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.