Housework - a productive necessity

3 May 2016
Without a doubt, our homes are the starting point many good things we'll experience. We all interpret "good things" differently. What I can't live without, you might turn away from. What you hold dear, I might find irrelevant. Even the way we use our homes is different but from that diversity comes opportunity, strength, complexity, sustainability, resilience, respect, generosity and the potential for many good things, and it all flows from home.

All the photos today where taken at my sister's home when I was there in March.

I used to be one of those people who didn't take the time to think about the significance of my home. I thought it was just a shell that held my possessions and where I slept. But as I changed the way I lived, I came to understand the importance of home and how it makes things possible. I'm not a perfectionist, in fact I think that mindset stops many things happening, but although I never aimed for perfection, what I have now in my home is exactly what I want and need to thrive.  Don't get me wrong, we don't live in a flash house in the best suburb. Our home is a 1980s brick slab in a rural town an hour's drive from our capital city. But it's quite here, we have plenty of room to grow grandchildren, chooks and food, we're surround by pine forest so the air is clean, we have family and friends close by, we have enough of everything we need, and the work we do here gives us good reason to smile when we wake every morning. We are fulfilled by our work, we are satisfied with enough, we are sustained by each other and our home.

Work is an essential part of life for all of us, even if we don't want it to be. I've never quite understood the people who've told me they don't like housework and therefore don't do it. I don't believe it. Not because I enjoy the work I do here but because of the mess and chaos that would result if you didn't do any housework. We all need to clean the floor, fridge, stove and bathrooms at some point. We all need clean clothes. We all have to eat and shop for food.  And if that is the case, doesn't it make sense to do the work that will give you the standard of life you want for yourself? Even if you hate housework, doing it is better than living in a house where no housework is done.

I think homemakers are broadly divided into two group. There are those who go out to work on a full or part-time basis and there are those who spend most of their time at home being productive, raising children, caring for loved ones or in retirement.  It doesn't matter which group you're in - if you fluff up your nest to make your home comfortable and productive, if you modify your home to support how you work there, if you use your home as a place where you relax and regroup, you'll be making the most it. Putting the time in to organise yourself and your home will provide you with a springboard from which to launch yourself, your paid workers and students every day. Everyone will be prepared for anything. It will also give the homemakers a sanctuary where children can grow, retirees can grow older and time spent fluffing the nest will be seen as a productive necessity rather than something to be endured or ignored. Rose has written an excellent series of realistic organisation threads on the forum that could help you. Day one is here.

If you feel this animosity towards housework, try to think of it as something you do to give yourself a clean, productive and beautiful place to live. Read Rose's threads too because they'll probably help you think differently about your housework. If you allow yourself to see beyond the work and experience instead what it gives you, it will be enriching every day and life changing in the long run.