Why You Should See Cleaning as Self-Care

Recently, I returned home from a weekend trip and immediately unpacked what I took with me, washed a load of dirty clothes, and put everything away.  I felt settled and at home.  It was a good feeling.


A few days later, I was having a hard day.  I started cleaning.  I cleaned the refrigerator and wiped the kitchen counters.  I decluttered a few old papers from my file box.  I swept the porches and mopped the floor in the entry hall.  It felt good.


clean and pretty



Self-soothing with home care


For me, cleaning, organizing, and decluttering are a form of self-care.  I feel satisfied when things are clean and neat.  I feel like I'm managing my life and ready for what's next.


I know that these activities can feel overwhelming for some, and so we avoid them.  The feeling of not knowing where to start, or that there's just so much mess, can make you feel like a failure.  But if you can just begin in one small area, you start to feel a measure of control, and the task becomes easier.


Yes, there's always more to do.  Cleaned areas don't stay clean.  Organized spaces can get disorganized with use.  And clutter can creep in unaware.


But that's the wrong way to look at it.  Instead of feeling that homecare never ends (which is totally discouraging), try to think of it as new opportunities to fix things up and arrange them just the way you like them.  There's always more self-care available.





Adding serenity, one task at a time


As you clean, notice the difference your effort is making.  Notice how pretty the wood is on the table you just dusted.  Notice how comfortable and inviting the couch looks when the cushions are plumped and straightened.  Notice that your entire bedroom looks peaceful and welcoming when the bed is made.


As you declutter and organize, notice how everything fits so nicely.  Notice how much easier it will be to find the tools and supplies you need.  Notice the slight feeling of liberation as you get rid of things you don't need.


We can extend this self-care into other areas of our lives.  For example:

  • Today I organized paperwork so I can get started on preparing our annual tax return.  It's not a job I look forward to, but it can be a nightmare of confusing piles of paper to frantically search through, or it can be less of a chore because I pruned the useless and organized the rest.

  • I also deleted a bunch of "not so great" photos from my phone, and reorganized others into the folders I've already established (one for each grandson and so on).  They'll be easier to find and enjoy when I want them.

One item at a time, I'm taking care of my life.


Any of these tasks can be overwhelming and dreaded, or pleasant and nourishing.  It's my choice, and I choose to feel the satisfaction that comes from every sweep of my broom, every polish of my cleaning cloth, and every piece of clean clothing I hang in my closet.







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Want to know more about how minimalism can make a difference in your life?  You'll appreciate my book Exploring Minimalism, part of my Minimalist Basics series.*  

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