- Vintage books.
- Blue mason jars.
- Little birds/bird nests.
- Brass candlesticks.
These are some of my favorite little treasures to display around the house. But during the holidays, I pack them away to set out my holiday decorations. Which in case you were curious, are also very heavy in bird/brass motif.
What can I say? I like what I like.
At any rate, last week I spent one day taking down all my Christmas decorations. And before I can pack away my assorted garlands and angels and battery-powered twinkle lights, I have to unload all my previously packed away “regular” decorations.
I’ll admit..this knick-knack switch-out is a bit of process, but 1) I have pared down my decoration significantly in the past couple of years reducing the time it takes and 2) I only have to do it once a year. And because I love decorating for Christmas, it’s worth it to me.
Even though there are times during this process where it looks like a bomb went off in my house and both my kitchen table and dining room table are heaping with stuff, I really don’t mind it too much. I’ve done it enough times now to know that it’s going look worse before it can get better. Plus with everything taken down, I can dust and polish all of the surfaces of my tables which, as who hates dusting, is surprisingly very satisfying.
The other thing I really love about switching out my knick-knacks like this? Getting to see all my aforementioned little treasures again after their month-long hibernation. It’s like visiting old friends you haven’t seen in a while. And it makes me really happy.
Anyway, once I get all my Christmas decorations packed up, I then get on with setting out my favorite trinkets and tchotchkes. Little momentos and objets d’art that reflect and remind me of who and what I love.
Sometimes, like with this shelf in my kitchen, I like rearranging things a bit.
Most of the time though, I simply put things back where they were and enjoy the comfort of these familiar things that feel like home to me.
If you’re shaking your head and thinking this sounds like a complete nightmare of a project, you are in good company. This process elicits lots of sideways glances/eye rolls from my beloved as well. But that’s OK because the real payoff in this whole deal is when I get to stand back and take it all in. I get to enjoy the feeling of having a clean house.
I was thinking about this as I was vacuuming my floor that day. Which in case you’re new around here is where I do some of my best thinking. Second only to perhaps blow-drying my hair or power-washing the patio. It just happened to be New Year’s day and every other thing I saw on TV or read on social media was about fresh starts and new beginnings. The happiness and relief of finally leaving behind 2020.
And I get it – 2020 was a dumpster-fire. A complete shitshow. And no one was happier to say goodbye to it than me. Here’s the thing though, in my experience, nothing magical happens by simply turning over the calendar from December 31st to January 1st. And instead, it’s much more likely that at least some of the baggage I walked out of 2020 with will be coming in through the front door of 2021 with me.
As I was systematically passing over the wood floors in my house, cleaning up all the remnant of the holidays like little bits of glitter and ribbon and wrapping paper, it dawned on me that the satisfaction I was feeling was not because I had a new house or had bought new things. Instead it was that I had the power to enjoy this fresh start to the new year by simply cleaning the house I already had.
When it comes fresh starts and clean slates in life, there is probably an argument to be made for times that require just burning it all the way down to the ground and starting over. But with a drastic approach like this, there is also the concern of possibly throwing out the baby with the bathwater, so to speak. So instead, what I am proposing is to keep what is good in our lives and then do the work of ‘cleaning house’.
Now I know. Cleaning house is not exactly what I call fun. And even though you can hire a service a to clean your literal house, the work of ‘cleaning house’ in our souls is a solo job. And depending on the mess, it can take some time. I know this from personal experience.
What I also know is that cleaning house in your life is not a once and done kind of thing. It’s a continual process. One that also requires a decent amount of discipline which for me, means not sweeping messy things (i.e. feelings) under the rug and pretending they don’t exist. But it’s OK because I have learned that this is the work of showing up to my life in a wholehearted way. And I am here for it.
So very long story short, I am sharing this because, if like me, you are ready to make some changes in the coming year, my encouragement (to borrow words from Rachel Hollis) is simply this:
Girl, Clean Your House.
Because you don’t have to have a brand new life to enjoy a fresh start.
Happy New Year my friends. I am wishing you peace and health and hope in the coming year.