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Owning My Messy--It's how I clean

Humans are magnificent and MESSY--I got that from a lecture or a class or something I was part of years ago. I wish I could give credit because it has stuck with me, yet the voice and the setting escape me. But it has stuck with me. . . Humans do amazing and HUGE and miraculous things, and then in the next moment they are messy or mistake laden or humble when they should stand proud or self-righteous when those watching can see they are burying themselves.

HUMANS are all the things, frequently all the time and in no discernable order.

I am absolutely no exception to this! But I don't need to be and that is the part of growing, aging, learning that I am seeing more and more. . . I am human and magnificent and messy, just like you and the next person I meet and the people I will never know.

So I would like to share with you, my tried and true cleaning method. . . it is quite possibly the bane of my husband's existence, but it is my process. So imagine:

A space, any space. . . it has the lingering reminiscence of a system or an order, you can almost smell the burning of the digital brain melting as the well outlined plan has fallen not only into disuse, but post-apocalyptic status. It was once tidy, systematic, labeled, accessible. . . NOW it is dangerous, a tripping hazard, a fire hazard, nothing can be found, it's the kind of social situation that makes you so uncomfortable that you avert your eyes and pretend like the participants simply aren't there.

These spaces pop up in my life on occasion. . .not daily, but often enough that I know them; we are not strangers. I know how they look, I know how they make me feel, I know how I avoid and avoid and deny and deny.

Then the day comes and I can deal with it. It's not a magical recipe for when I hit that breaking point, there's no amount of caffeine or sleep or mess that determines it, but when the moment hits, the train wreck can no longer exist and it must be dealt with immediately! And how is it dealt with you ask? Well, it starts the same every time--EVERYTHING GETS EXPOSED! I mean it, it's the joke around our house. . .I put EVERYTHING on my bed or the table or some elevated surface that is certainly not big enough to hold the everything that I need to sort. It piles and stacks and looks like it will topple. It makes that space completely unusable for it's intended purpose. . . "looks like we can't sleep on our bed, you're cleaning the closet" sort of unusable.

I have no idea why I do this, why this is my process, why I must dump out everything and start with a clean slate. But the compulsion is very real. Last week EVERYTHING came out of my walk-in closet. . . items that were folded, items that were in the "right" place, boxes that were being stored, ALL OF IT!

I needed to see the situation empty. . . blank slate and start again. Even when the system was great the first time. . . when I get too far removed from the usability of the system, when the mess is to big or the piles too messy, I need to start fresh.

The interesting thing is that this is not just with physical messes in my life like the closet or the pantry or the whole basement. It's also with conceptual things like our budget or our filing system; it's with my email which I have been known to delete ALL of, it's with the apps on my phone, it's with my schedule.


I love to dump it all out! I love to say Fuck it and start fresh with piles and pieces and uncertainty of where things fit together.

All the stress and avoidance and denial and embracement just goes away for me when I own it all. And yes, I sometimes have had to scoot my piles to the side of my bed so we can sleep, because I needed more time than I had allotted. And yes, I have had to tell people that in fact I not only hadn't read their email, but had deleted ALL my email and was happy they had followed up. Yes, I have lost data on my apps and yes sometimes I have been called crazy.

But for me to know what is really important to me and what serves me best and where to pour my energy, for me I need to SEE my blank slate and rebuild.

I'm ready to face my messy, clean my world up, and rebuild!

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