January was a month of order—finding it, losing it, and piecing it out back together again.
In many concrete ways, I can see how focusing on order has changed the exterior world around me. My closets are neater, my drawers straighter. I have less junk in trunks, in chests, and on shelves. I completed various organization projects:
• Cleared kitchen junk drawer
• Rediscovered the kitchen counter
• Washed dishes on a nightly basis
• Organized all the closets
• Cleaned out hope chest
• Organized cleaning supplies under sink
• Completed baby books
• Revamped my blogging approach
• Started meal planning
• Cleaned out toy chest
• Packed away clothes babies had outgrown
• Organized crafting supplies
• Solved the “lost socks” mystery
• Organized spice rack
• Pitched out-of-date food from pantry
• Re-organized work files
• Cleaned out cars
With each project, I learned that, for me, the outward clutter or disorganization has a direct effect on my mental clarity. I work best, play best, sleep best in a well-organized space. I also learned that although being organized requires an upfront investment of time, it ultimately creates more time for me on the backend. Putting Emily’s hairbrush back in the basket every morning might be an extra step, but I get it back the next morning when I know right where it is (as opposed to running around, flipping up couch cushions and digging through the toy chest to find it).
What is less obvious to the outside observer are the internal changes I’ve experienced. The downside to being an organizer like me is that, unfortunately, I can’t plan for every contingency, as much as I try. About ten years ago, when I was complaining about a rather big change in my life plan, someone said to me, “Well, Melissa. Who told you that life was supposed to operate according to your plans?”
I’d like to say I listened and learned from that person, but, quite stubbornly, I continued trying to steer the ship all on my own. If I planned enough, worried enough, cared enough…
This month, when I once again learned that “life doesn’t operate according to my plans,” I
I am not foolish enough to think that 36 years of worry will be vanquished by one event. All I know is, at this moment, I understand my worry is just another piece of clutter that gets in my way. I am pinning that realization onto the bulletin board of my brain for quick and easy reference.
Of course, in the epic battle of order versus clutter, I must be ever vigilant. It's a daily journey. I've learned being organized isn’t as much about shortcuts as it is doing what needs to be done as soon as I can. Not waiting. Do the dishes. Fold the clothes and put them away. Don’t buy that sweater just because it’s on sale because it will only clutter the closet later. Don’t worry myself about what might happen because it likely won’t affect the outcome. (Again, I'm pinning this all to the mental bulletin board for future reference since these are items I have been known to forget in the past).
This month’s core value is solitude.
Bet you were expecting some a little more relationship-oriented, like family or passion, given that this is the month of love.
For me, solitude is about nurturing the relationship with myself, loving myself enough to prioritize time for me.
As an introvert, solitude is as necessary for me as breathing.
Lately, it’s no wonder that I feel like I am suffocating.
I am not sure where this month will take me, but I’m already thinking of some ways I might enjoy some solitude:
• Changing my wake-up time to have more “me” time
• Re-joining yoga
• Beginning a bible study
• Reading Quiet by Susan Cain
• Cutting back on my social media time
• Starting my 5K training
• Devoting more time for prayer, meditation, and purposeful breathing
Throughout the month, I will post updates on my progress. If you have some secrets for enjoying solitude, I'd love to hear from you.
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