Guest blog by Julia of 2 green gals
"Before enlightenment you'll carry wood & sweep... after enlightenment you'll carry wood & sweep."
Are you the person in your family that provides the immense load of care work? The one who notices and remembers what needs to be done?
As a mom and someone in the cleaning business I'm a noticer - in the habit of noticing details other people miss and realizing how many details there are that can be missed by even the most trained eye. When we think of cleaning it's usually about the big messes of life - dishes, bathrooms, that one flat surface that catches everything.
But cleaning also means the way things get dirty over the gradual passage of time, dust that drifts through the air and settles, oil and dirt building up on surfaces that are frequently touched without thought.
Being the one who notices and takes care of this work can leave all of us feeling stretched thin and overextended. I'm glad you're here reading this and so excited to share with you about the lessons I’ve learned about sustainable cleaning with my business 2 green gals.
Meet Julia and 2 Green Gals
Hi - I'm Julia! I met Sara visiting her amazing store as our values seemed to align. We decided to plan an event together that ended up coinciding with the start of the pandemic and with an abundance of caution as my mom was in chemo we postponed. Now 2 years later I’m so excited to be on the schedule to share space with a continuation of this conversation on April 4th!
During the pandemic Terra Shepherd offered a bright spot for me - birthday celebration, sharing gifts with people I love, the magical baths with birth stone bath bombs from Sweetgrass Soapery and MOA’s Fortifying Bath potion, favorite outfits, and more! The commitment to sustainable values while being inclusive has been incredibly inspiring as we work towards creating a community that survives and thrives through hard times (like pandemics!). For me that’s the best part of sustainability - when we’re practicing it we are not perfect, we’re trying by staying in the places that are messy and honestly hard sometimes to figure out, which means we and our community become more resilient in the face of change and growth.
Over 10 years ago my mom, Gerrie and I started our cleaning business, 2 green gals. It was a way for her to have something to return to after leaving the state to help my sister in the Air Force with the birth of her oldest. She led by example in building relationships and connections with our clients while cleaning with simple, basic products that were healthy for her and our clients. Her commitment to cleaning in a green way was born out of necessity - our family (like many who provide domestic work) comes from a poor and working class background so we most often used products like vinegar, baking soda, and Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap.
With that as our foundation, and a commitment to working with other moms who bear the lion’s share of domestic duties in most homes, 2 green gals grew into something that provided for my mom. In 2019 I joined her in working towards our goals of hiring. We took the year to recenter our values and make plans for going forward. Those values and foundation are what allowed us to survive the pandemic which also devastatingly coincided with her diagnosis and death by cancer (one that had a contributing factor of toxic cleaning fumes from products she used prior to us beginning our business). These experiences have strengthened the resolve for 2 green gals being something necessary for the people in our community - both as a service and a resource.
Finding value in the fundamental work that is cleaning.
Cleaning work has immense value to us, as individuals, families, and the larger community. Regardless of who we are, we leave behind messes that need to be cleaned up. Some messes are directly caused when we start a project, make a meal and play and some are caused by time and routine - the dust that builds up, the smudges from dog noses and kid hands on windows and doors, and yes, bathrooms.
Finding value in this fundamental work - that keeps us healthy and safe, makes our spaces feel welcoming and clean - allows us to find peace in the practice of cleaning whether we do it ourselves or have someone else come in to do it.
It is a gift to become aware of how domestic work is often devalued within ourselves and culturally – we can shift from seeing this work as drudgery that is below us or weighing us down into understanding it as a powerful tool towards mindfulness as part of the practice of whole connectedness. We can allow our full feelings of frustration, irritation, resentment to rise, curiously exam them, find ways we can address issues (if we’re cleaning up after others that work requires acknowledgement & appreciation - it’s not only ok but vital we ask for that if we are not receiving it) and by doing so we can move into a space where the peace of gratitude begins.
Gratitude can be grumpy even while we grumble a prayer of thanks that means we and those we love are still breathing and living a life worth cleaning up after.
Enlightenment isn’t something we find outside of ourselves or our lives – but within the very moments when we are practicing the rituals of cleaning, cooking and living. Regardless of how well we do a cleaning job, time and use mean that things will gather dust, dirt and grime. And being mindfully present is key as we notice the passage of time.
Sustainability doesn't mean doing it all ourselves. Asking for help and valuing it creates support that allows us to grow from strong foundations. Our goal with 2 green gals is to provide cleaning services that offer sustainable options for our clients, team, and community. My personal goal of leaving things better than I found them includes how I hope this blog has offered insight, the tingle of excitement in connection, the slightly itchy discomfort of growing into something new, and peace that we’re not alone in this.
I’m excited to hear how living & cleaning sustainably shows up in your life and see you April 4th!
Hi, I'm Sara!
If you are new around these parts, let me first say welcome! I am so happy you are here. Secondly, you may be wondering who exactly is Terra Shepherd. Terra Shepherd is actually not a person - it is a business name, a place, a way of thinking, and a community.
It is my goal to connect you with your clothing on a deeper level than you likely ever have by telling the stories of the makers, fabrics, production practices, and brands I have selected to carry in the store. I hope to help you realize the incredible value of investing in garments you truly love and are excited to cherish for years to come.
This space is intended to be one in which we learn and grow together. I welcome and encourage your feedback - it will serve as my guide with this journal.
Welcome to Terra Shepherd friends.
Emma Pogue said:
Thank you for sharing your insight, enlightenment, and encouragement, Julia!