Sometimes, I just want to stay home and iron my slacks. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, right? It is when you consider using it as an excuse to skip an event. From grocery shopping to organizing my storage unit to mending my shirts, housekeeping is becoming one of my subtle acts of rebellion.
Housekeeping as Self-care
Have you ever sat in a clean hotel room and wished it was your home? That’s the feeling that I want to cultivate in my own space. A space that is decluttered, clean, and comfortable is attractive to me.
I take great pleasure in a tidy space. It is my island of peace apart from the world. Also, I believing in caring for my possessions — a responsibility that comes with bringing items into a home. While I don’t make my bed everyday — and sometimes cups sit in the sink, I maintain a certain level of order that helps me be peaceful and productive.
The preferred level of cleanliness and clutter is different for everyone, and maintaining those levels is an essential part of self-care. Apartment Therapy often talks about how every chore you do is a gift to your future self. It’s that feeling when you sit in a clean, orderly space and feel the peace of a homey environment. I’ve found this is something I really need to make it through the work week. The stress of life requires a safe, peaceful space. It’s something I’m preparing for when I keep house. It has become a weekly ritual of self-care.
Housekeeping as a Social Slight
As we all know, we live in a busy society. Among our obligations, like work, family, friends, and volunteering, we have a lot of optional events pressing on our time. No matter the source of the social event, there is a certain pressure to offer a good excuse when opting out of an invitation. When I do admit that I am skipping an event for a chore, the reactions is disbelief. It’s disbelief that my task is urgent or important. It’s disbelief that I’m actually admitting housekeeping as a reason.
Sometimes, people tell me it’s ridiculous. Sometimes people express concern, and arm-chair diagnose me with obsessive compulsive disorder. Mostly, people ask why I can’t put it off, do it later, find another time. I suppose it’s because they think it’s unimportant or unreal. However, it’s important and necessary.
When you start sacrificing your own ability to function, just to please others, you’re sacrificing quality of life. When I got my first place, I would let people pressure me against keeping house. Because some people will control your time and energy if you let them. As I said above, the level of cleanliness and order you require to function is a personal choice and worthy of respect.
Housekeeping as Rebellion
The truth is, the world is busy and our commitments will expand to fill whatever time we allow. I’ve realized that #adulting makes me saner. I cannot get through a week of work without groceries and clean clothes. I cannot get through a month shirking all of my cleaning and organizing duties. I cannot go for years without maintaining my household.
Then things get a little radical and rebellious. Typically, busy people outsource these duties of cleaning, cooking, and home care. They hire “help.” They order takeout or go to restaurants regularly. They use services like dry cleaners, car washes, and grocery delivery. I am asking us all to question this default attitude.
Are we doing it because we want to or because we think we must?
In fact, I prefer taking care of my own life, and doing many things for myself. I don’t want to pay for “help” and services that I can do. I make furniture and art because I am reshaping the way I consume goods.
Now, I suppose this change in consumption is becoming part of my philosophy for services. I am so impressed whenever I see a friend learn new skill that replaces a service. Economists may cringe at the wider implications but, I think taking care of our own homes from food to cleaning to organizing is good for our minds, our bodies, and our budgets.
Do you ever skip events to take care of your home?