Housework Routine Posts - It's a Wrap, or the Why of Housekeeping

Well, what a week. Do our houses sparkle or what? I have had a ball writing about house work. It has really made me think harder about what I do, to see if I can tweak bits to make them more efficient. It has also made me rethink the roles we play within the family. Are we all doing a fair share? Why am I doing all this cleaning? Is it all really necessary? What am I trying to achieve with housekeeping anyway?

I don't think I am doing it just to have a clean house. I am doing it to create a space, our home, that has its own unique flavour. The rhythms and habits of each household will differ, but whether you live alone, or with ten other people, the flow of daily life, the spaces you create, form a structure that gives meaning to the everyday lives of the people who live there. Security and stability flow out of routine, and space for creativity in minds that aren't anxious about how the details of daily life are going to be achieved.

And those little details of daily life aren't insignificant. They are what makes up the background of living. How you sleep and eat, and whether you can relax in a pleasant environment after work - these things have a significant impact on your quality of life. And stay-at-home parents and little children - the home is their whole life, and it needs to be a place where they can thrive and learn and grow.

The reason I prefer the term 'housekeeping' to 'housework', is that it is not just about mopping the floors, but about everything you do that makes home a good and significant place to be. Housekeeping gives meaning to daily living. Raising children and growing food, caring for animals, creating beautiful things, even beautiful bowls of oranges, or salads that make you want to eat well - that is such a significant way to spend a large part of life. Or you could spend an equally large part of life running around hunting for your keys in the mess. Less satisfying, on the whole.

There was a lovely line in Lucinda's decluttering post today : 'How can I honour things that are worthy, that have significant memories, if they are surrounded by rubbish?' We have too much clutter, which masks what is beautiful and precious, and mars the spaces that we need in our houses to do what we really want to do.

So this is why I do what I do - to create spaces and structures to help grow my family, and to honour what is precious, both 'things' and relationships.

It's more than housework.

What do you think?

Again, if you ever post your thoughts about how or why you do housekeeping at your place, let me know in the comments, and I'll link to it. It would be lovely to see how other people go about making house into home.

Images today from my brother and sister-in-law's serene and beautiful home. Housekeepers extraordinaire.


Anonymous said…
I've enjoyed your week's worth of housekeeping. I find it so soothing - seeing others do it. And I love the hoots of your sparkly house and your brother's gorgeous house.

I'm still sorting the trash from the treasure. I give myself another year! Then when I have surfaces, darling, surfaces, I may find a routine I can keep to.
Anonymous said…
I don't know what tricks my iPad played on me, but I wrote photos, not hoots.

But I do like the sound of that word and am sure Miranda would too. Hooooots. (Oh, I watch too much TV. No wonder I have no time to clean.)
Jo said…
You are such a hoot, Lucinda! Good luck with your giant decluttering project.
Barb. said…
Looking forward to reading more and hopefully picking up some much needed motivation in getting this place sorted.

Linda said…
I too have loved your week of inspiring posts. Never thought I would become hooked on posts about housework! I prefer your term "housekeeping" by the way as it elevates this daily chore to a more important level. And it is important for the mental as well as physical well-being of the family. So, now I must turn your virtual inspiration into REAL results. Will keep you posted.
Jo said…
Hi Barb and Linda, so glad you enjoyed the posts, and all the very best with sorting those problem spots.
I would love to hear how you get on. Me, I am moving furniture around this week, and cleaning out cupboards to put to new uses. It is scary what is hiding in the backs of my cupboards!
GretchenJoanna said…
I like your summing-up here, too. Your housekeeping posts have shown that doing all the many chores of running a household well can be a really satisfying and creative expression of who you are.

One aspect of that person is the love you have for your family, so that you want everyone (and yourself included) to be nurtured by home, and for the environment not to confuse and add stress, but to facilitate harmony and the ability of each one to think and be at peace, and be able to go on from being tidy to: [insert long list of world-changing and satisfying possibilities here].

Probably I just repeated what you said better. :-) Thank you!
Jo said…
No, you said it better!
I would love to think I am facilitating harmony, but some days it's not that apparent..
what a beautiful wrap up. it's true - the difference between the words 'housekeeping" and 'housework" are significant. care vs drudgery.
sadly my plans to start an after-work routine this week failed, due to having to schedule appts after work. i don't feel like vacuuming at 8pm. woe! however, i did write out my schedule, so that is a start...

Jo said…
When you have fine-tuned it e, post it and let me know. I would love to see how other housekeepers roll..
Jules said…
I'm so thrilled to have discovered you! I'm mum to two girls, aged 3 and 5, and constantly feel like we're drowning in clutter and desperately finding a way to tackle it. You have inspired me to start tomorrow. In fact just now, I got back out of bed, went downstairs and decluttered and wiped down all the kitchen surfaces and table (and swept the floor) - even filled the kettle ready for my morning cuppa, and I'm already feeling optimistic about starting the day tomorrow. Thank you!
Jo said…
Jules, just found your comment - my dear husband has been rearranging my laptop, and I am behind by a few days.
I am so glad you've been inspired, and I do hope you find something here to help. I vividly remember my own days with a 3 and 5yo, and I sympathise, I truly do!
Let me know how you go with things - it will be a real challenge with two little ones. I wish you all the best, and do come back and give an update.
Whisper - today my house looks like a bomb went off. It is covered with shredded paper, and I'm having one of those weeks when I'm out all the time. And when I'm out the children cook and do craft. Aaaargh! But tomorrow - tomorrow is another day!

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