I am the farthest thing from a “neat” person. For a long time I believed that there was a magnet-like material embedded into the floor of all of the rooms I’ve ever had that attracted a mysterious element found in all of the clothing I owned. It was the only explanation for my clothing always being on the floor. Always.
I was about to tell you, “But I am a clean person”. But that’s a lie. I once wrote a list of small things I could do that would improve my life and “Taking a shower everyday” made that list. I needed a list to remind me of the importance of taking a shower. No, I’m not a clean person, either.
But something about moving in with Mark, and becoming a “wife” makes me feel like I should be tidy. And clean. And keep up my personal hygiene.
When it started to look like moving in with Mark would be in my future I started to, uncharacteristically, jones for an opportunity to clean his house. The whole thing. Top to bottom. In one day. One weekend, if necessary, but no more. I wanted to get the whole thing done in one fail swoop.
I was worried. Worried that if I didn’t get everything in the right place the minute I stepped across the threshold that it would never get put in its right place. Worried that I would continue to live my not so tidy lifestyle. Who am I kidding? I am worried.
My first weekend at home I immediately realized there was a lot to do. We had stacks of gifts waiting to be opened. I really didn’t want to open anything. Why? Because whenever those presents came out of their gift bags and wrapping paper we would have to put them somewhere. Everything would need a “place”. And I had no places to give.
Together we opened gifts and placed items in the vicinity of where we thought they might end up… one day. This was not getting off to a very good start. Especially not in comparison to my fantasy of going to bed my first night in my new home completely relaxed because everything was where. It. Should. Be.
And then it started happening.
One evening the shower was cleaned.
One afternoon was spent trading old bathroom accessories out for new ones.
Clothes were folded and put in their new places.
Beds were made nearly everyday (because my husband truly rocks).
Despite all of this, I only focused on everything that had not been done. The kitchen, the dining room, MY CAR! My poor car is a wreck, but I have resolved not to move any more things into my house until I know its place. Which sadly reminds me that even after 2 weeks, I still have no places to give anything.
Sunday night, in a burst of unexpected energy, I cleaned the refrigerator. One shelf at a time, top to bottom. I found out we had 11 different jars of mayo. Eleven! Five were thrown away due to expiration dates, but that is still SIX jars of mayo! I threw away a whole garbage bag of old food, and the fridge looks amazing.
I immediately thought that I should clean the freezer because I believe in balance. I thrive on balance. But I was tired, and it was late. And I didn’t want to clean anymore. I really didn’t give a should, anymore.
I proudly inspected my clean fridge, and said to myself, “Nope, this is good enough for right now. This is one more step towards a cleaner kitchen, a cleaner home, and that’s all I need tonight”.
I can’t explain the relief. The relief I felt in knowing that everything is a journey. A clean home is a journey. A career I love is a journey. A happy marriage is a journey. A mind free of “shoulds” is even a journey!
All I can do is take steps towards those destinations. Cleaning the fridge and letting the freezer wait, in some wonderful way, helped me to see that one step really is… enough.