Last year, I called my best friend the day of a dinner party she was hosting for a few friends. She was in a panic, “I CAN’T have people over tonight! I don’t have time to clean!” I have heard this many many times over the course of our friendship, and it is something we can all relate to: the build up of clutter that slowly buries our lives under papers, dirty dishes, mismatched socks, over-flowing recycling bins, and a heap of clothes on the floor that never made their way to the hanger or the hamper. Suddenly, we find ourselves drowning in a seemingly impossible ocean of chaos. Items stuffed in every nook and cranny, afraid to open the door for fear that it will all come tumbling down. In these moments, I remind my best friend that we love her regardless of the clutter and the stacks of bills on her dining room table, the Twizzler wrappers from her pre-workout snack. We love her for her... and we have learned to arrive a few hours late to her dinner parties, so she has ample time to ease her anxiety by taking out the trash and running the vacuum cleaner, while she stuffs things away to make her home guest-ready.
The thing is, my best friend doesn’t need to make her home “guest-ready” for us, she does it for herself, to lessen the embarrassment she feels about her collection of clutter and chaos. What if she didn't need to clean before friends came over? What if the items in her home already had a place to live? What if she wiped the slate clean, started fresh, and adopted a new way of living that freed her from insanity of binge cleaning? How amazing would THAT be?! But this is where we all get stuck.
“It’s impossible!” she tells me, “I have no idea where to start. It will take years. I can’t even show you my basement. It’s HORRIBLE.” I have also heard this many times, not only from my best friend, but from all of my friends. We all have that room. That room we dread entering, that room that looms over us with “should dos” and “need tos” and weighs us down with the very thought of having to re-discover its contents and organize the chaos so the space can become ours again. A part of our life, a usable, productive, and dare I say, peaceful part of our home.
Recently, my best friend decided to make a change. With the help of Clean Slate Living, we transformed her 3-room basement from piles of chaos and long-forgotten keepsakes into a second bedroom, work room, and laundry room with a sitting area, the perfect space in her home for her sentimental items, to welcome house guests, and complete DIY projects. She was emotional and scared that it was too much, that it couldn’t be done. Within just 8 short hours, she had tears in her eyes. She was emotional from the realization that she had lived under the weight of all of her stuff for so long, emotional at the discovery of sentimental items she hadn’t seen in years, and emotional due to the newfound freedom she had in her own home. Organizing and repurposing her basement led to making the same changes in her office and her kitchen. To celebrate her newfound freedom, she threw a dinner party. We all arrived on time. Her home was ready welcome guests, but more importantly, it was ready to welcome her. Each and every day. A sanctuary to call her own. A place she was proud to take care of. A place she could find time to relax and focus on living her life. She was no longer drowning in an ocean of clutter, she was sailing ample time to sunbathe (and make an amazing dinner, sans vacuum cleaner!)