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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Tidy Cats

Hi Sister!

I know how you like Patron Saint matching, so here's one for you:

I'm getting ready to move to a new apartment at the beginning of July. I am not a tidy person by nature, and my current apartment got into a very sorry state that took a very long time to try and set right. I don't want this to happen in my new place! To what patron saint(s) could I pray for intercession to help me stay motivated and better organized in my new home? I'm even thinking about getting a medal or icon to keep somewhere where I'd see it all the time to help me remember to keep at it.

Thanks for your help! :)

Oh dear! You're not one of those poor souls that have a whole television show about them, are you?  Those people who don't ever throw anything away, even old food, until the garbage literally erodes the house and ruins the plumbing and the neighbors call the city and a psychiatrist has to come and talk you out of the tree in the yard because you've had to move into it because you can't move a foot in the mess you've made?

No, you're not.  Those people are mentally ill. Poor things.

You need three saints!  The patron saints of staying tidy: St. Throw Away, St. Give Away and St. Put Away.

St. Throw Away: St. Lawrence.  Learn what is important to hang on to, and toss the rest. St. Lawrence was asked to bring the new local poobah all the treasures of the Church. He gave St. Lawrence three days.  St. Lawrence gave away all the money and gold he could lay his hands on to the poor and returned three days later with all the sick and poor and lepers and losers he could find.  "These are the treasures of the Church, " he quipped.

What is valuable?  Not that much, here on earth.  Certainly not a bunch of stuff.

St. Give Away: St. Theresa the Little Flower.  St. Theresa wanted to be a missionary, but she was too sickly to travel anywhere. (She only lived to age 24.)  So she did everything she could as though she were doing it for Jesus, Himself. She washed the dishes as though He was going to eat off of them. She washed the floor as though He was going to walk on it.  You get the picture.  

Give your work away and it won't be work anymore. It will be a gift.

If that thought doesn't work for you, clearly, you really hate cleaning. You could also offer up your suffering to the Poor Souls in Purgatory. St. Theresa is your girl in Heaven for that, too!  Get yourself some St. Theresa sacrifice beads!  Every time you suffer through cleaning something you move one of these movable beads.

St. Put Away: St. Charles Borromeo. You will have to keep some things and keep them tidy, put things away after you use them, clean up after yourself, etc.  St. Charles Borromeo came to his monastery when things were very messy, very messy indeed. He cleaned house so thoroughly that the brothers who had to rise to the occasion tried to poison him hired a hit man to rub him out.  He missed.

Now that's some discipline.

I have a thought. You could hire a cleaning person to come in once a month. I realize it sounds like a lazy extravagance, but it isn't that at all to the person who comes in once a month and would like to add clients to earn money. It's not a lazy extravagance. It's someone's job. You'll have to clean anyhow, because you will be embarrassed by the horrible mess you've made in a month and you'll find yourself "cleaning for the cleaning lady".  

Meanwhile here's a couple of cleaning tips:

1. Have less stuff. Much easier to clean that way.

2. Clean the bathroom sink area each time you use it, right then.  Wipe everything off and rise it.  Wipe off whatever counter space you have. It will only take 2 minutes that way.

3. If you have a washer and dryer in the house, put your clothes right in there and then wash them when the load is full.  If you don't, make sure all your dirty clothes are in a hamper. You really can't lean over and put that sock in the hamper? Leaving it there is a lazy extravagance.

4. Get out of the house.  Go out and perform some corporal works of mercy. That way you won't be there to make a mess.


Martha said...

Wow, SMM, you just completely and thoroughly summed up a self-help book I read; except in a much more time and money efficient manner! Another reason to love you! You're the best! :D

mph said...

I love your blog, it always brightens my day. One problem with the washing machine idea is the black socks ending up in the same wash as the white shirts, laundry basket is a much better idea. I've learnt to be a lot tidier since we've had the house on the market. Looking forward to an offer so we can go back to our homely mess.

Claudia said...

You have just given me the reason to go thru my closet and donate things I no longer wear to St. Vincent De Paul.

I did hire a man to wash my windows, I think that at the age of 64 I should not be climbing out and hanging on windows.

aurorafedora said...

very wise words indeed! we could all learn to live with less, something i have been trying to do. thanks sister!

Helenrr said...

As well as your answers, which make self help books look extravagant :) I find Flylady.com to be very helpful. Also Peter Walsh and the book Organizing from the Inside Out -which helps with the why's. Most of the other books etc are repeats. I like the 3 saints :) will keep them in mind while purging old papers, etc. That is hard for me.

Cloister said...

Hallo! I just found you here via Fr. Pat Hounds blog, Humble Piety. I loved this post, and so made a little link to it over at my blog: http://theworldismycloister.blogspot.com/
I hope you do not mind too much. I have a soft spot for Patron Saints too!
Thank you for blogging!

Silver Parnell said...

This blog was very propitious for me, since I am currently trying to clean up my wretched mess after several years of illness. I would add to St. Putaway that if you do not have places to put things out of view, and if you really need those things, then it is time to invest in shelves or bins or furniture with drawers. That is what I did, and it really helps. By the way, the less time I have to spend cleaning (because I am organized) the more time I have for prayer.

Eve said...

Say a little prayer,like,"Lord Jesus,You know how much I don't like to clean,therefore I offer this up for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Holy Souls in Purgatory, remember me to the Lord." Then put on a CD, say, Palestrina motets or Gregorian chants or Hildegard of Bingen, and clean until the CD is over.