Last week Cathy posted a blog on housework and this really struck a chord with me.
Several chords really.
The first is that I rate myself pretty low on the scale of "clean and tidy". There is dust on the windowsill – and smears on the glass beyond it. I have heaps of paper and magazines, and a pile of clothes on the floor ready to take to the charity shop. My kitchen floor could do with being swept and mopped and there are usually spiderwebs if you look up. I have random clutter on most surfaces. Oh dear, my house is not what I would call "clean and tidy."
But – there's another thing. A couple of months ago I was exhibiting at an event, with a table right next to the fire service. They had a series of photographs showing the fire service "Clutter Scale", as it relates to a fire risk. You can find a similar image here (you will need to scroll down the page to see it): http://bit.ly/2JXfvrP. I realised that my clutter scale tops out at around 2 out of 9: it is perfectly normal. I judge myself (unrealistically) by full page spreads in House Beautiful or by TV stage sets. Maybe you do too. Normality is where and how normal people live. A certain amount of dirt and clutter is – yes - normal.
I thought about some dear friends of mine. They throw the most amazing parties where you will always meet interesting people. But their home is very far from "show perfect." My husband loves going to them as he says they make him feel tidy. I admire them immensely for their joyful acceptance that people love them and do not care that there is a pile of shoes in the hall or that the kitchen table is covered with stuff. I envy them for their freedom from fear.
The chord that struck most loudly however, was something I read about a woman who has made a career out of teaching people how to clean their homes and keep them tidy. She calls herself "The Flylady". The thing I love most about her is that she teaches self-acceptance first. It's okay to be where you are, and you can only take one baby step at a time. She works with baby steps and fifteen-minute tasks.
Saturday's task was to spend just a few minutes in the hall, sorting out the shoes (I put all the winter boots away: we won't need those until October) and clearing the hall table of the broken pens, leaflets and oddments that collect there. Just having an ordered shoe rack and clear table made me feel much better. And it took ten minutes.
Today's task is to clear just one shelf in a food cupboard. Just one. I can do that in fifteen minutes and feel great.
You can do a lot in fifteen minutes. But set your timer! Then stop.
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