Inviting My Friends Into the Mess (Part 2)

Last month, I shared about inviting my friends into the mess that is my house, specifically, my office. It was a disaster and was getting in the way of getting anything done. Not to mention how much brain space it was taking up because of the chaos! My girlfriend came over, with her sweet teething baby in tow, and we got to work. I want to share more about that day and the gifts that we both received as a result of inviting her into my mess.

Our day began with a teething babe, an Ergo carrier and a plan

My girlfriend’s sweet baby boy is almost a year old, and he’s in the throes of teething. The night before had been rough for him, and therefore my friend and he was a bit fussy. We grabbed my Ergo carrier and put him in there for a bit so we could get started on our project together.

Ashley started calling the shots, baby chillin’ on her back, and I was ready to follow her “orders.” Her first suggestion was to take everything off my desk so we could sort it later. Next, we dusted and she said that we would only put things back on that I would truly need. I felt a huge relief at this point! Seeing the surface of my desk and NO piles and knowing I wasn’t alone in organizing my mess felt GOOD!

letting my friends into the mess

We decided that the desk was for my computer, my notebook, my lamp, and my pencil/marker/etc holder and that was it. She said these simple yet wise words “Your desk is for the necessities, not for decorations.” Um, call me #mindblown and Marie Kondo eat your heart out.

Your desk is for the necessities, not for decorations.

What’s next? The desk is now cleaned off, the mess is on the floor.

Next, we started creating systems for my paperwork, mail, receipts, kids artwork and papers. I could write a blog on each one of those mini-projects within this project, but I’ll give you a quick highlight here:

Organizing paperwork:

Papers were filed and we made folders for things that needed a place to go. Bills that need to be paid or anything that needs to be handled timely gets put on my computer to do. I’m still finessing that process and making time for those to do’s, but hey, work in progress here.

Process for Mail:

Here’s our process: I am the one to take it out of the mailbox, sort it and organize it. This is so it doesn’t sit on the counter as “something else to do” or to take up space. Fliers get trashed, coupons get filed ONLY IF they will be used within that week, bills get put on responsible party’s desk and the rest, buh-bye.

What to do with Receipts:

I’d like to be more “tech-savvy” but I’m old school in a lot of ways. This is one of them. There’s something about receipts being tangible that feels better to me. I created the main categories for the receipts I keep such as biz expenses, groceries, home, etc. I clip the receipts to an index card with the category written on it, and then monthly, I enter those into my spreadsheet. Yes, spreadsheet lol. It makes me happy because I can see everything in a way that’s visually appealing to me.

Organizing Kids Artwork and Papers:

Ohhhh Mamas….the ideas, goals, and thoughts around this have been a-plenty. I’m SO sentimental and have a hard time letting go of things.

Ashley was a 3rd-grade teacher so she knows about keeping sentimental and special items. Her suggestion was to:

  • get a special box for each of my kiddos
  • put their papers, art, etc in there at the end of each day
  • during Christmas and Summer break, go through those boxes and sort what we would like to keep
  • and then lastly, take those special things and put them into a binder inside sheet protectors and label with their school year.

It was also a beautiful reminder that we don’t have to hold on to everything in order to remember the good times or keep the memories. We’ll remember the truly valuable times because they’re imprinted on our hearts.

In the mess, we simply enjoyed each other’s company

We continued to chit chat about other things the entire time we were together. We ebbed and flowed from doing the project to just hanging out. Her son sat on the floor and enjoyed snacks, while my dog enjoyed cleaning up any that had made it to the floor. Ashley and I enjoyed a yummy lunch, and William enjoyed some of Mama’s milkies too.

We don’t have to hold on to everything to remember the good times or keep the memories. We’ll remember the truly valuable times because they’re imprinted on our hearts.

From here, it was time to get to work putting the systems into action, putting things away, and cleaning up. I was feeling motivated and excited to keep going, and in fact, worked late into the night. For Ashley, it was time for her to head out and she felt like she was leaving the project unfinished. Turns out, this was an important part of her growth as a Mom with a young babe and learning to reach certain points of limitation or accomplishment that differ from life before babe.

The gifts of letting my friend into the mess

My heartfelt full after she left. I was so grateful for:

  • our time together
  • for the experience of being contributed to
  • for not having to figure out how to organize that mess on my own
  • and for a plan in place to get organized.

I felt empowered and ready for action! In my willingness to open up to her and be vulnerable about my mess, I felt stronger and more “normal” and I didn’t feel alone, something that I don’t think I had fully grasped the depth of prior to this experience.

Being together that day had made a difference for my friend as well. Later that evening, she texted me, letting me know how glad she was to be at my house that day, and that she’d been in a funky mood that morning yet felt like a different person after she left my house.

So, here’s to more of this. To let our guards down, to let people into our messes and for all the magic and gifts it brings.

Where is there a “mess” in your life, that if you let someone in, it could make a difference for you?

Dawn Herring
Dawn moved to Florida from Colorado after hearing a quiet, yet persistent voice inside that kept telling her she was “supposed to go live by the water.” A mountain girl at heart, having grown up in Vermont and then declaring Colorado her second home, she thought that was crazy. When she finally said YES, an opportunity in the Tampa Bay area showed up and she moved within a few short months. It was there that she met her husband Greg, and not long after, she became Mama to Savannah and Benjamin who are just a little over a year apart. She is so grateful for all that they’ve taught her, and the part they’ve played in inspiring her to serve women and families as a Childbirth Educator and Doula. She loves to ride her bike with the kids in tow, exploring nature with them, a good cup of coffee, baking, cupcakes, live music and anything that makes her laugh, including her amazing hubby who's great at it.