We all like to live in a clean house, right? I do and like most people are mortified when someone comes round and sees how ‘we really live’. Cleaning and all things housework play into our feelings of perfectionism and as Brene Brown so rightly says “When perfectionism is driving us, shame is always riding shotgun and fear is the backseat driver.” We’ve been sold this story (how our homes reflect us as people) since the beginning of time so pushing back can feel quite weird and guilt inducing. If you need more convincing see if you notice yourself doing any of these. If you do it might be time to quit the cleaning and start chilling.
You are a servant to your stuff
Your beautiful candles, ornaments and huge Buddha figures may be lovely to look at but if your gut feeling is more “I must dust that” rather than “let’s meditate” they ain’t working for you. Living the simple life is about looking at everything in your life and evaluating how it brings pleasure to you and getting rid of the unnecessaries….. Love people, not stuff. Plus, cleaning will take 10 times longer and be harder to do if there’s stuff everywhere. If you feel like this leave the cleaning for a bit and focus on decluttering. Grab a bag and throw 10 things in it, then another 10. Not only will your house be cleaner but your mind will – who knows you might even get round to meditating in front of that huge Buddha you bought.
Cleaning has become your default activity
This happens to so many people (including me) especially if you have children but to honest I’ve been doing this for years. Any time you get time off – weekends, nap times, evenings – your default activity becomes cleaning. A task like cleaning is both endless and all consuming. There will always be dirt. Perfection is enemy number one here. I’ll just do this bit…..ooh then there’s a bit that needs doing until you end up in a heap on the floor overwhelmed by the huge task of sanitising your house till it’s 99.9% free of germs and bacteria. We all like to live in a clean house – I do get it – but you will get so much more done if you set yourself a time limit of 30 minutes a day and stick to it. After that sit down and read a book or watch tv or just sit around in your pants eating peanuts. Just me.
You’re suffering in silence but scared to let go of the control
Cleaning tends to be something we tackle while others are out, at work, school or in bed. We’re taught it’s easier this way and it is to an extent. It’s definitely easier for them but it’s not easier, in the long run, for you. It teaches the world around you that you are happy to clean up after them and that it’s your responsibility. This sends a message to everyone that you’ll do it. Think of these messages – especially if you’re a woman and you are trying to break down stereotypes. You’ll never get buy in for your campaign if you don’t demonstrate how it affects everyone’s life. You’ll never get help from them. Get people involved (I know pretty impossible with toddlers) but it will pay off eventually. There will be a turning point when everyone’s helping. Let go of the controls and you will begin to see the magic unfold.