How To Use 10 Minutes A Day To Improve Your House… And Your Soul
We have a modest home: three bedrooms, 1 and a half bathrooms, dining room, living room, kitchen, and a small backyard. It’s not huge, but it is comfy and I like to call it home.
Okay, fine, we have one more room that I forgot (read purposefully left out) to mention…the laundry room. I avoid the laundry room pretty much at all costs, not because I don’t know how to do laundry (although I was able get away with that excuse for the first few years of marriage), but because it is the everything room and the nothing room.
Anytime we need a place for an item that does not have a place, it goes in the laundry room. If we are trying to clean up quickly before having guests, things are moved to the pantry. Our deep freezer, washer and dryer, shelves filled with extra food in case there is a national emergency and we need to survive on pickles and peanut butter, an exercise bike specially designed to hang clothes from and pile empty boxes on top of, sports equipment, two strollers, bike trailer, snow clothes and boots, vacuum, boxes of clothes that are too big and/or too small, and our inflatable kayak are all stored in the laundry room. Just thinking about it is completely overwhelming.
I have thought about cleaning and organizing the room, but it sends shivers down my spine wondering how on Earth I am supposed to find a better place for items we don’t necessarily need or use. I’m scared that I’ll get rid of something that we might need in 9 months, and then I’ll be kicking myself for getting rid of it. When I go to the freezer to get something, I block out anything in my peripheral vision and make a mad dash so that I can be in and out without my brain registering that I was just in the abyss. I would become agitated anytime someone brought over a gift, because I would worry that it might end up in the laundry room, never to be found or used again.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about all the ways that the laundry room could be better used. It could be a playroom for the kids, a fourth bedroom (small, yes, but a bedroom nonetheless), an office, an exercise room, an arts and crafts room, the potential is limitless. And yet, I have not been able to bring myself to step foot in the room, let alone begin to clean it; that is… until recently.
I have recently started exercising again and really wanted to use our juicer. The only problem is that it was tucked away somewhere in the laundry room. After days of talking about using the juicer, my wife said to me, “Look, either take 10 minutes to find it in the pantry, or let it go.” Something about that simple, yet poignant advice, really made me think.
Two days later, I decided that I would set the timer on my phone for 10 minutes and attempt to do the impossible; I was going to find the juicer in the laundry room. I surprised myself when, only 8 and a half minutes in, I had, not only found the juicer, but a French press which a friend of mine gave me for my birthday, 4 months ago.
“See,” my wife said…”10 minutes.” I started to think. What if I took 10 minutes every day, just 10 minutes, and started cleaning the laundry room. The laundry room could become a goal instead of a dream, a functioning part of the house, instead of self-imposed stress and anxiety. The lesson hit home, and was far too powerful to only be applied to my physical house. What about my spiritual home? What about cleaning out the parts of myself, the different rooms that make up my brain, my soul, my very essence?
I tend to procrastinate, I can be obstinate, I’m not always so organized (read totally messy), I worry too much about being funny, I take things personally that I shouldn’t, I sometimes avoid challenges by doing easy tasks first, I can get angry too quickly, and I hold a grudge. How on Earth am I supposed to work on all of these deficiencies so that I can become a better person, a better me? How am I supposed to “live up to my potential'”when there are so many character traits I need to change, develop, and nourish?
It is so overwhelming, that, instead of becoming better, I just stay the same. But, what if I applied the same tactic of cleaning my laundry room to cleaning my character? What if I took 10 minutes, just 10 minutes a day, to work on myself. I could do that.
So I tried it out this past week. Sunday, I worked on being more patient, even if just for 10 minutes. On Monday, I spent 10 minutes deciding to let go of some ill feelings I had toward another. And so on. By the end of the week, not only was a good portion of my laundry room clean and accessible, my soul was less dusty and more organized.
Changing ourselves isn’t easy, in fact, it’s quite difficult. However, the more we keep allowing things to be put in the wrong place the harder they are to find later. By spending just 10 minutes a day cleaning out your soul, you will find things you had long misplaced. I found that my sense of self and ambition had fallen behind my fear of failure and was covered in a layer of misunderstandings. Take the 10-minute-a-day soul cleaning challenge; and pair it with a room you’d like to clean as well. I promise you won’t regret it.
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