Springing forth from cleaning

Inspired by Kathleen and a friend's impending visit, I finished the sewing projects and did a major apartment cleaning. Once upon a time this intense episode of housekeeping would have occurred twice a week. Now I'm doing good if it happens twice a year! And I mean doing good in a very positive sense,

I have the amazing inability to see clutter and grime. It didn't come from kryptonite or a freak chemical accident. I had to go through perfectionist cult deprogramming and then work for years with Jedi masters of selective vision.

The Eightfold Path of Anxiety-Free Housekeeping:

  • "It will never be seen from a galloping horse." I received this insight in a twelve-step program long ago, and it opened new doors of perception. If you grew up in a perfectionist family, you learned that every decision was critical, and every flaw was magnified. The realization that everybody is too insecure about their own appearance to notice yours, especially at the speed we are travelling is very freeing.
  • Creativity is a messy gift that should be celebrated with gratitude. Creativity happens over time, and often requires tools left out. Inspiration may come from the juxtaposition of unrelated items.
  • Accumulating artistic materials is not really hoarding. It's the warehouse for the gift of creativity even when you don't know at the moment the reason for saving the items.
  • Adults should not disrupt kids' constructive play without darn good reasons. Kids need to build large, complex arrangements, often using seemingly unconnected items. They are learning to create and solve problems. They are creating stages for role-playing. They are learning social and cooperative skills by collaborating with playmates. Your living room is not a messy disaster. It is the embryonic infrastructure of the future. The play does not need to be packed up and shelved everyday at five p.m. Get over it.
  • Dust is for writing reminders to yourself. It saves paper.
  • Squalor is unacceptable. Apathy in unhealthy. Empty the cat litter box.
  • Repetitive mindless tasks can be relaxing. I am particularly fond of therapeutic steam ironing.
  • Cleaning products are mostly unnecessary except to the companies who sell them.

© 2013-2015 Nancy L. Ruder


seana graham said...

I actually came from a non perfectionistic upbringing and so agree with everything you say. I think I might err a bit too much toward the side of squalor, though. Luckily, at least in this instance, I don't have cats.

I do hate not being able to find things, though. Upside is that there are sometimes unexpected discoveries, usually pleasant ones, though not always.

Kathleen said...

I like the balance here.

Collagemama said...

It's only squalor if you can smell it! Organization is in a whole different category of zen!

seana graham said...

Ah. Does mildew count?

Collagemama said...

Mildew causes allergies and asthma, so it is in the squalor/cat litter category.

seana graham said...

That's too bad. I should say that it is actually a problem of the house, not of my housekeeping, although anything else could probably be attributed to the latter.

Collagemama said...

Oh, I'm so sorry! The first two houses we owned had significant water problems. Just remembering makes me sneeze!

seana graham said...

Oh, it's a lot better since some work was done, but it's still evident when the house has been closed up for a few days.