Cleansing a home from accumulated things and even clutter can provide space that is more comfortable and livable even though there is less. To me it means moving certain objects, furniture, papers, photos, clothes, toys, and books out of the house to new homes or the landfill as a last resort. The process can be difficult. First, to motivate to get the cleanse started is a challenge. Second, to physically lift and move everything can be exhausting. Then, to emotionally process through all the sentimental objects and let them go takes a lot of preparation. Well-being is at the heart of this process because in the end there is a greater sense of peace and keen living as a result of all the change. It’s just getting there that is the hard part.
First, how do you motivate to clean and reorganize a home? I have made endless plans to do numerous house projects in the past. I have read books and watched online inspirational organizers. What I have found over the years though is that none of these projects take place if I don’t have a deadline to work under. Recognizing this, I met with a friend recently to discuss my ideas. After our conversation I had new goals for my home cleanse, and I had a greater sense of urgency to make my plans happen. This combination of factors motivated me to get the home cleanse rolling. An additional feature of motivation for these types of home projects that I have gleaned over the years is that I need to have an accountability partner. For example, during our home renovation project, I felt accountability to our construction team for our research and decisions. As long as there is someone checking on progress, then the multiple steps of the home cleanse project can be pushed forward on a daily basis. I look at this role now as a pacesetter in a race. Some days I feel like I am hitting the mile-markers on time, and other days I am falling behind. I just keep moving forward toward the goal, but knowing I am behind can give me motivation when I am not feeling like pressing forward at all! Movement is the key. Keeping any of the projects moving does lead to momentum. Clearing one shelf leads to another for as long as that movement can be sustained. Ultimately, there’s a wall. Running out of time is a constant due to a home cleanse happening while the rest of life continues uninterrupted. And sometimes there’s a wall of exhaustion. Just like with running, the wall can hit out of nowhere, and that’s when I don’t push through. Maybe with running a race there would be a way that I would find the strength to continue to the finish line, but with a home cleanse it is not worth it. It’s at that point, I rest. Literally, I lay down horizontally with a timer set for 20 minutes at minimum to feel recharged. If there’s any energy then to finish that day, I do, but otherwise, I move on to tomorrow.
Second, doing a home cleanse can be demanding physically. The various projects can cause fatigue for sure, but also injuries! I have to remind myself to take care when I lift heavier objects or force myself to stop and ask for help. I also need to take care when pulling boxes out of awkward crawlspaces, and to avoid cutting a hand or finger, which I did recently. This is also a time I am finding that I need proper nourishment. I am eating whole foods and drinking lots of water, which is great because the first part of this homegrown cleanse is still happening. Good nutrition is actually helping sustain my efforts. I can’t say I am drinking 100 ounces of water each day, but the intermittent fasting hours have been consistent for the most part, some days longer than expected, and I am leaning toward healthier food choices.
Finally, throughout the home cleanse there are times of emotional upheaval as parts of the past are held in my hands once again, addressed, and possibly given away. I don’t know what Marie Kondo would say about giving away your children’s baby clothes, but I have found it to be overwhelming. I recently brought many bags of baby clothes to a friend who collects for at-risk mothers and children in Chicago. The knowledge that these tender, little clothes covered in never-again baby memories would end up helping many in need soothed my restless and hurting heart. There are of course other objects and sentimental mementos that cause a roller coaster of emotions during a home cleanse. Through this process, I have tried to give intention to my work through devotionals. This is a challenge for sure, but I try to stay consistent by tying this to my morning cup of coffee in a form of habit stacking. The verses help to give me motivation and the right meaning to the overall goal. They also give me a chance to take a moment and reflect on what God wants me to do. Paul’s writings to the Philippians keep coming up for me, especially in chapter 4:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Overall, doing this home cleanse during springtime has been helpful. Spring cleaning is a hot topic in the news and that boosts my motivation with creative ideas and a sense of comradery – at least thinking I am not alone in the effort. Consulting with a friend and setting a pace is a great motivator. Keeping energy levels high for the physically demanding process is helpful. Being prepared for the emotions that surface through the clutter with a verse and a plan for charitable giving keeps the process positive. Moving the past out of the house can create beautiful, new surroundings and a wonderful space to enjoy the present.
© 2021 Megan Davia Mikhail