Before, After, and the Motivation in the Middle {A Less Digital Life…Day 7}

I can’t believe I’m sharing this. It’s kind of like those nightmares where I miss the bus and show up to middle school in my slip. I know some clean freaks, and if they knocked on my door unannounced and I saw them through the peephole, I’d probably turn around look at my mess and pretend no one was home. But here it is anyway, a picture of my office after curating the Take Heart series (and birthing a baby).


My space spirals into this condition when I’m living in my thoughts, working full-throttle on a project, when there’s a family crisis or I’m sleep deprived or sick, or when I’m nursing a newborn. When I look at the aftermath in various areas of my home, I start scanning for things to throw out. Maybe if we lived more like minimalists, it wouldn’t come to this. Sometimes, I even take a photo to study just what it is that is causing all the trouble. Valpak coupons and credit card offers that we never take? Toys that have migrated from other parts of the house? Dishes that should have been rinsed before the food calcified?

Last time I took the “before” photo, though, it hit me…the worst culprit wasn’t all the stuff on the counters, it was the thing in my hand, the very device capturing the photo. It buzzes every few minutes with a notification or two, constantly distracting me from things I’d like to have a reason to avoid anyway.

Now, let me show you a picture of my office today.


Know what the catalyst was? People…the presence of moving, breathing people. We invited a couple from church over for dinner and I wanted to, HAD to, clear the way. At the thought of them walking through my door, I put the Do Not Disturb sign on my phone so I couldn’t be lured away from the task at hand. Then, I grabbed a trash bag and filled it to the top, threw a bunch of giveaways into a box and helped misplaced items find their way back to the right drawers, cabinets, buckets and bins.

It started out being tied with my bedroom for worst mess in the house, and the relief of having that space clean gave me adrenaline to tackle the other areas. Not only did I feel like a less-scatterbrained version of myself by the time the guests arrived, but the inspiration of the clean space made me feel like I could give this series a go. Hopefully, if things go as planned, I won’t have such a big mess to photograph when we’re through.

lessdigitalHere’s a little Internet break for you. Right now, before you do anything else online….
Invite someone over. And for a real pick-me-up, clear a counter top.



{I’m linking up with Nester for her annual 31 Days blog get together. Don’t want to miss this series? Be sure to subscribe by entering your email in the box on the homepage sidebar. Find all posts in the series here.}

3 thoughts on “Before, After, and the Motivation in the Middle {A Less Digital Life…Day 7}

  1. Funny thing, I’m reading this several days after you posted because I’ve been busy sorting/cleaning/organizing areas of the house that I’ve been wanting to do since we moved here (3 months ago)–but just haven’t gotten them done…and now we have family coming in town and THEY MUST BE DONE! My poor family–to live with the mess so long and to now put up with my frenzy to get it all clean. For another family that understand and don’t expect perfection (which is good, because there are SO MANY THINGS not done.. But we’re getting there! Baby steps!) And we’re also starting to invite people over! :) I joke I do that to make myself clean, too bad its true!

    • Inviting guests…it’s a mix of accountability because somebody’s going to see it, motivation because there’s a deadline, and treating your home as a special place by imagining it through the eyes of someone else. I’m with you. I have guests coming Saturday for Farah’s birthday, so I’m putting off adding new posts in my online “home” to get my real one ready for the extended fam. :)

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