Keeping House

Cleanest house EVAR! (who needs a fridge anyway?)

Cleanest house EVAR! (Who needs a fridge anyway?)

So, today’s post is about housekeeping and yesterday’s post featured an image of my kitchen as a mess.

The irony is not lost on me.

The timing is coincidental, however. I happened across a link to an article about how women apparently have a higher standard of cleanliness than men. This is a topic that has been in the back of my mind for quite a long time, but I’ve never known quite how to address it. In many ways the stereotype seems to be true- at least for my household: if the house gets cleaned it is because I cleaned it. Partly this is because I work from home and can do a little tidying up during the day and partly this is because the mess just doesn’t bother my husband the way it bothers me.

The article hypothesizes that we women want a clean house because it is a reflection of our characters and people will judge us according to how well it is maintained. “Virtues” I believe was the word the author used, which bothers me a little bit because it implies that feminine housekeeping has some kind of moral undertone to it. I don’t believe that a mess has moral value  but it does have meaning. I clean like the dickens before company is due to arrive; I’m not worried that my guests will think badly of me; I just don’t want them getting all up in my business.

And my mess is my business.

I consider my home to be an extension of myself. An unmade bed is a bad mood. A heap of laundry is laziness. A cluttered studio is procrastination, stagnation, stress or distraction. Dirty dishes are impatience. Dirty floors are a disrupted routine. For every house-keeping task there is a corresponding mental process going on in my head.

I don’t need perfection; I can let dirty dishes slide or laundry pile up without feeling guilty or un-virtuous, but I do reach the state that I call Critical Mess (as in critical mass- when an object cannot get any bigger without destabilizing, not as in the mess is criticizing me) and I simply can’t function until the house (and by extension my mind) is clean again. For myself it is less important that I get the dishes done than it is that I address my own impatience. Putting laundry in the hamper is a small victory over my own laziness.

I clean house to clear my mind.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on February 21, 2013.

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