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December 19, 2012

Nicing – A Chance to Pay it Forward

December 19, 2012

Hopefully the concept of "nicing" someone is not new to you because you are a devoted follower of the SmallBox blog, but just in case you missed the background story, you can catch up on it here. Basically, nicing is the act of doing something nice and unexpected for someone. I love this concept and super enjoy showering people with FUN surprises. As adults, there are too many bummer/bad news surprises, so nicing is a great way to surprise someone with a little sunshine.

We had our second child earlier this year on August 4. I adore my girls and love the laughter and joy they add to my life. They also, however, add a lot of extra "stuff"- toys, diapers, clothes, books, craft stuff, etc.- to our home. My husband and I often talk about how we feel like the second we think everything is picked up and clean, we blink and start cleaning all over again. My mom gave me a magnet that pretty much sums it up for me: "Cleaning the house while kids are growing is like shoveling snow while it's still snowing." SO- the point to all this is that I was THRILLED when SmallBox "niced" me with a gift certificate for house cleaning. It is SO lovely to walk in to a clean home. It's not just the physical cleanliness that I loved, it was also the freeing feeling of knowing there was no vacuuming or dishes or dusting waiting for me in that weekend's festivities. I appreciated this gift so much that I was determined to pay it forward and find a reason to nice someone with the gift of a clean house- and the gift of time.

I started thinking about who in my circle of friends had an extra load on their plate right now and could really use an extra set of hands and/or some more time in the day. I immediately thought of my friend, Ashley. They've had their house on the market for a couple months, and the stress of keeping a clean, "ready to show" house while keeping up with her two-year-old son has been an uphill battle. As if that wasn't enough, she's also in the middle of physical therapy for her neck and shoulder, so house work is even more physically taxing on her. If anyone could use some extra help with housework, it's Ashley. SO- last week, I called her to put my "nicing" plan in motion. I asked her how she was doing, how PT is going and asked her if there was anything I could be doing to help her. She filled me in on her week, and I could tell it had been challenging. Here's how the nicing went down:

Me: "Wouldn't it be nice if your house just cleaned itself?"

Ashley: "Yeah, that'd be the day."

Me: "Well, what if I told you your house, in theory, is going to clean itself?"

Ashley: "What?!?"

Me: "I'd like to give you a gift certificate for someone to come clean your house if that's ok. You pick when, but I just want to help you get something off your plate."

Ashley: "Seriously?!?! That would be AWESOME. Wow. Really? Wow."

We chatted a bit more, and I smiled when I hung up the phone. There truly is so much joy in paying it forward and helping others. It's very easy to focus on ourselves and our own circumstances, especially when life gets busy, but I encourage you to make "nicing" a regular and frequent activity in your life. Nice a family member, a friend, a stranger...we all have a part to play in spreading a little sunshine in the world around us.

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