In these turbulent times, there’s one thing I do daily that keeps me on track and gives comfort. I turn to it, whether in the mood or not. And almost always, I feel better after. It’s an odd thing to find solace in. Some of you will think I’m crazy. Some of you will understand. Here it is…
Yes, you read that right. Housework. I recently heard a poem by writer Elizabeth Gilbert called “Small Things, Nicely Done.” It tells how completing small tasks throughout the day – making the bed, wiping off the kitchen counter, and straightening up some messy throw pillows – helps us feel better.
And isn’t that what housekeeping is all about? Small things, nicely done. In fact, for me, cleaning gives three big gifts…
A Feeling of Control – Like everyone in our world, I feel there are too many problems – big problems – that I can’t solve. I have no sway, say, or influence over anything in the larger realm. But there is one place I do have definite (if not, dictatorial) control — my home. Every day I can choose how my abode looks – messy or neat, full of clutter or everything in its place, even what’s playing on Alexa while I put the dishes away. I take pride in this one little patch of planet Earth that’s mine.
A Feeling of Beauty – I had more tolerance for messiness when I was young. But as I came into adulthood,I began to seek a beautiful environment. As I grow older, I need it even more. I love coming into a clean kitchen each morning. I need to turn down a well-made bed each night and have fresh flowers in a vase. I like empty wastebaskets and clean bathrooms and dusted furniture. I know smart, easy-going people who roll their eyes at this — I’m married to one — and I get it. But we are who we are.
A Feeling of Completion – The good (and bad part) of housekeeping is that it never stops. That kitchen floor needs sweeping…again. The laundry requires endless folding. Dinner must be made. And some days (especially when I had young children and never sat down), I thought of it as an endless burden. But now I have more home time, thanks to the Pandemic. I see more clearly how these little moments give comfort.
Maybe in the end, all of life is an endless series of “small things, nicely done.” Even the big, scary events – going to the doctor, a long plane ride, meeting a big group of new people – is about breaking things down into bitesize pieces and doing our best.
I know some will think I’m crazy for turning to housework for comfort and strength. But some of you will get it.
There’s something soothing in making things nice.
Do you need a clean house? Comments are always welcome and if you’d like, please share.
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