While in the past I’ve been able to coexist with my to-do lists and piles of Potential Projects/Stuff-I-Never-Managed-To-Put-Away, the minute someone drops by unexpectedly I am often engulfed with shame. “Hi, sorry about the mess” has become a default greeting.
Yet I also use that premise to my advantage: by inviting company over I am forced to clean and de-clutter. Sweeping and churning inevitably ends with one last little (or not-so) pile. I then whisk it into a shopping bag or shoebox or large carton, pop it into a closet, and pat myself on the back while grading myself A for Effort.
Next comes the fun part. Puttering. I truly adore my things. I am not a big ticket shopper, in fact I rarely shop in stores at all. I am, after all, an under-earner artist. And I hate big box stores. But I do love yard sales, tag sales, garage sales, estate sales, and dumpster diving. I love finding that special item that calls to me. Once I adopt, it can mingle with the classier Russell Wright dinnerware. There are no wallflowers on the dance floor of my dining room table top.
I spent much of the weekend scrubbing down my kitchen. It’s not just company coming; I have a renter for the month of July while I take a retreat from my immediate life (though I’m taking my cats). I am trying to see my house through his eyes (he, who only needs WiFi, a bed, and one room with AC). It is funky and old, with a lush backyard and a cacophony of birds that make up much of my social life every morning and evening. I assured him the clutter and cat hair would be gone.
And it will. I’ve discovered an energy that was borne of shame, but now coasts along in a new gear: Pride.
I love my house. The hydrangea, the hummingbirds, and the tiny kitchen with the vintage Woolworth sign are all very “me.” I’d like for him to feel he’s spent the month somewhere out of the ordinary, maybe as if he’s been on a bit of a retreat as well.
Of course, there will be a storage box or two, out of sight, but they won’t be holding the last pile of clutter I just gave up on (because I am not giving up!)
Just my journals and girl stuff. It’ll keep.