I’m your textbook Type-A meticulous perfectionist whose idea of a perfect evening is tackling an organizing project. I still remember the glorious day I stumbled upon iHeart Organizing and discovered I wasn’t alone.
I easily take it too far. I need to relax. But how? I found that answer when I went to Madonna House for a day.
Madonna House is a community of men, women, and priests who live together as a family, and follow a simple schedule that includes work, prayer, and recreation. This little post explains it beautifully.
If you are like me and you go there, you’ll first notice the natural beauty and the warm sincere people who offer you some pumpkin pie and a comfortable place to nurse your baby. Then, you will be captivated by the architecture and interiors.
In the main house, there is a huge library that also serves as a dining room. It is beautiful. But my little heart was doubly enamoured because it is organized. One floor below, there is a mail room with supplies neatly labelled. Even the envelopes are sorted by purpose. In a nearby staircase, four or five dust pans sit on a wooden ledge labelled “dust pans.” It seems there is a home for everything.
I gushed about this to Zach and our friend André who was there with us. André laughed and said that if I described this to someone who had never been there before, they might imagine a horrible, controlling, oppressive place. And yet it isn’t.
Of course! I thought. This is what I’ve been wanting! For my home to be beautiful and organized, but also relaxed and comfortable. But I couldn’t figure out how they achieved that perfect balance. Fortunately, my friend Ruth could. When I told her about this, she pointed out that at Madonna House, organization isn’t the end goal. It’s simply a means to an end. The end is a peaceful space.
That may sound obvious to you, but it was a light-bulb moment for me. So now I remind myself daily that the end goal is a peaceful home. Keeping it organized is simply a means to that end.
* Photo found here.