If I were to rank order my favorite months, January would be near the bottom of the list if it weren’t for football playoffs (FINALLY the Bills are in again!) and the promise of a blank canvas. I’m not talking about New Year’s resolutions. I’m referring instead to the first few days following the removal of the Christmas decorations. As much as I look forward to the Christmas season and celebrate it as fully as I can manage within my schedule and energy level, I am relieved by the return of routine. The simplicity of the standard decor – which only looks simple immediately following several weeks of anything but – signals possibility and opportunity. I love the serenity of the walls that are comparatively bare and demanding nothing from me. I can decide what to do or not to do. It’s very empowering.
Kidden Prep was established because of a firm appreciation of the influence of our mental and physical surroundings. If we walk through a cluttered room on the way to another cluttered room, how can we possibly sort out the clutter in our minds in order to decide what to focus on next? Contrast that obviously or obliviously stressful journey with a stroll through a house without piles or unnecessary items to clean and store. One image conjures hope and the other, despair. Yes, some people appear not to notice clutter or be bothered by it until or unless they experience what it’s like to live without it; sometimes you have to not see it to believe it. One cannot underestimate the impact of a peaceful (or not) material environment.
My faith value is stronger than my decluttering value, so the Christmas decorations will stay up until the Epiphany. Then, I’ll say a prayer of thanks for the blessing of Jesus’ birth and another prayer of thanks for the blessing of a satisfyingly organized and visually quiet home.