WHITNEY CAIN, PHD

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Spring Cleaning

Every once and a while I am overwhelmed with the amount of stuff requiring management in and around my household.  I’m not referring to the emotional load of parenting and marriage and relationships. That’s a whole other blog.  I’m referring to actual, material stuff.  I wonder where it all comes from (Amazon is a major culprit); why I thought it was necessary (at the time of order it was critical); and what I’ll do with it (ignore it sitting on the dining room table).

My current “stuff overwhelm” is seasonally relevant.  Thus, I am organizing and discarding under the guise of spring cleaning.  Just the other day I found myself in an in-depth conversation regarding how to fold things.  “What things?” you might ask.  My response: “Just things.”  Shirts, socks, towels, the dreaded fitted sheet – any and all foldables were within limits. 

My discussion partner was well versed in folding.  She knew them all:  the half-vertical (most common); the tri-fold (often seen in stores); the roll (which really isn’t a fold at all, but, as indicated, a roll); and the Marie Kondoor “KonMari”.  I can’t imagine how anyone chooses. 

Focusing on folding and being overwhelmed by material mess seems ridiculous in the face of global conflicts, environmental assaults, food insecurity, poverty, racism, gender inequality, and all of the other amazingly huge challenges our world faces.  And, yet, this “and” world means we do both.  Grieving the hurts of my world and my neighbor sit right beside pondering the perfect fold and discerning my need for an apple slicer (it’s handy when you need it).

For that matter, those two opposite ends of the spectrum topics are likely more related than we believe.  Organizing our material worlds often brings clarity, a sense of renewal, and a focus on what needs doing.  It’s not a stretch to see how these fresh lenses can lend space for us to connect, create, and, consider how to ease our world’s bigger, messier struggles.  It’s something to contemplate while sorting the linen closet.

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Photo Credit:  StarsApart. (August 1, 2012).  Cleaning tools.  Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/meginsanity/7698341092.

Selected content from this post first appeared in “Folding Our Way to Newness” (September 30, 2016).

Whitney Cain