They say it takes a village to raise a child.
I say it takes a village to get me motivated to clean all the unnecessary crap out of my house.
About a month ago, my lovely friend Jane and I were discussing our frustration over the lack of organization and the overflow of junk in our houses and garages. (And any space where any form of junk could comfortably fit). She is ahead of me in the organization game. When pregnant with her second child, she frantically got ready by making space, throwing stuff out, and organizing what was left. Her needs are more maintenance-driven now. My needs are vast and they make me anxious as hell, so I tend to ignore them.
Jane came up with a brilliant idea. “Tuesday morning I’m coming to your house and we’re tackling your garage. Then next Wednesday you’re coming to my house and we’ll deal with my garage.” I told her I’d think about it. My garage has been reduced to “That scary place where we have a second fridge”. I walk in there only to grab a spare milk or the ravioli that needs to be cooked. I try not to look around because, when I do, my heart beats 1,000 times a minute and I almost collapse from the thought of what needs to be done.
After a couple days I texted her that I was ready to do it, but I wasn’t sure exactly what I was ready for. “It might just be chatting and bouncing ideas”, I wrote. She said she was up for anything.
That Tuesday she showed up, we had some coffee, and we talked about our frustrations. Then she asked if she could see the garage and my heart sank. So did my intestines. I was nervous. What she saw didn’t scare her a bit. We got bags for Goodwill, bags for trash, boxes for things we were keeping and got to work. She did most of the work. I did most of the dry heaving and carrying things out, while shaking my head “yes” or “no” to her questions of does this stay? Two and a half hours later, we were at Goodwill with a full SUV, all of my trash cans and recycling bins were full, and my garage was transformed from “scary” to “mildly uncomfortable”.
I felt like a giant weight had been lifted off of me, and like a giant mess had been lifted out of my garage. The following Wednesday, as planned, we tackled Jane’s garage. Again, after less than three hours, we transformed her space into, well, space!
Last Tuesday she came to me again. We went through G-Man’s toys and books and got his room in pristine working order. I had been avoiding going through that stuff for fear of the pain. There wasn’t as much of a mess, just a lot of stuff G no longer needed that I would have to mourn. The first hour was hard. Very. But Jane and my mom-in-law helped me through it. By the end, I think I was impressing Jane with my ability to put things in the Goodwill pile.
Wednesday I’ll go to Jane again, and then we’ll break for the holidays. I’m praying we’ll pick right up in the new year, because I’m loving this feeling. I want my life to be simpler, with less STUFF, and this feels like I’m heading in that direction.
I think the best part is not only that I’m doing something that I’ve been wanting to do, that I’m turning my house into the house I want it to be, and that I’m simplifying things for my family. The best part is that I’m doing it with a friend, a relatively new friend, who is adding to my life in ways I didn’t know she would. And the fact that I get to help her back feels immeasurably good.
I’m telling you, if you have a friend you can do this with… DO IT! It’s good for your soul, your house, your family, and whatever charity you choose as the benefactor of your unnecessary spending and storing. Assuming you’re anything like me. And, you are.