tension in my shoulders. When the pile buries the phone in its charger, a new wrinkle shows up on my forehead. Every time I drop the day's pallet load of school papers on top of the heap, the pressure in my head increases.

Yeah, I know... a tad on the dramatic side. But really, when my house is out of control, it usually signifies an imbalance in my life. Don't get me wrong, I have two kids, two cats, a dog, and a husband that all pass through here. My house is far from spotless. And I don't want it to be spotless, I want it to look like people live here, play here, and get messy here. But its the spaces like this one, where things are left and not reclaimed, that drive me crazy. Because I know each thing in that space needs to go somewhere else, I need to do something with each one, attention must be paid. And if the pile is as big as it was this morning when I started, I haven't been paying attention in quite a while.

So, as part of my plan to work on the little things that contribute to my mood swings, this morning I attacked that pile. I don't have a before picture. Trust me when I say that the phone was not visible and I could not have crammed a single new piece of paper into the mail holder thingie. All that lovely space in front? Haven't seen it in months.

Today I touched, sorted, and moved every item in the holder and the pile beside it. I now have a full recycle bin and two boxes with papers that need to be filed; sorted into kid stuff and non-kid stuff, already carried downstairs and left in front of the new file cabinet. The saddest part of this adventure is that it took me less than 90 minutes. There were papers and pictures in that pile from last spring that have added to my tension since last spring! How ridiculous!! While my kids played in mud puddles outside, I stood in the open doorway, sorting and enjoying the fresh air.

I have no doubt that that pile will renew itself. Just adding one piece of paper to it today after the mail was delivered made me grit my teeth, but I put it there because it requires action that can't be completed during the weekend. Will it get covered by others? Yup, probably. But if I can remember how much easier it is, somehow, to breathe with it gone, maybe it won't get too bad.

Really though? I just posted this photo to prove to Jason while he's away that there is a counter in that corner.

1 comment:

Beth said...

Sometimes I read your posts and just enjoy getting an update. Sometimes I read your writing and get inspired. Today, I read and realize why I like you so much.

This is EXACTLY what I've been going through lately. I've now identified 25 points in my house that need my attention. The desk was a prime one so it got high priority. As much as I want to be calm, every time I see a pile of paper that needs to be sorted, I get a tension head ache! But now that I have a game plan to attack, I feel like everything else will fall into place!

Maybe I should take some before and after photos to visually reward myself!