Friday night I hosted my Spring Jam, the second front porch concert I’ve staged (the first was the Spooktacular, which will be back again this October). I’ll be writing a detailed review of Friday’s concert this weekend, and will catch up this week on some of the details of preparing for it (apologies, subscribers, for the delayed post).
The evening was a great deal of fun, with around forty attendees at any given moment (some folks stuck around for the whole thing, while others came and went). We sold t-shirts, hot dogs, baked goods, and drinks, and took in tips and donations to pay our musicians. I even managed to sell one of my pieces of artwork (!!!; the other one is still available). One of my musician buddies and fellow bloggers, fridrix, showed up unexpectedly, and treated us to a surprise, three-song set, including his open mic song about open mics, “Fish Bowl.”
Of course, with all those people on the front lawn—and my niece and nephews running around with other kids inside the house—there was a good bit of cleaning up to do afterwards. We knocked out the outdoor teardown fairly quickly, which meant throwing everything inside. As such, my house was a wreck.
A little after noon, I set to work reorganizing my tattered kingdom. Besides my bedroom, a guest bedroom, and the tiny bathroom, my house consists of three main rooms: an entryway living room, which I use as a music room; the kitchen; and my den, where I spend most of my waking hours in the house. The Music Room was full of sound equipment—microphones, amplifiers, my keyboard, my saxophone (disgracefully left on the floor!), and so on—while the den was filled with unsold merchandise; leftover art supplies from the birdhouse painting contest; and all manner of bric-a-brac.
My girlfriend had very helpfully cleaned the kitchen before leaving for her place, so there wasn’t much left to do there. Taking the Dave Ramsey debt snowball approach of tackling the easiest, smallest problem first, I hit the kitchen to score an easy, early victory in the long battle to reclaim my kingdom. That mainly consisting of clearing out the drying rack to make way for the dishes in the dishwasher, and putting little odds and ends away into the odds-and-ends drawer.
The Music Room and the den proved to be greater challenges, especially as they both contained elements that belonged in the other room. Anyone who has done a deep clean and reorganization of their home will know that what starts out as one objective quickly telescopes into many others (video game fans will always recognize this phenomenon of branching and telescoping objectives). In the midst of shuttling furniture and the like between the two rooms, I went outside to pull in a rug I’d put out on the lawn. That stopped all progress on both rooms, as I decided to make the rug an outdoor one, joining another, faded rug on the front porch.
That necessitated vacuuming the rug, which led to a vacuuming of half of the house. In the process, I managed to tangle an instrument cable in the vacuum cleaner’s rollers, but was able to wrangle it free—without, it seems, any apparent damage to the cable. Shew!
Then my vacuum sat dormant for some hours, patiently awaiting its next tour of duty, as I finished organizing both rooms. I’ll spare you further minutiae and navel-gazing details, other than to add that I finally organized my merch into (nearly) separate boxes based on size, which should make future merch table setups much faster. I’m going to invest in plastic bins for t-shirts of different sizes soon, but I put some old cardboard boxes to good use.
All of that tedium is to make this point: putting everything back together (in some cases, literally—my niece and nephews took apart several LEGO sets) felt amazing. It took me most of the afternoon, well after dinnertime, to get everything put aright again, but the process of methodically organizing and reorganizing everything came with a profound sense of accomplishment.
In my daily life, I’m very busy, and I finally learned some years ago that keeping my home organized streamlines everything else. When every minute is precious, having good systems in place makes mornings calmer, and quick showers-and-changes doable.
I suspect that many people—perhaps most—live their lives in a state of near-chaos, often without even realizing it. In looking back, I know I certainly did at times (or, at the very least, I only organized a very narrow set of truly necessary items, neglecting the rest). We can’t plan for everything, of course, but being prepared and put-together surely helps.
Man is capable of great destruction, to be sure, but also of great construction. There seems to be something wholesome and right, even godly, about tidying up our spaces. God created the heavens and the Earth, after all; man’s extreme wickedness forced God nearly to wash the slate clean in the Flood, but He allowed humanity a second chance.
Why squander that second chance on squalor? Restoring order to our tiny corner of the cosmos may be an extremely small step to restoring order more broadly, but it’s a step nonetheless.