Cleaning

What are you neglecting that could use a little bit of attention?

For the past two years, our company has been renovating a historic building in Downtown Ashland to become the permanent home for our business. It’s been a long process filled with many lessons along the way, but it’s also been incredibly exciting at each turn to see the small progressions on the way to the completed space.

Each new development would give us a further glimpse into the space we were creating: the studs going up to outline the rooms they would become, the carpet lifting to reveal hundred-year old maple floors, the plaster coming down to expose charming rust-colored brick walls.

Each new element delighted me and sparked eagerness for the time when we would be working in the new space. But, the thing that may have moved me the most was when we had the building professionally cleaned, lifting away two years of construction dust. In that moment as I walked through the newly clean space, it took on a new life and it really began to feel like a space we could call our company’s home. 

Over the past two weeks I’ve spent some time attending to some neglected spaces in my home. Over time, my dresser had become overly cluttered, my pantry had begun to explode at the seams and our dining room buffet was drowning in kids’ crafts. These projects are time consuming, hard to squeeze in when you’re in the thick of the day to day hustle with kids and jobs and meals and calendars. 

Plus, there’s the fact that I hate to clean. In most instances, I’m cleaning just enough to make my home presentable for guests. But, 2020 hasn’t brought many guests into our home. If they have come they’re used to the chaos or they’re there to help with it. As the year has progressed and our family’s circle has remained tight, I began to realize that in normal times, I’m not intentionally cleaning my home for myself, just for the comfort of others.

I dedicated several hours this weekend to a deep clean of my bedroom, a once oasis in my home that had accumulated litters of dust bunnies and piles of clutter. Uncovering the peaceful space I had once created felt restorative. As I wiped down the baseboards and cleaned out old makeup from my collection, it felt like I was caring for myself by taking the time to renew a space that would invite rest. 

There’s a lesson in the cleaning of something that’s covered in dirt and dust. Something we’ve neglected, that we’ve overlooked or pushed to the back burner. There’s a restoration in the renewal of the space of the thing we’re bringing back to life. In the refresh, we’re reminded that there’s an opportunity for restoration in all things, even things that seem too far gone. 

There’s work involved, there’s time required and it might mean getting rid of things that once served you well but are no longer of importance, but something old can be made new and useful once again.

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Colleen Cook works full-time as the Director of Operations at Vinyl Marketing in Ashland, where she resides with her husband Mike and three young daughters. She's an insatiable extrovert who enjoys finding reasons to gather people.