The Zen of Cleaning House
At this point in my life I have limited energy to devote amongst work, blog development, family, and housework. The housework usually gets short shrift. Then an acquaintance came over the other day. It was sunny, and it made every speck of dust, crumb, and cat hair seem as large as baseballs. I was appalled. my little house was dirty, even by my relaxed standards.
I rescheduled my work so that I could spend yesterday cleaning house. Made a list of what to do room by room, and started first thing in the morning. I was tired, grumpy, and achy, the weather was dreary, and all I really wanted to do was curl up and spend the day on the sofa with tea and a book.
But like someone who is trying to work up the will to lace up shoes and get out the door for an early morning run, I laced up my apron and gathered cleanser, rags, vacuum, step ladder, and a cushion for my knees. Started by dusting the ceiling, corners, and walls–they weren’t bad at all. worked my way from top to bottom. Tried to clean the ceiling fan, but my arms couldn’t quite handle the strain and put it on the honey-do list for my husband. Dusted blinds, washed where needed. Pulled furniture out from walls and corners one by one, vacuumed, washed down baseboards, and washed every square inch of the old hardwood floor.
There really wasn’t that much dirt, as it turned out, but I kept going, caught up in the satisfaction of touching and cleaning every square inch of the room and the objects in it. I worked very slowly and did nothing but the cleaning, sitting down for a few minutes to rest, sipping from a pot of tea I replenished during the day, and doing a little more uncluttering as I moved through the rooms. Eight hours of this cleaned the living room, dining room, and half the kitchen. and it is a very small house.
In the end I was tired, but not much tireder than I was before I started. I was also happier and more content. I felt the satisfaction of controlling my own schedule, of not taking the path of least resistance (lounging), and not multitasking. The day was devoted to one process, and the number of rooms cleaned was not as important as immersion in the process. My vision isn’t the keenest, and I can’t see how much cleaner something is unless I get really close to it, but I can tell it is fresher and my relationship to the space has been improved and reaffirmed.
It turned out to be a good way to be at one with one’s space.
Check out my other blog: Minimalist Cooking