writing on the wall

Remember when I made this chalkboard?  The funny thing about it is that it took me until my day off to finally write something on it.  Well before that happened, the chalkboard I never officially showed you actually had writing on it.  You may have noticed it in the background of my post about my lovely day off.  In case you missed it, here it is again:

This one’s hanging right by the refrigerator.  At first I thought I’d use it to write each week’s menus.  I did that for a couple weeks then decided I’d rather see an inspiring quotation than a list of foods.  It’s the kitchen, for crying out loud.  Clearly if I’m in there I don’t need to be reminded about food.  To me it seemed more fitting to remind myself of the person I want to be.  So I flipped through this commonplace book I’ve had since a mentor gave it to me in high school:

It holds many of my favorite quotations, proverbs, and poems.  The page above shows the quotation I copied onto the chalkboard: “Be early what, if you are not, you will, when it is too late, wish you had been.”  -Lord Chesterfield, “Letters to His Son”  That exhortation perfectly echoes the moral of the book I just finished reading: Gail Blanke’s Throw Out Fifty Things.

The title appealed to me because, as I’ve mentioned several times lately, I’m on a de-cluttering kick.  But Blanke goes well beyond telling her reader to get all the closets under control.  The observation I found most interesting was that each thing we hold onto reveals an assumption.  She doesn’t say it that way.  What she says is that, for example, holding onto medicine from a past illness reveals that we fear we will have that illness again.

Hm.  (Holding onto outdated clothing reveals that I fear it will come back into fashion?  Anyone seen the ’80s explosion?  Heaven have mercy; there’s neon everywhere!)  Okay, I’m finished joking around.  I thought the insight about clinging to things we don’t need was compelling.  And it gets deeper.  As she urges readers through their homes, room by room, Blanke admits she’s going to push harder.  First throw out that object you never use; next get ready to throw out that old perception of yourself.  The philosophy gets a tad too New Agey for me, but there’s definitely good advice mixed in there.

So.  I now have motivation on my wall.  I’m not sure if I posted a photo of the green-accented kitchen yet, but here it is, with the chalkboard peeking out from the corner.  I didn’t clean up my mess for you; I hope you’re not offended.  Have you seen those signs that say, “The house was clean yesterday; sorry you missed it”?

My friend Nicole summed it up a bit differently in her Friday Files {edition eighteen} post not that long ago.  Blog etiquette dictates that I not steal her thunder, and besides, common sense dictates that you go over there and read it in her own words anyway.  (It’s number five.)  I cracked up.  Mostly because I thought I was the only person who felt that way about my utter lack of enthusiasm for daily sweeping, rinsing, scrubbing, wiping down, and mopping up.  Bo-oring.

I could make excuses about bolstering my immune system (and believe me, sometimes I do make them) but the truth is I’m just lazy.  There.  I said it.  And now you know.  But I do promise you that when children chew on toys in our house, we wash them before letting the next kid (maybe yours) chew on them.  And when I roll you out a homemade pizza crust, I’ve definitely scrubbed the counter first.  And if I know in advance you’re coming, I’ll clean the whole bathroom.  I hope those things make you feel better.  They’re little steps toward the whole “be early what” thing.

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1 Comment

  1. Diana Fahrenholtz

     /  February 28, 2012

    I like how you have created a faux-window by placing pictures of green trees above your sink. Especially now in the cold – nice!
    I have to admit that I like cleaning, mainly because it makes me feel better and I feel I have DONE something. Relating spiritually, I feel better when I have DONE a good deed rather than just BEING. Better to be a Mary than a Martha, me thinks, but harder for me.

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