Like many of you, I suspect, I grew up resenting cleaning. There wasn’t much explanation on keeping house at home – my mother believed that it was quicker if she just did it herself. And she was probably right. But that didn’t teach me anything. When I moved out on my own, I struggled to keep my home happy and afloat. I was surprised that there was actually a method to washing dishes!
A few years later I left my husband and a friend took me in. She was a cleaning queen and her house always smelled fresh and I decided that I wanted that. When I finally got my own place, learning to keep house felt like a huge life transformation. But what really changed my life the most was that emotional shift. I was finally living in a space that I felt relaxed and proud to be in. I began to crave a clean space.
IT’S ALL ABOUT EMOTIONAL WELLBEING
Housekeeping is a fundamental life skill. Cleaning helps us live comfortably and peacefully, and when you learn how to clean your space, you’ll see how cleaning can foster happiness and pleasure (seriously, it does!)
When my kids were teenagers, I used to leave for work in the morning with the kitchen pretty much the way I would like to find it – clean and ready for meal prep. When I got home, however, it looked like I might as well not have bothered! Resenting the fact that I had to clean the kitchen, cook dinner and then clean again, I refused to cook until the kitchen was in the same state that I left it in the morning. If you wanted to eat, you would clean up after yourself! It worked! (for the most part). I wanted to come home to a place that improved my mood after a day at work – not made it worse! I started looking at cleaning as a way of making my home a welcoming and beautiful place to live in, instead of a chore that I had to do to avoid starring in an episode of Hoarders.
USING THE RIGHT TOOLS
Once I understood how cleaning worked and how important it was to have the right tools tools for each job (so that cleaning becomes quicker), I started to enjoy doing it, especially when I saw the results of my labour.
LEARN TO APPRECIATE AND CARE FOR WHAT YOU HAVE
Cleaning also made me appreciate my space and the things in it. I may not love every minute of cleaning, but it does help me to be grateful for the things I have and to want to take care of them. Passing that along to a child is one of the best gifts you can give them. We don’t throw our clothes on the floor, we hang them up because we really like them and want to take care of them. I wish I had got that message when I was a child!
MANAGE YOUR TIME MORE EFFECTIVELY
Keeping house will help you manage your time. Personally, I try to clean in such a way that I have more free time on the weekends for family and friends. Doing a few small things every day ensures that I don’t have to do too much on a Saturday or Sunday. See my post about “magic minimums” here. When you have the appropriate housekeeping skills, it allows you to be more focused and to delegate tasks without causing confusion and arguments.
TAKING CARE OF YOUR HOME
Taking pleasure in taking care of your home is an attitude that may take some time to cultivate – unless you were brought up in a home, where this was the sentiment. But once you start thinking this way, you’ll feel better about your space, the tasks and your life. I love my space because I care for it, and I care for my space because I love the feeling of living in it. I can’t say I love to clean, but I love what it does for me.