If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

~ Tenzin Gyatso - 14th Dalai Lama ~

Diagnosing House Disorder

November 14th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 33 secs

Happy with your house?

How happy are you about the state of your house? It is tidy and clean, with everything in its place? Or, does it feel like the onerous equivalent of a millstone around your neck?

It’s not easy being clean. There are lots of steps to do it, working out from your body right throughout your life. Your things, his things, their things, everything! We are surrounded with so much stuff. a house today is the modern day equivalent of a Turkish bazaar.

So I think it’s fair to say, the odds are against us already. Whether it be an apartment, flat, unit, townhouse, henhouse, or house in the suburbs, the situation remains the same. We have too much stuff! Even minimalists get saddled with things they lack the cupboard space to stow. All in all, it’s like a slow dry version of drowning. Inexorably, you can feel yourself going under.

Partly that’s why it’s so hard to keep your house the way you want it to be. Living creates mess, which in theory, shouldn’t be too hard to deal with. But then there’s that day job distraction, isn’t there? Plus social events, domestic dealings, and… well, you know what I mean.

We can’t all be Mrs Beeton, whose Nineteenth century recipes started with the sage tip to “First, kill your calf.” Life is incredibly busy and we like our leisure too much to spend all Saturday morning polishing fire grates. Somehow, for our house to feel comfortable and cosy, we need to find compromise.

Never mind that so many of us have lost the art of good housekeeping. Now life presses in with expectations from all sides. Keeping house is merely one of dozens of duties we expect to do because life has become a lot more complicated.

So how do we work around the messy house guilt complex? You could pretend it doesn’t bother you. But you will always know it does. Alternatively, you could sell your eldest and bring in a cleaner. Wonderful, but never as good as the way you’d do it. Or, you could simplify, and come to some kind of compromise arrangement. Whichever way, the happy family, super busy, perfect mother delusion is not an option. Meaning, don’t even go there. Not even in your imagination.

Somehow, expectations have got to change. Any magazine image dreams about keeping house obviously need tweaking. So, let me suggest a few tongue in cheek tips to help:

  1. 1. Write a list of everything that needs being done in your home. Then tear the paper up, throw it in the air, and appeal to the fairies. You never know. If you’ve been really good they might do it all by the morning.
  2. 2. Delegate everything to your kids. Then, once they stopped laughing at your bad taste recommendations, tell them, “No, really, I mean it.”
  3. 3. Save on that next pair of glasses so as to test the theory that what you don’t see won’t offend you.
  4. 4. Cover your soft furnishings in plastic. Then, once a week hose down the house throughout. But do remember to turn the power off first.
  5. 5. If there’s zero appeal in all of the above, then do this: go out… a lot.

Bottom line: You are what makes your home important, nothing else. A house, no matter how grand or humble, is nothing more than a shell without you and the life and love you put into it. So, yield a bit and laugh off the rest. One day, when you have time, you’ll be able to clean up every bit of the mess.


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