Ever since we moved at the end of November, there are certain things that I just unpacked as I needed them. Other stuff remained in their boxes, some things never even coming out of the garage, until and unless I needed them.
Now you would think that clothes and shoes would have been unpacked immediately. Well...yes and no. I only unpacked what I absolutely needed for work, church, and some occasional recreation, the rest remained in the bags and boxes it traveled in unless I needed something specific. Considering the fact that there are some items I don't wash until I actually need to wear them, my personal laundry had reached monsoon stage prior to us leaving the other place, and as I had no time to properly sort anything out before I left, when I got to the new place there was a festival of dumping out bags and boxes while looking for this shoe, that pair of pants, or that specific dress.
When clothing, sheets, blankets, and towels all started intermingling on my bedroom floor, then started this strange creep toward my bedroom door, threatening to make it's way to the hallway, I began to wonder if perhaps it might be time to cut a swath through the mess.
This past Sunday, my daughter was out on a trip with the church youth, I figured that since I had to do laundry anyway, that this was as good a time as any to try and wade through the knee high pile of fabric on my bedroom floor. I figured on three divisions: Wash Now, which comprised the clothes I need daily for work, recreation, church or to work out in; Wash Later, which covered clothes I was highly unlikely to wear until summer, as well as clothes that I only wear on an as-needed basis; and the large U-Haul box that I had brought over from the old place that I simply titled Nope. Nope were clothes that for various and sundry reasons, I was likely to never wear again, but am not quite ready to let go of yet. This includes items that were given to me by other people, but are not things I would actually wear on anything like a regular basis, things that needed extensive dry cleaning or repair to even be worn once, quite a few high maintenance dresses and blouses, and everything in my closet that was a size 16 or 18. Speaking honestly, I know that although I am working out and eating better, even if/when I CAN get back into those sizes again I am not going to want to wear 15 year old clothes that are completely out of style, so, NOPE. I even ended up with a fourth pile of odds and ends that I just ended up throwing away.
I was pleased and surprised at the amount of space I created just by going through all of my clothes and organizing them. The NOPE box was relegated to the back of my closet to marinate while I consider what I want to do with it, the Wash Later bag is next to it with a tentative wash by date of July 1st, and the remaining clothes (four huge loads of it) were washed, dried, folded and put away, or hung up. I also finally fished all of my shoes from their hiding places and organized them on an inexpensive shoe rack, allowing me for the first time in ages to actually see everything I have in one place (I also found out that I left two REALLY cute pairs of shoes at the old place by accident. THAT was a drag.). As I swept my newly emptied bedroom floor, I noticed that I still have at least one corner in my room that isn't completely unpacked, but because I love looking at the organized area of my room so much, I know I will find a way to get everything cleaned up and put together in a way that is both attractive, and practical.
I remember reading somewhere, years ago, that the act of cleaning can definitely be a spiritual exercise. I also remember agreeing with that assessment due to the fact that when I was feeling particularly down or troubled, I would break out a bucket, scrub brush, and some old rags, and hand mop my kitchen and bathroom floors. The ritual of dipping the scrub brush, scrubbing the floors, then wiping with the rag was soothing; I would find a sort of Zen and peace in the ritual. My focus was completely on the pace of the exercise, and everything else drifted away, if only for the time it took to complete the task. By the time I was finished my floors and my mind were both a lot cleaner.
Although the hand scrubbing is no longer an option due to back and knee issues (Thank Dog for the Swiffer Wet Jet!), I still find that cleaning eases a troubled mind. I have to shift my thinking from whatever ongoing problems are causing me to run mental circles, and focus my attention on cleaning products and the task at hand. I have a clear mission and a goal; this is something I can accomplish right now. For 30 minutes to a few hours, there is something I can do to take control of some small aspect of my life, granting myself the satisfaction of starting AND finishing at least this ONE THING today.
Sometimes it's that small sense of accomplishment that's just enough to push you into a different enough mind set to solve whatever might have been bothering you. Or you could just be marveling in how much more space there is now that the are is clean.
Or, like me, you could just be happy because the room looks a whole lot better. Which for a routinely messy person is satisfying in itself.