Thoughts on Housekeeping

housewife

If your house is really a mess and a stranger comes to the door, greet him with, “Who could have done this? We have no enemies.” ~ Phyllis Diller

I’m finally home at my beautiful farm. We arrived early yesterday  morning, and I enjoyed a whole sunshiny day at home, doing homey kinds of things.

I’d kept my diary clear – no work, no outings, no visits from friends, no schedule of any kind. Why? I’ve just started Week Three of the week on, week off meds regime that just about floored me a fortnight ago. I was truly expecting that yesterday would be a total horror.

And then it wasn’t.

It’s an interesting thing, housework. Most of us hate it, resent it, and would rather be doing anything else. And yes, at times I can put my hand up and say ‘me too!’ to that school of thought.

But yesterday it was a pleasure to put a load of washing on and hang it out in the sunshine, to tidy up here and there, cut fresh flowers for the house, burn a little incense, play my favourite music, bake fruit cakes and cook up a big pot of soup.

Mine was a leisurely, moodle-y kind of day, and I thoroughly enjoyed playing house.

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It was prescient too, because by nightfall the drugs had kicked in and I was feeling less than flash. And it’s been all downhill from there. But at least my home is tidy, the washing’s done, I have clean sheets on the bed that smell of sunshine and fresh air, there’s cake in the tin, soup in the pot, and I have fragrant blooms by my bedside.

From a Feng Shui point of view, it’s energetically a good thing to clear your clutter and let your home or office space be clean, orderly and aesthetically pleasing.

Creatively, emotionally and psychically sensitive people are all deeply affected by their environments too.

But even more interestingly, there are neurological studies that show people with depression and anxiety respond well to task completion where there is satisfaction or pleasure from having got the job done. It’s therapeutic for us to see an end result and to have been a major factor in that result – especially tasks that require physical involvement and that we enjoy.  Pleasant tasks or tasks that result in a feeling of accomplishment bring us emotional comfort and the increased activity level helps ward off or decrease depressive episodes. Creativity and positive new thought patterns are stimulated.

Housekeeping is also an act of self care, self love and self nurture.

Think about it. Haven’t there been times when performing routine or maintenance tasks such as cleaning the house, cooking, gardening, putting a set of bookshelves together, painting a piece of furniture or finishing some bookwork has put you into a better emotional space? Or given rise to a fresh idea or a solution to a problem?

Image from www.devivohomes.com

Image from www.devivohomes.com

If the thought of housework right now leaves you cold then take a look at your life:

  1. Are you getting enough rest? Exhaustion and housework don’t mix. Everything is an uphill battle when you’re exhausted or unwell. And what takes you six hours when you’re tired or unwell will usually only take one (or even less) when you’re firing on all cylinders again. Rest and recovery need to always be your first priority.
  2. Do you have any time for yourself and for your own interests? If there are other interests and activities that call you, find someone else to do that housework. A clean house feels good no matter who cleaned it!
  3. Do you actually schedule ‘down time’ and ‘maintenance time’, or are you just playing wishful thinking, expecting that somewhere in your crazy schedule, after all the other work is done, the housework will just miraculously happen?
  4. Can you get help with the tasks that are too hard or that you don’t enjoy or have time for? That way you’ll have more time for the tasks you DO enjoy.
  5. Can you get someone in to get it sorted for you, so that you can more easily keep it that way?
  6. Is there someone sharing your space who needs to pull their own weight here? We end up resentful, angry and exhausted when we’re always doing for others with no help, thanks or time left for ourselves.

Housework doesn’t have to be all misery and agony. But if it is, find ways to make it easier or get some help. A clean, comfortable home is an important refuge in this crazy world!

21 thoughts on “Thoughts on Housekeeping

  1. A clean tidy space and home leaves me feeling clear and tidy in my mind….love when my mind is uncluttered. Enjoy your rest time. Love xx

  2. I remember my mum talking about housework in terms of karmic yoga (I think) where the act of doing something and finishing it is the reward.
    We’ll just ignore that whole pesky #1 issue……..but I do really enjoy my housework days, even if I do have to pace myself and the number of tasks to be done.

  3. bask and wallow in your beautifully clean home, my favourite days are those with an empty diary, best ever! love those beautiful flowers!! dahlias?? they are fab!!! have you got any tips on how to get hold of old variety flower seeds and bulbs?? sending healing for this round – hugs sx

  4. Morning Nicole …… wishing you will have a high energy healing day today. Thank you for this timely reminder. I promised myself I would declutter my bedroom today and guess what, 4-hours after the allotted start time not a single item has been moved. I want to have that feeling of an orderly environment so I can be energetically freer. Off to put in 2 good hours worth – wish me luck! xox

    • Hi Mitch, it’s just a random me here, but i want to say ~ good on you!! wohoo! hope the couple of hours went well & i’m so happy to read that Nicole inspired you to get cracking! me too…

      • Ha! Clever Chaquita, you must have heard the hollow ring to my words that I didn’t. Anyways, 15-minute increments are yielding good results so I will attempt to keep this exercise going. Interestingly, normally 15-minutes of tidying has me asking, “Oh, what’s the point?” but this time I could see results from these short bursts of activity. I really want to feel and know the gains that decluttering always brings with it. Thankyou for taking the time to write, Chaquita – hope you have an inspired day too.

  5. Impecable timing – had our lovely neighbour pop over yesterday only to find while at work our house our house had been trashed!!! No not by burgulars, not by out of control pets and no we have no enemies as such – Just two at home teenage sons see housework as an ‘enemy’ to their social calendars and cleaning after themselves is not an option – So….. No. 6 resonates!! and the want to crawl under a rock was a strong inclination with my neat freak attitude to the housework when I’m home. I’m sure she could see past it while I couldn’t cringe!!

  6. Being now single after forty years of marriage / family, I am aware I now gain my sense of stability and normality from my home and I strive to keep it peaceful and calm. The ‘tidiness’ factor plays a huge part in that, and too often it is trudging against the tide of loneliness tat n hold me back. However, I know once its done I feel better and the wave subsides.
    I hadn’t read any reference to household task completion being important to combat depression which would be similar to this side of grief. However, I do remember one day getting a buzz out of hanging my washing out (really, am I mad?) and then after realised tat it was giving me a meaningful project and (as you say) self care.
    Great post with great points on your list. SO important for all of us.. Thanks.

  7. Elizabeth, I get a buzz out of washing dishes, so why not? 🙂 It can be hard to get motivated when we’re feeling lonely and down, but it’s worth it to have a home that supports and nurtures us. I’m sending so much love to you, Nicole xoxo

  8. I really enjoy a clean house and the smell of food. Nothing beats Saturday mid-day when all my cleaning and laundry and cooking are done. Have a lovely weekend 🙂

  9. I love the quote, it made me laugh 🙂 Beautiful post. It inspired me to work on de-cluttering my room today. I’m pleased to say, progress was made. I would still greet a visitor with the Phyllis Diller quote though! 😉

  10. I’m not the biggest fan of housework, but I do LOVE a clean and tidy home. My mind will just go berserk amid clutter and mess, so that’s what keeps me motivated. Purging unneeded items gives me a lot of satisfaction.

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