Clean House, Clean Slate

After spending a week in California for my husband's job (which, for the record, is precisely the amount of time it took for me to fully adjust to Pacific Time), we're back home in Pennsylvania. Bags are unpacked, laundry is folded, and the kids returned to school. I'm prepared for the new semester to start on Monday, even if my Eastern-Standard-Time internal clock is taking a few days to properly kick into gear.

We're back to regular life.

I enjoy the first moment when I return to my house after any length of time away. Daily surroundings, which become so familiar that I sometimes don't notice them anymore, appear momentarily foreign. This particular trip we left the morning after Christmas and returned late in the evening on January 3. At some point during that timespan, I mentally had progressed into New Year Mode. I was thinking start-of-the-year thoughts: reduction of clutter! simplification! new habits! But my house, untouched since the morning of December 26, held the frozen, heaping relics of Christmas: boughs of holly, treats in the pantry, a small pile of well-meaning yet badly-executed gifts with their gift receipts waiting to be returned, and one neglected, exceptionally dry Christmas tree. I merely glanced in its direction and a truckload of needles fell off.

I devoted a day to getting back in order. Joel hauled the Christmas tree to the curb while I swept behind him. I put away ornaments, replaced the Chistmas tablecloth with a regular one, and stowed seasonal decorations in seasonal bins. I took down Christmas cards and hung up the 2023 calendar on the fridge. The house feels lighter now. Somehow I feel lighter, too.

I'm grateful that seasons shift. I'm thankful for their bookend processes -- putting up, taking down -- that simultaneously usher in change and keep a familiar life rhythm year after year. While I love being in Christmas mode, it felt especially hopeful to take everything down, as if my heart were correlating a clean house with a clean slate.

Here's to a new year ahead. May we approach it with fresh eyes, full hearts, and great faith.

No comments

Back to Top