Photo by Sadie Banks Photography
Okay, so it’s not officially Spring yet, but I could not think of a more fitting title, so here we are. It might sound strange but cleaning has been on my mind, and for reasons I will explain has been something I’ve become very grateful for over the last few months.
The day after Christmas, my husband and I took down all the decor to prepare to paint our home. Can I just take a second to say that this in itself was quite an achievement, because I always drag my feet and end up taking down the decorations around say, Easter. So, high-fives all around to us. Let’s move on.
We have loved our home since the moment we moved in, but pretty much every wall is a shade of tan, and that’s just not our style. So, we decided to paint every wall gray. Gray in my opinion is the new tan.
Pretty much since that day, our house has been a disaster. The painting of the entire home wound up being SO much more complicated than we anticipated. Who knew that gray was such a hard color to find the right one? I’ll tell you right now, it may be the hardest color. We repainted the kitchen FOUR times! Four people! So, as we prepped and taped each room a mess of moved furniture and framed artwork and photos lay in its wake.
Then, on top of the painting, we decided it was a great time to remodel both the master bathroom and the kids bathroom in the upstairs hallway. Why not throw some more chaos into everything, right? It did need to be done, and at the time I said “Let’s just get it all finished.”, but was soon fining myself feeling very overwhelmed by how much was going on. I had a toilet sitting in my hallway for a week! The bathrooms both required new tile floors, and the kids bathroom also needed the shower to be re-tiled. We hired out for the tile thankfully, because heaven knows we would have had an adventure with that.
Our master bathroom had carpet in it, (I know, right?), and this is the second home I have lived in to have it! Never a choice I would make, but to each their own. The carpet also extended into my walk-in closet so I had to pull out the entire contents of my closet into our bedroom for this to be tiled and painted. Jess also pulled everything from his closet for the same reasons.
Our room was a hysterical MESS. I would smile every night watching Jess try to navigate his way through the mountains of stuff to get to his side of the bed, and would be grateful I am now medicated so my anxiety was not through the roof by all this disruption of my space.
Pretty much where I am going with all this, is that I have gained a great deal of gratitude these few weeks for a clean home.
I am very happy to report that not only is the painting done, the bathrooms are done too! Pictures to come soon. But because it was done, I was now faced with the dilemma of redecorating.
I’m not going to lie, it took me a good month to figure out how to re- hang some of the pictures and artwork we have. After much debate with myself, I came to the conclusion that we just had SO much going on before. Because of that, I have decided to go a more minimalist style in redecorating our home. I have decided that “less is more” and to be more thoughtful with what I put up. I got rid of a lot of artwork that we have accumulated over the years, keeping the meaningful ones of course. We had our entire stairway wall as a gallery which I still have not gotten brave enough to put back up, but everything else I have tackled and am happy with the results.
As the walk-in closet upstairs got tiled and painted, and was almost ready for me to put my things back, I started combing through everything I owned. This gave me the chance to decide what I actually needed, and to get rid of things I did not need. It was something that I had needed to do for at least two years, so I was grateful I was finally forced to do it.
Man, did I get rid of a lot of stuff! There were things I didn’t even realize I was still holding on to! At first I was surprised by myself at wanting to keep holding on to some things, but I had to take a moment and have a talk with myself and say “It’s just STUFF.” So after that, it was much easier for me to say goodbye. I was also impressed by my husband, because he has some things in his closet that he has held onto since high school and he actually got rid of some of it! We both took some major steps for ourselves with letting go. I took at least three car loads of stuff to GoodWill of my stuff, and Jess took at least one of his.
It was so freeing to be rid of a good chunk of what was hiding in my closet, and it looks much better and more organized now too which is a plus.
Know Your Worth, Then Add Tax
I started thinking of this “cleansing” we have been having in our home these past few weeks on a larger scale. Not involving the stuff we have, but with life and emotions. So often, we hold on to things and even though they are toxic, we cannot let go. My therapist has helped me so much to realize things that I have held onto (many without even realizing that I was), and giving me the tools I needed to let them go. I cannot describe just how much weight was lifted by those acts of letting go. It’s very easy to become so weighed down by these things but over time we become numb or just used to it, so it almost becomes normal.
So, try to cleanse yourself of the things we hold onto internally. Everyone is different in what methods work so there really is no right or wrong answer for this. Workout, take a nap, read, write it down, write it down and then burn it, break something ,(within reason of course!), or talk to someone about it. In fact always talk to someone about it; have a “person” that you can always count on or at least a therapist. Do what works for you, but do not hold onto those toxic things!
These things we hold onto don’t have to be just emotional and non-tangible, they can also be people. People, I have found from experience, are harder to let go of than things. Much harder.
Toxic people can be just as damaging if not more than emotions. Relationships that are not healthy or not making you feel good should not be continued. Emotional vampires who suck you dry and make you exhausted after being with them are not people you want to keep in your life.
“Surround yourself with people who see your value and remind you of it.” -Unknown
Finding friends who love me for me has been a bit of a bumpy road. I have a few very close friends whom I know are true, and I am so grateful and blessed to have them. I would much rather have one true friend than a hundred fake ones. It’s not about quantity but quality in this scenario. Those who turn out to be different people than I thought they were, or those who I find to not value my friendship as much as I did theirs have been sadly left behind. It’s always so heartbreaking to come to the realization that you’re just not valuable to someone whom you love, or when people turn out to not be who they say. But, we need to know our value as a person and a friend, and when someone doesn’t believe you have any, it’s time to let them go. The hardest part about it is actually letting them go. This is especially hard with those emotional vampires I mentioned. It is, however, something that we need to learn to do in order to be our whole healthy and happy self. Sometimes, it’s us that are let go, and we need to accept it, which is equally just as hard.
I firmly believe that every person who comes in and out of our lives is for a purpose. So, for the friends and family members I have had and lost I try to look back on the positive things they taught me, and like to reminisce on the good times we did share. Everyone teaches us something, whether good or bad, but it’s all for our benefit.
It Has to Be Broken to Be Fixed
At the risk of sounding crazy, I actually really enjoyed the chaos of the last few months. No, I did not like the actual mess and craziness of the workers in our house and total disruption of my stuff and personal space. What I did like, and love in fact, was the cleansing that came from completely tearing our house apart and putting it all back together. It has left me with a renewed sense of the love and stability that is in this home we have made. It has made me think about what kind of home I want this to be, and what I want it to represent. It has also given me the opportunity to think about my life and who I have chosen to leave behind, and what kinds of people I choose to be in it. People who don’t see my value or appreciate me frankly don’t deserve me! And that’s what you should say too about yourself, because you have worth- so much more than this world will tell you!
Sometimes, our life has to come crashing down in order to be re-built stronger and the way it should have been built the first time.
Some food for thought.
The Raw Brunette