Why Do I Keep My House Clean? My Top 5 Reasons




Really the title sounds like a rhetorical question a mom might ask, doesn't it?

Over the spring and summer I fell out of the habit of deep cleaning, zones for deeper concentrated cleaning, and most routines.  The house held on with a few, oh so few, routines and manic cleaning whenever the family was gone away for a few hours.  But I think, looking back, that it was the fact that I had worked to keep the house clean prior to their moving in that really helped us stay atop the housework for five months with two toddlers in the house.



I was thinking about housekeeping in general the other day as I was working away in my zone area and feeling quite accomplished. 

 1.  Satisfaction.  There's a satisfaction in doing work well that doesn't come by any other means.  I didn't understand this in my youth.  My whole goal was to avoid doing any more housework, especially once I had a home of my own because I'd been keeping Mama's house to some extent since age 7.   I've found in these last 28 years that I appreciate the deeper sense of satisfaction I feel when I look around me and see the work is done and I know it was my effort that achieved it.  No, it's not lasting, especially if you have a whole family living at home, but it holds well if you stay atop the routine things.

2.  Peace.  Clean and uncluttered areas and surfaces are soothing to mind and soul.  I believe it's one reason why I'm often told that my home is so peaceful.  I'm no minimalist.  I have my books and I like pretty things about me, but I edit carefully and clean the things I have on display.  I try to have just enough that your mind can take in a few details and rests.

3. Organization.  A place for everything and everything in it's place.  This too is a peace giver.  I've spent many a day tearing apart my home looking for an item that would have been easily found if I'd just taken the time to assign it a place and put it back there.   I'm not anal about organizing but I do know where most items are and about where a few others are likely to have landed.

4. Time to Relax.  If things are done routinely there is free time in nearly every day.  I can devote that spare time to writing, reading, napping, sitting on the porch, visiting, working on a project, etc.    It's strange but true that doing housework actually gives me freedom to do other things.

5.  It saves me money.   Knowing where my things are and putting them prevents my going out to buy something needed that is 'lost'.  In my lifetime we've 'lost' important papers, clothes, scissors, tools, etc.  Keeping atop my housework and putting things away properly means we seldom lost anything.


105 comments:

Karen in WI said...

Terri, I have meant to get into doing your quarterly zone work that you described in a few years ago. After my daily work, it seems that I am putting out fires (have to organize my closet and spice cupboard because I can’t find a thing, or winter is settling in and the windows aren’t washed!). I guess it’s a matter of actually writing down the tasks on my calendar. There is nothing like a clean, organized house!

Debby in Kansas, USA said...

I couldn't agree more! And when you talk about how your deep cleaning prepared you for you extended family visit, I know exactly what you mean. I felt the same way after my appendix ruptured some years ago. Coming home after 12 days in the hospital to chaos would've sent me over the edge. While there was dusting and vacuuming to be done, the overall state of the house was tidy and organized. And when my husband or a friend did anything, it was easy because it was so straight-forward. Nothing required moving, digging, etc. Dust, vacuum, clean the bathrooms. 30-60 minutes and all was well again.

Great list, Terri!

Lana said...

We do pretty well here at keeping things clean but after my husband came home full time the clutter just drives me nuts and because of his brain injury he just does not see everything he sits down where ever he happens to be at the moment. If I ask him to clean it all up he just looks at me with a bank look on his face because he honestly just does not know what I mean. Right now we are trying to get the clutter under control for our appraisal but after that it will return. I'd rather have him here with me than a clutter free house so I am trying hard to live with it.

Mable Hastings said...

I came from a house where we had to leave visible vacuum lines that led out of the carpeted room in a specific pattern. We sat on plastic covered couches, when we were allowed in that room, which was usually only at Christmas and Easter. The plates were taken away from us before we finished eating so that they could be loaded into the sink of washing water. After school chores took literally hours and homework waited until after we scoured the bathroom floor on our hands and knees and did various other deep cleanings. Saturdays were an all day cleaning affair. As a result, I hate housework and all it signifies. When I married, I told my then-fiancé that he could do the housework if he wanted to or we could hire a housekeeper, but except for my half of the responsibility for keeping the house up, I did not intend to do anything beyond the minimal. And since both of us worked, I certainly expected him to do half of all cleaning. It was a deal breaker, as far as I was concerned. He agreed and for 35 years has kept to the bargain. We clean everything once a week and pick up after stuff in between, but that is it. I just don't care. I admire your attitude, though. (And as I said another time when I posted, as soon as I could I severed contact with my toxic parents. I was lucky to get wonderful in-laws, who also took in my little sister and treated her like family; I wept when each of them died.)

Anonymous said...

It is hard to describe to someone who don't feel it but I too feel such satisfaction and joy keeping my home up. If my surrounds are not comforting I am not comfortable. No minimalist either. Our house has to feel like us. No one may know that I only had time that day to clean out one drawer good but I do. Having time to do a big project or part of the house or yard only adds to the feelings. Yes things never stay clean but then our home is always revolving in one way or the other. Clean to untidy or dirty. Summer looks spring awakenings to fall then winter. As we change out our store of seasonal pretties for another season we clean again. And again and again..but who is counting! LOL No wonder no one wants to leave their own home when they get older and need help. Our homes are such a part of us. Such a comfort to our souls. An extension of us for sure. Sarah

Becky Gepford said...

I also feel so much more peaceful when things are clean. It makes such a big difference to me.

I've been faced with a challenge this past 2 years, since we downsized so much. We now have 1/3 the house we used to have, and no more property. The good news is that it is quick to clean, and picking up clutter for 15 minutes makes a huge difference. The bad news is it is quick to get messy--and the daily mail alone is enough to make it look cluttered. We also brought too much stuff from our old place, so are slowly weeding out more. To our defense, we got rid of much before we moved, but had no idea what house we would get so put what we thought we might need in storage, then moved it here when we found this house. My husband has been working on the boxes and bins that were stacked in the shop when we moved for the past 2 winters, slowly sorting and purging. Things such as animal feeders, etc. have been disposed of, along with many other items. He really wants the shop to be a shop, and there is more and more woodworking that is being done out there as he makes space for it.

Since I finished the garden/canning/food preservation, I have been tackling small areas and really cleaning them up. Although there are many more to go, I've gotten quite a few places looking much better. It's incredible how much dust and actual dirt there is after summer, as well, so clearly I'm cleaning that as well. I love how much calmer I feel when I look around and there are not piles of stuff staring me in the face. I also love it when I can find things easily. Too much stuff confuses my mind. I just can't keep track of it all, so forget a lot of it. I still have a stash of crafting/quilting/sewing items that needs to be dealt with. I will likely try to finish up some things this winter, and if I just can't....then, out some of it needs to go!

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