In my household, we have cleaning tasks that rotate every one to two weeks. It’s great to have a rotation system not only because it keeps things fair in a share house but because different sets of eyes and talents will pick up and contribute to the task differently.
Take into consideration our different heights, varying degrees of attention to detail, and natural inclination or dislike of a task (sometimes I can’t believe my housemate loves to vacuum – I despise it!) and you’ve got a recipe for a pretty orderly and clean house where every time someone does a task their input either supports or tops someone else’s efforts.
Recently we had a house party, not our first, probably not our last either, and yes, the morning after is often a shock to the system (especially if you’re feeling a little worse for wear), but we’ve found that cleaning up isn’t so bad. We don’t find it so horrible because we enjoy that the party inspires a deep clean of our home, the furniture is moved around so we are accessing areas that don’t usually get so much attention and the place gets an overall boost of freshness.
I was reflecting on the benefits of this process the other day after a client lamented to me that she was stuck caring for the house completely alone. In a house of five with an able-bodied partner and three teens, one, I didn’t think it was at all fair, and two, I thought it was a wasted opportunity for bonding – not only with each other but with the house itself.
When you’re cleaning and repairing a space after use, it’s a time to reflect on all that that space has done for you and to acknowledge that ‘yes, I use this and yes, I benefit from this’. To disconnect from housework completely is to cut yourself off from free mindful moments that refresh and soothe your soul. These moments help to support the space and the purpose of why humans love the concept of home so much.
Strategising with my client, we prepared her for a family meeting. In the meeting, she would explain to her family what it means to her to have a clean and clutter-free house and ask for their thoughts in return, she would then inform them that the household tasks, set out clearly on a roster, would begin that weekend. To assist with the transition we found YouTube videos that clearly illustrated the tasks so that her family members would be able to learn how to do the tasks correctly. Of course, she was also available for running them through it if they preferred and we coached her into a headspace of feeling compassionate and ‘teacherly’ rather than exasperated and fed up.
I’ve heard from my client that the meeting went well, overall, and although there have been a few hiccups over the past few weeks, the new process is starting to gain traction. My client is happier, less stressed and the house is having the input and care of all family members. I’m thrilled for my client and for their house, because, to quote Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul, “housework should be given the dignity it deserves”.
If you or your family as a whole need help getting in touch with the needs of your home. Please get in touch and let’s have a chat.