Monday, May 24, 2010

The Best Therapy

Last week I did something absolutely amazing! After I finished, I felt like a whole new woman--more free, more in control, more fabulous. And I thought to myself: Why in the world did I wait so long to do this? It changed my whole perspective on life. I mean, it was literally life-changing!

I cleaned out my closet.

Okay, so you were probably expecting something more dramatic but I'm serious when I say it made a significant difference in my life. I immediately felt like I had lost 10 pounds (the feeling every woman wants, right?), and I could not stop wondering why and how I had let things get so out of control. I also could not stop finding myself in my closet throughout the next few days, just staring at the organized shoes and clothes, simply breathing in the feeling of neatness and order.

I guess you would have had to have seen just how bad it looked before you could really appreciate what I'm talking about. I even took "before" and "after" pictures so I could remind myself of what I never want my closet to look like again. That may sound a little over-the-top, but I'm telling you, it was worth it.



(Honestly, you can't possibly tell from the pictures just how dramatic the change really was).

Life the past nine months consistently spiraled into craziness. Between teaching preschool, supporting my children's athletic and school events, dealing with health issues, coaching a club volleyball team, church assignments and a gazillion other life responsibilities, my role as homemaker took a back seat--like way back, like the caboose back. In other words, the bare minimum was getting done, and little by little, my house became a hazardous zone. I kept telling myself I would get to it, that when the basement was finally done (we've been working on it for a good year), I would find a place for everything and get officially organized.

Well, the other day, I hit a wall. I walked into my closet (actually, it was nearly impossible to walk into it because of everything piled all over, so carefully attempted to make my way without tripping would be a more accurate description) and decided enough was enough. I was not going to live another day with such a disastrous room. And I got to work. Two hours later I emerged. I felt as if I had conquered Goliath. The rest of the day, I kept returning to stand in the middle of it and just stare. I realized I could even lie on the floor and make a snow angel in the carpet if I wanted to since the floor was free of debris. It was the most wonderful feeling!

But then I walked out of my closet and felt . . . like crying. The whole house seemed to need a major overhaul. I decided to take on one project a day until the entire house was as fresh and clean as my closet. I didn't care what other responsibilities had to be put on hold--I was on a mission to find my house again one room at a time, and no one was going to stop me!

Except my children and their obligations.

A few days went by without progress. That's when I had a rough day of motherhood (my three-year-old is teaching me patience--need I say more?), and before I knew it, I had thrown open the hall closet and started tossing everything over my shoulder. It was as if I had discovered a new form of therapy--decluttering--and it was working like a charm. Ducking as they passed by, my children wondered what was going on with Mom and why I was furiously organizing the closet. "I'm taking control of my life again," I said. And that's exactly how it felt.

Over the course of a few days I cleaned my pantry (too bad I didn't take "before" and "after" pictures--it was unbelievable) and numerous drawers and cupboards in my kitchen. And with each tidied space I felt a little more free and in control. It was amazing!

One day my son became sick and felt like he had a fever. I rushed to the newly organized closet and grabbed for a thermometer (I found out I own four--before the feverish cleaning expedition I wasn't sure I even owned one), plopping it under his tongue with a smile of satisfaction that I knew exactly where to find one. I felt empowered. I decided right then that regardless of how crazy life gets, my role as homemaker will never get pushed so far to the back again.

A few years ago I watched an Oprah that talked about your home being a reflection of you. They said if your home is cluttered, your life is cluttered. I thought it was interesting, that some valid points were made. But I had never fully experienced it until this past week when I decided my life was full of way too much clutter, and I got to work. If only I had known I could feel so much better just by making a space for things and then making sure things got put away in that space. So simple, yet so hard .

Now, reality tells me it won't stay wonderfully tidy forever, at least not without consistent effort. But I just have to say, if you want to do something amazing for yourself--something that doesn't cost a thing, something that will change your life--simply pick a closet. It truly is the best therapy.


Melanie said...

Seriously are you pregnant and nesting? :)
I totally agree it does make you feel so much better. And for some reason you want to show it off because it feels like a HUGE accomplishment!