Lessons from the Boutique, Part 2: Opening and Closing

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Owning a business for several years teaches you a few tricks.  This is one that I still use today:  an Opening and a Closing.

At the boutique, we opened at 10.  The thirty minutes before that was ‘gird your loins’ time.  It was the last few minutes you had to prepare for the incoming of customers.  This is when you checked to make sure everything was perfect, settled your heart and mind, dealt with any attitude issues, then click, unlocked that front door, and welcome the world.  Do you see where this is going?  At the end of the day, after we let the last customers out, we had a closing.  This was the wind-down: vacuum, wash mirrors, tidy, review the day, plan for the next day, count the money, lock up, and go home.

I’m a happy housewife now, but I’ve found that the idea, the concept of opening and closing still applies.  I still have things that need to be done each morning before me, my husband, and my house are ready to face the day.  Opening gives me a sense of peace, calm, and control before I get going, while closing settles me down for the night.

The main thing I like about opening, just like at the store, is it gets me ready for people.  One of the hard parts about life is that you can’t live without people.  Accept that.  You aren’t a hermit.  If you were, you’d die.  Now, I can say that because I’m the first to admit that I would be the crazy neighborhood cat lady if it wasn’t for all the rest of you crimping my style.  If it wasn’t for a husband, a family, and a church to serve, I might never leave my house, and I’d have lots of strange pets, and I’d probably scare neighborhood children.  (Remember, I’m a writer, strange comes with the job.)

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But God (my favorite two words) has wisely decided that we are all better off having to deal with one another.  I’m sure it has something to do with sanctification and destroying my selfishness.  Add to that that I’m one of those old-fashioned people who think that people should feel like honorable guests in my home.  I want my husband to feel appreciated for all the work he does, and I want him to be able to study with ease when he comes home.  The fastest way to accomplish this is with an opening and a closing.  The best way to have an opening and closing is to do the same thing every time.  (We’ll talk about systems in a later blog post.)

My day starts at 5.00am.  I get up, get the coffee going, wake up my husband, and drink a glass of water while I check email, FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, and my blog stats.  This prepares me for anything I may need to take care of later today, and lets me get my head in the game.  I try to limit my social media time or it takes over my life.  At this time, I also select blogs to read and line them up in my browser, so that they’re ready when it’s time to take a break.  After that, I see my husband out the door and focus on writing.  I either work on my blog, or on my WIP(work in progress): Icicle Rain.  Sometime between 700 and 730, I head for the shower.  I don’t leave the bathroom until I’m clean, my hair is done, and my war paint makeup is on.  I always put on my makeup for the most significant event of the day.  Meaning, if I’m going on a date that night, I wear date makeup all day.  I usually do the same thing with my clothing unless I plan on working in the yard.  After hair and makeup, comes getting dressed and making the bed.  I get completely dressed in the morning: jewelry to shoes.  This is part of being prepared.

Now that I’m all ready, I get the house ready.  Curtains are flung open to let in the day.  Last night’s dishes, snacks, and dirty laundry are tidied.  Each room gets a quick going over.  I generally start at the laundry room and move towards the back bedrooms.  This quick sweep of the house not only keeps it in order, but also lets me see any areas that are going to need more major attention later in the day.  Finally, I adjust my To-do list, make breakfast, and do a little bible reading.  My day is ready to start.

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At the end of the day, I basically rewind all that I did in the morning.  I set up my coffee.  I make sure my computer and flash drive are ready to go.  I close curtains, shut off lights, and settle in for a quiet evening with my husband.  The main thing about closing is to turn your focus inward on your family.  We have a small dinner together where we talk about our days, make any joint family decisions that need to be made, and plan our schedule.  We take off our day clothes and put on our comfy pjs.  I wash off the makeup.  This is a very important time, because it is us time.

Opening and closing your day gives your body cues as to what needs to happen next.  Are we gearing up or winding down?  It helps you prepare your family for the day ahead and get them all snuggled down at the end.  It lets you know the first things to accomplish so you don’t overwhelm yourself with everything all at once.  It is a good way to stay on top of your clutter even if you know you have to do it every day.  We don’t live in a world where things improve with time.  Everything falls to ruin in this life unless we maintain it.  God doesn’t get miffed that He has to give breath to one more person, even though they’re going to need it again in the next second, and they never even notice He gives it to them.  God is good and generous.  We should be too.  It might seem dull and frustrating to have to tidy up the house yet again, or make the coffee, or the bed, I mean you’re going to get back in it again, right?  It might seem like such a waste to do your hair or your makeup when no one’s going to see you but your husband, right?  Wrong.  It sets a tone of focus, self-sacrifice, and seriousness to your work.  Even if your house is going to have to be cleaned again tomorrow, it is important to clean it today.  That’s being a good steward.  That loves your neighbor as yourself.  That’s being ready for what the Lord brings in your life.

Open your home in the morning, close it at night.

Lesson 1: First Things First

Lesson 3: Have a System

Lesson 4: Dealing with People

Lesson 5: Red Heels

Lesson 6: Fashion from Boutique to Housewife

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