The Thanksgiving holiday meant I had a week with no obligations off the property. This hasn’t happened for a while, so I decided to make it a low RPMs week. I’ve done my daily writing sessions (nothing like a new duke to get my fingers flying), and made the grocery run, but other than that I am rolling around in my own private Idaho. Wheee!
For no discernible reason, I decided that I would add to my slack days a goal of getting one thing per day cleaned or tidied up that isn’t on the mandatory routine list. I got the top of the fridge cleared off yesterday (the cats love how warm it is up there). Another day, I organized some kitchen cabinets. My ambitions are minimal: Straighten out one shelf so the little spice bottles don’t come tumbling down whenever I open cabinet door. (That minimal.)
Get after all the folded up and stashed grocery bags. They are a fire hazard, Grace Ann, and you can recycle both paper and plastic.
Compost heap the outdated food gathering dust on the pantry shelves. The raccoons, skunks, groundhogs, and possums don’t know from expiration dates, and the nights are getting chilly.
My really big accomplishment was to put a hook on the outside of the laundry room door, so the cats can’t go in there. (Took me five minutes once I found the right size nail for the hole to guide the screws.) The door closes from the inside (another hook), but I never got around to the outside work-around when the ancient door-knob mechanism died years ago.
The results of my one-thing campaign are nearly invisible to anybody who doesn’t live here, but I intend to persist. It is lovely to not have to wipe paw prints off the washer and dryer every day. It is delightful to open a cupboard without fear of being spice-bombed. The kitchen feels easier to navigate without a hoard of grocery bags crammed between the fridge and the counter.
I might run out of steam tomorrow, but so far… I am liking this trend, for two reasons. First, I’m happier in my house. I don’t see the dirt the way some people do, but I still live here, and my environment has an impact on my outlook. The endless paw prints, the flying cloves… they take a micro-toll on my energy and joy, and why pay extra tolls?
The second benefit came as something of a surprise. This is the time of year when we’re bombarded with requests for donations, when we’re exerting ourselves to be sociable to people we might honestly rather avoid. We’re subtly nudged to be nicer, more generous, more grateful. Heaven knows the world is full of deserving causes, but as we head toward the end of the year, it can feel like one big Go Emotionally and Monetarily Fund Everything.
To donate fifteen minutes a day to the longer term dignity and peace of my dwelling, to be able to say, “That’s a little better!” about the place where I live, feels good. I am deserving of a pleasant home–everybody is–and taking baby steps to bring that boon closer reminds me that charity begins at home.
What will you give yourself in the coming weeks–we’ve all been very good this year, right? What would you like from others?