Many years ago, a friend told me of a tradition in his family that to them signified ringing in the New Year – laundry. By December 31st each year, everyone washed, dried and hung all the laundry in the house ensuring that they were starting off the New Year refreshed and ready.
When I clean my own home - laundry and otherwise – I tend to start with my daughter’s room, my husband’s closet or the common areas of the house. The last room cleaned is usually my own.
Why? Because it’s faster and easier.
Faster because I don’t have as much of an emotional attachment to their dirty laundry or other stuff as I do to my own.
It’s easy to swoop in, toss what I consider to be trash, sweep around the corners and get out. I don’t get sidetracked by an unfinished book sitting on my nightstand or remember that I meant to sew a button on my favorite cardigan like I do in my own spaces. I just see a mess and clean it up.
I also see their clutter before my own in the house – my daughter’s shoes by the backdoor or my husband’s laptop bag on the kitchen table jump out at me like a red wine stain on the countertop.
But, that pile of my dry cleaning on the counter? Well, that’s there because I’m going to take it to the cleaners sometime this week. Pay no attention to that.
Or my handbag that’s hanging on the pantry door? I’m taking that upstairs later so don’t mind that."
Isn’t it the same with people?
It’s easy to solve (or think that you’re solving) another person’s situation. “You know what you should do…” is a commonly used phrase that sounds a lot like, “I know how you should handle your life much better than you do” to the person listening to your critique.
It’s easy to criticize another’s actions, particularly when you don’t know their intentions or communicate how their actions affect you. “Ugh! I really wish he would just…” “Doesn’t she know it drives me crazy when…” “If they would only do it this way, everything would run smoother.”
But how clean is your own room? Have you taken a moment to tidy up your own behaviors, communication style or asked if your method for doing things helps or hinders those around you? It’s a much tougher exercise.
With 2017 quickly approaching, I plan to utilize an inside-out approach in my relationships and ensure that I wash, dry and put away my own dirty laundry before picking up someone else’s. How clean is your room?
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