Looking out the windows — when they’re clean

Cleaning and uncluttering is hard work so we put it off. But the sun does look much brighter streaming through those clean windows.

With new furniture comes new seating arrangements, and old habits are hard to change. I am used to walking into a room while watching the TV and deftly weaving my way through coffee tables and couches, I now have to actually watch where I’m going because the open paths are gone.

A different angle brings a different view and one sunny afternoon, with the new drapes open, (did you know there is some law that says new carpet has to have new drapes?), I could see it could have been quite some time since the big front window had been cleaned.

It is an older-style double pane and it all comes apart, much easier than it goes back together, so out comes the Windex and Bon Ami and soon the inside is sparkling and I am just a bit embarrassed about how black the paper towels are when the job is done. The outside will get done when it’s a bit warmer.

The results are amazing and this new fresh and clean atmosphere I have been thrust into is starting to grow on me. This is not at all like the old dust and mould environment which was literally starting to grow on me.

A few years back, when I was still employed, I was on a three-day motivational course. This is one of those courses where they try to convince you that money does not motivate you and they try to show you all the things that actually will motivate you and make you a better employer or manager. In reality, with what they paid to send the entire staff on this course, they could have given us all a bit of a raise, because money does motivate employees.

But the consultant leading the seminar told us all that over the next three days he was going to ‘clean our windows.’ He explained that over the years we look out at the world around us and observe the people coming and going, but slowly the windows we are looking through get dirty. They develop a film that distorts the colours and the shapes and the overall view of what is happening.

He told us that it is human nature that if we don’t like what we are seeing, we tend to just pull the drapes and block it out. The situation is still there on the other side but, out of sight, out of mind.

To get motivated, he suggested we let the light in, get the cleaner out and scrub away the old film of misconceptions, resentments and ignorance. We needed to start to look at everything around us in this new light. We had to unclutter our thoughts, our thinking, our physical environment and come at challenges from a different angle.

We were in the room with people we had worked with a long time. The exercises during the course were designed to get to know them on a different level than we had in the past.

Change can be uncomfortable. Like our furniture, we like the people in our lives to be in the same place all the time so we can move around them comfortably and know where they are when we need them.

Cleaning and uncluttering is hard work so we put it off. But the sun does look much brighter streaming through those clean windows. At least that’s what McGregor says.