"A place for everything, everything in its place." - Benjamin Franklin
There are very few people as creative, brilliant and, well... productive.... as Benjamin Franklin. The man certainly got things done! So, after discovering that he was the source behind the oft-cited "place for everything" quote, it got me thinking... how important is cleanliness to inspiration?
If it's important, I may be in trouble!
I am a terrible homemaker. I like things clean, but I hate the act of cleaning. And my husband's not much better. So, as a couple, we allow our house to accumulate mess for weeks before we'll finally do a massive overhaul. Lately, though, I've noticed that in addition to my house being messy, my mind has been messy as well. It's been hard to focus and unearth the motivation that I know is lurking in there somewhere. So I had to ask myself -- will I find more inspiration in a clean house than a messy one?
There was only one way to find out. I cleaned.
Now before I proceed, please don't get me wrong - it's not like I've never cleaned before! I know the satisfaction of having a well-organized home. Iknow it's easier to concentrate when things aren't cluttered, I just rarely apply that to my day-to-day life. But, if I'm going to spend the next 90 days discovering inspiration, I want to start with a clean slate, inside and out.
I ended up spending about three hours cleaning. I did laundry, organized clutter, swept, vacuumed and folded clothes. Is the house spotless now? No. I've got loads of laundry left to do, I need to mop, I need to dust and I need to wipe down the bathroom. But, the two things that drive me bonkers - dog hair and clutter - are now dealt with. And I do feel better! In fact, cleaning up the clutter actually inspired me to my next goal... purging the clutter! There is no reason in God's green earth that my husband needs 50 white shirts with sweat stains in the pits... and there's no reason I need 20 pairs of black capri workout pants! Maybe if we had less clothing, I'd actually keep up with the laundry!
After 30 years of being a less-than-awesome housekeeper, I don't expect my habits to immediately change. Believe it or not, my dirty house is often in a state of controlled chaos. Everything actually does have a place... it's just rarely in its place. But, there's something to be said for having a clean house and a clear mind. When I'm less distracted by all the chores I know I should be keeping up with, I'm more prepared to focus on the tasks I actually want to complete, like writing!
Which led me here:
"In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets -- some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing." - 2 Timothy 2:20-21, The Message
Someone who is ready for inspiration, who is ready to be the person they're meant to be, needs to be mentally and physically prepared for the role. If I surround myself with trash in my daily life... if I fill my brain with the trash I so readily love (reality TV and gossip mags!), how can I expect my mind to be anything but a waste can?
Sometimes cleaning is literal, sometimes it's metaphorical. I think the lesson today is that cleaning in every sense is good for inspiration, and I have a long way to go if I want to become a sparkling crystal goblet ready to be filled up with the stuff!
Header image credit: Internetsense, http://www.flickr.com/photos/internetsense/6789942482/sizes/o/