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After Christmas mess
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Vicki's Corner


Getting Organized

A Beautiful Mess

Vicki Norris
Restoring Order Every year at Halloween, we drag our fire pit into our driveway and have a bonfire. We hand out hot apple cider to the shivering adults while their kids run around and collect candy. The parade of chaperoning parents pauses at our driveway and people gather around our fire pit to warm their hands. A simple popping crackling fire invites people (including us!) to connect with each other instead of slipping through the dark night unnoticed.

After the last trick-or-treater had disappeared, a few of our close neighbors meandered over and shared a drink with us around the fire.

When we finally let the embers fade out, I came inside, surveyed the scene, and smiled. My kitchen counters were covered with apple cider jugs, bottles, candy wrappers, and the remnants of dinner. The kitchen sink was full. The chairs were askew with coats draped over them.  Behold, a mess.  A beautiful mess.

Right then I was struck by what a mess should should be evidence—living proof—of your active, rich, tuned-in life.

My smile lingered as I washed dishes, recycled bottles, and set the laundry on the stairwell to go upstairs. In an hour or so my kitchen was back to normal, the dishwasher was humming, and I headed for bed. You see, in an orderly home, a mess is temporary. It is recoverable. It is even beautiful if you’ll let yourself think about it that way.

Believe me, I am opening myself up to thinking this way, too. As I survey my son’s toys strewn across the living room, I am letting myself enjoy the fact that he is exploring and learning exponentially each day. The smeared coffee tables and couch pillows on the floor are proof of his exploding mobility.

As I sort out the seemingly endless mounds of laundry each weekend I’m trying to think about the events to which I wore all these clothes and the fun that we enjoyed together. My husband’s dirty work jeans remind me that I’m married to the handiest man on earth. I want to toss my son’s blankies in the wash more often this week because he’s had a cold. I look at those piles and I’m thankful that I have hot water and a washing machine and clean clothes.

Why is it that we spend so much of our lives bemoaning the messes and chores of life that are simply a reflection of our blessings?

Perhaps we aren’t thinking the right way about our life. We’re hurrying and complaining and irritable. We’re feeling overwhelmed and like we’re always “behind.” Maybe if we opened our lives up to a little pruning (of all that accumulation piling up around us) and a new perspective, we could set ourselves up to enjoy our lives a little more.

It is in the disorganized, chaotic home—where things have piled up and archeological layers have begun to emerge—that a mess seems overwhelming. When you never moved into your home properly or you’ve got more stuff than space, that’s when things break down. Your home gets out-of-control when your activities and projects speed by and no one ever deals with the backlog. If you’ve got no systems in place to help you manage your life, then a mess is just one more distraction and annoyance in your harried life.

During this holiday season, I invite you to slow down a bit in order to dig out. Not so you can have a magazine-worthy home. Not so you can arrive at perfection. Invest a little time to establish order so you can make room for the beautiful messes in your future.

Have a blessed holiday season!

About the Author: Vicki Norris is an expert organizer, business owner, speaker, television personality, and author who inspires people to live out their priorities. Norris is a regular on HGTV’s nationally syndicated Mission: Organization, and is a recurrent source and contributor to national lifestyle publications including Quick & Simple magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, and Real Simple magazine. Norris is also author of Restoring Order™ to Your Home, a room-by-room household organizing guide.

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