Thursday, August 05, 2010

Of Rituals

A young friend of mine at Facebook wrote something like:

"I hate housework! Hate it. Hate it. Hate it."

Uh-oh. Housework is a Fact of Life. Well, unless you're wealthy enough to hire help for all of it or if you have an amazing spouse who does your cleaning for you. But for most of us, hey, it's there. The floor that gets dirty, the dishes in the sink, the laundry, the vacuuming, the beds which need to be made, the cooking, the--

That's a whole lot of stuff to hate. Besides, hating anything (or anyone) zaps energy which could be put into work or creativity, instead.

So what to do?

Teach yourself to enjoy housework. And come up with some lovely rituals.

I put dishes into soak, light a candle, turn on the radio. Then I might feed the birds, sit down inside or on the patio and then read a few pages of a good book. Then I wash a few dishes, put some others in to soak (I store dirty dishes in the dishwasher whose handle is currently broken, not that I used it that often before), do some dusting, then return to my book. Or check my email or blog. Then I might put in a load of laundry, finish the dishes and sit and watch a few minutes of Oprah. Make dinner during the commercials. Or bring in tomatoes from the garden, peek at the new growth or pull a handful of weeds.

I try to mow the lawn in the early morning while it's cool. I water my plants on Mondays and Thursdays and have special days for vacuuming, too. And always there are my books and the computer and the tv and times for staring out the window as my rewards for completing my tasks. Coffee and toast and lunch breaks, too. So many rewards to anticipate.

What's there to hate about housework done that way? I'll tell you what I hate-- I hate it when I look at housework like a necessary evil and leave it all until it becomes a cluttered, grimy, out-of-control mess. I hate it when I must then attack that mess while kicking myself for not keeping it under control sooner.

So much of our lives involves cleaning and organizing our homes. Why not enjoy that time? Why not seek ways to make it go faster, easier (realizing the less we own, the less time we must spend caring for our stuff)? Attitude, attitude, attitude.... Most anything in Life can be made distasteful. Most anything can be made enjoyable.


Want to read a fun autobiography? I'm just now finishing Patsy Clairmont's delightful, I Grew Up Little. Highly recommended.


To the kind soul who left a nice comment which is not showing up at my last post, please forgive me. It was early, 4:45, and I accidentally hit delete instead of publish. Gah! That's what I get for approving comments all bleary-eyed in the morning.


Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Yes, yes! Baby steps is the only way I manage at all. Baby steps while listening to books on tape........Haven't thought of candles yet!

Kim said...

I am more tidy than clean :-)
The mail gets sorted first thing...wait, second after feeding the cats (they will have it no other way), as soon as I come home, into bills, shredding and recycling. No piles on the table!

My friend Pam, who owned a cleaning service, puts extra bags in the bottom of the garbage (there's always a new one handy) and does one room at a time.
Then there's always at least one room completely clean at any one time. I copy her; seems less overwhelming.

Deborah Raney said...

I make my bed before I get in the shower every morning. It's so nice to emerge from the bathroom and see that my bedroom is already tidy! I like to make games out of household tasks, too, Debra. It really does turn them into enjoyable tasks. And the reward is a day spent in a tidy house.

2 Moms of a Feather...Stick Together said...

Very good post...
We will sing a happy tune...
while we tidy our house today.
The reward system even works for grownups.
Take care,
Mommy 2

Laura said...

In our new place, the kitchen sink is stained and gross looking and I've tried to just take it, assuming it was well cleaned before we moved in and I've taken a scrub brush to it a time or two with the same "stain" results. Then, the other day, I was cleaning the bathroom with some bleach and I thought to pour some in the kitchen sink just in case. IMMEDIATELY, those "stains" disappeared - it was fascinating. I was so happy about it that I almost posted it on FB and realized that I would get loads of hate comments about my loving any sort of housework. Or people hating themselves for not being as clean as me or patting me on the back for my clean freak nature. Ugh. Up next on my to-read list: When People are Big and God is Small

Rebecca said...

I love the dish washing routine. It actually is mine -- except for the candles and music. I just need to add that part. For some reason, it is just hard for me to stay at the sink until everything is done!

Donetta said...

you know you have a beautiful soul girl

Blue-eyed Blonde said...

I have a love/hate relationship with housework. There are so many more interesting and enjoyable things to do. But I agree with you, attitude is everything. It's nice to have a flexible routine. Thanks for sharing.

Mary said...

I once read that doing housework should be considered "Blessing my home". So every day instead of cleaning, I bless my has made all the difference. Isn't it amazing how thoughts control feelings.