“Are you ready to see the money shot?”
Every year, at Thanksgiving we start our “prep list” for our annual holiday party at our home. It’s a highlight of the year for us and an opportunity to spend an evening with some of our work family, their families, kiddos and other friends. We just hosted that event his past Saturday. It was so fun! We had food, holiday treats, gifts, music, and laughs! Of course, I even provided a few tours to see my garage collection of tech hacks, projects, Powerwalls and gadgets.
For any of you who host parties, you know they can be a lot of work. Your prep list is full of food and drinks to buy, cooking, arranging, planning and of course, cleaning. That last bit can vary quite a bit. Even if you have a regular schedule of keeping things maintained, there are still those items you postpone, like the deep cleaning part, until there is a good motivation. Well, hosting a party is a good motivation. One of the things we identified this year that needed some special treatment was our area rugs. We have tile floor throughout the house but we have large area rugs in the living rooms. They can get dirty. Very dirty! We needed to either replace or clean them. My wife found a professional cleaner that would be able to accommodate our schedule.
The carpet cleaner showed up with special chemicals and equipment. After he treated the rug, he pulled in this large hose and vacuum tool and said, “Are you ready to see the money shot?” We looked at the rug and it already looked better. The colors that had faded were already showing again. But then it happened. He turned on the machine and began pulling the vacuum head across one side of the rug. It was mind blowing! The white border of the rug exploded with colorful and vibrant brilliance. The rest of the rug we thought was clean suddenly looked dingy, gray and soiled in comparison to the strip he had just cleaned. We were stunned! He laughed. He then told us that people love to see that. In fact, he informed us, you can spend hours on social media watching people clean their rugs this same way. I couldn’t believe it so I checked it out for myself. There are tens of thousands of hours of rug cleaning videos out there! I kid you not! And I must admit, they are addictive, soothing and somehow satisfying.
Why is that? It turns out that there is a lot of research on this type of thing. We find a sense of optimism, peace, clarity and control when we watch things go from dirty to clean, chaos to order. In reflection, I find the same with my own efforts around cleaning. In preparation for our party, we declutter, wash, arrange and decorate. I confess that the ramp to begin that process isn’t easy and my procrastination skills kick into overdrive, but once I’m past that the effort is oddly satisfying, refreshing and enjoyable. Now, don’t get me wrong, my garage is still 100% chaos and needs some treatment, but containerizing and treating chaos in an agile fashion is a topic for another email.
For today, as we parade into this holiday season, I’m reminded of the joy of cleaning. We all need a bit of housekeeping from time to time. Life is dusty. Spider webs settle in the crevices of our hearts, our minds and our homes. Seeing the “money shot” of things in your life go from dirty to clean is an enjoyable experience, healthy and encouraging. Pull out the special cleaner, scrubber and brush and go to work. Trust me, it is true! Try it. Go clean something and report back. I’ll wait.