Have you ever heard the phrase “sometimes you have to make a mess to clean up?” I learned this lesson at an early age.
When I was little I almost always had to share a room. It was inevitable with 4 kids living in an old farmhouse. And as with many older homes, the rooms were simple & the closets were small, creepy, or oddly-sized. The words function and ease didn’t coincide with the storage spaces in this home.
My sisters and I were pretty good packrats & I remember that the clutter would pile up & pile up until it came to a breaking point and then cleaning day would be enforced. By this time it was hard to even know where to start. As a child, it was overwhelming to start the task of clearing the piles & piles that overflowed in every space!
But at some point, maybe as we all sat whining about how or where to start, someone suggested we make a mess. That meant throwing everything that needed to get tidied into a BIG pile in the middle of the room and then setting a timer to see how quickly we could get all of the pieces back in their right places. It became a game! Cleaning up became fun!
My sisters and I would scurry around, sorting & organizing, and in no time we would have a tidy room. We could see the floor and the piles were gone. We would finish with a dust or sweep, take out the trash and the things that didn’t belong, and then enjoy a fresh, clean bedroom. I loved the feeling of a tidy room-it felt like a whole new space, full of possibilities.
Sometimes you have to make a mess to clean up.
It can feel overwhelming when you look at all of the papers covering your desk or try to walk into the playroom in your home. But, what if you look at the mess in another way and understand that the mess is there so that you can find a way to clean up! It all piled up to get noticed & to help you get to a place where you can lighten your load. You are ready for the challenge!
You are in the perfect spot to create some clarity around how you want the space to function & feel when you are finished. Look beyond the mess & see the possibilities. Let the mess be a part of the plan & know that you are ready and able to get to the other side – toting less stuff.
So it’s time to get messy! Spread out. Make more piles. Turn on some music. Ask a friend to help. Set a timer. Plan a treat to reward yourself when you finish. Do whatever you need to do to take the hardship & heaviness out of the task and replace it with energy & fun!
Look at the mess in a new way and know that you can tackle it!
It might take some time. It might feel like things get messier before they get clearer. You might even have to shut the door & restart the next day or the next week, but you can do it- one big (or little) pile at a time!
Ask yourself if you work best alone or with a partner? Do you need some accountability/deadlines to get projects done? Do you work better in the morning or evening?
Make every effort to set yourself up for success before you start a project.
If you need a partner, someone to breathe with you when the mess seems to be growing instead of shrinking, someone to keep you on course & accountable, then be in touch.
I’m pretty sure my mom suggested this clean-up game-she always has a trick up her sleeve to get kids to do things without making it into a power struggle. It is one of her many gifts and she passed it down to create her own little tribe of problem-solvers & compassionate thinkers-thanks mom!