Posts Tagged ‘cleaning’

Do you have a household task that you are grateful for?

Those are the words on today’s 30-days of gratitude chart. I have a very easy answer.


I hate to clean.

I’ve listened to my friends talk about the stress relief of cleaning their homes top to bottom, the relaxation they receive from dusting knick knacks, vacuuming miles of carpet, scrubbing toilets, or taking a toothbrush to their shower grout. Not me.

The only stress relief I receive from cleaning is when I don’t have to do it. Which never happens so yes…I have a lot of anxiety…mostly about household tasks.

I grew up with a mother who wasn’t too concerned about keeping an immaculate house. If she told us to clean the house, we asked, “who’s coming over?” because that was really the only timCleaning_and_Babies_poeme we worried about it. Now don’t get me wrong – we didn’t live in a hovel.  The house wasn’t an episode from Hoarders (until recently, and that’s a whole other blog). My mom’s mantra was “you’ll always have a house to clean, so spend time with your kids while you have them.” Great philosophy.  I guess I inherited that gene.
I still adhere to the philosophy I bought into when I had young children: “If you want to see my house, call ahead. If you want to see me, come on over.”

I clean as much as necessary. I vacuum, dust, sweep and mop floors, scrub the tub and toilet, and occasionally, declutter my closets. But I don’t enjoy it. Ever.

If I had one household task that I had to say I was grateful for – it would be washing dishes…by hand. We’ve never had an automatic dishwasher so I’ve washed a lot of plates and glasses in the last 30 years. I started using this time to think about stuff. Nothing like a sink full of dirty dishes to get the creative juices flowing. (insert laughter). But truthfully, since no one wanted to do the dishes, I was never bothered with “Mom, can I…? or “Mom, would you…? Made for a perfect quiet time.

I came to appreciate the blessing of running water when Cedar Rapids flooded in 2008, therefore I don’t complain that I HAVE to wash dishes. I GET to wash dishes. I have clean water to drink, wash dishes, make tea, boil potatoes, whatever. So I guess I am grateful for the household task of washing dishes…though it is near the bottom of my list of things I’d like to be doing on a sunny afternoon.

Read Full Post »


Now that all the kids are gone, it’s seems like a good time to let go of some stuff. We moved our oldest to his own apartment on Saturday and I wasn’t back home 20 minutes before I had re-arranged the living room and brought a single bed up to his former bedroom. It’s not that I was anxious to see him go (see Saturday’s blog post), but I couldn’t just leave the outline of his double bed in the carpet. Since he’d packed up all his stuff, it was inspiring me to pack up and get rid of a little of my stuff…years’ worth, actually.

My mom passed away 3 years ago and though she suffered a stroke 2 1/2 years prior, she wouldn’t let us declutter her house. She often told me, “Leave my stuff alone. You can do that when I’m gone.” Well – we’re still dealing with her houseful of stuff – mostly items she bought or collected long after her 5 kids were grown and gone. I’ve had to deal with some major resentment issues over her leaving this monumental task to us (mostly my sister, my hero). Sometimes I just want a large box of matches – it would save so much time and energy.

The lesson I’ve learned is GET RID OF YOUR OWN JUNK! Yes – I was shouting. Use every day to get something out of your house…either thrown away, given away or sold…but gone! gone! gone!

It doesn’t have to be a large, unwieldy project. Go through one bag or box each day ~ a shelf in a closet ~ your medicine cabinet ~ your kitchen junk drawer (yes – everyone has one). How about your closet filled with puzzles or games? Donate them to a children’s home or school. Clothes you haven’t worn since the 80s? Pitch them…please. If you need ideas, there are tons of suggestions online.

Spring cleaning is more than washing windows – it’s an opportunity to get the physical, mental and emotional clutter out of your house (and head). And it’s so wonderfully freeing. So many of us are held hostage by our stuff – let it go! Give it up!

Last night I dumped about 5 years’ worth of old Christmas cards. I opened each one, noted the name of the sender, reminisced about that friend or family member and then pitched the card. Long over due but it felt great when I was finished. Tonight? Maybe my bookcase in the living room or the top of my bedroom dresser. In my house, I have no lack of places to tackle. I have accumulated a lot through the years and it’s time…time to de-nest the empty nest.

Read Full Post »