Einar has posted about my Great October House Cleaning Blitz, asking if it's fun and reminding me not to worry about what's left undone. So to speak to the points he's raising, please allow me to share why I'm doing this blitz.
First, in my opinion there is a great art to creating a place of serenity. I believe our environment not only reflects our overall wellbeing, but either contributes to it or detracts from it. Think about your own physical reaction to being in a posh, lovely hotel. The sense of relaxation, the opening of your own creative spirit, the feeling that everything is achievable and nothing is impossible. You've got the world on a string!
Contrast that with your physical reaction to being in a house of squalor -- unwashed dishes strewn about, rotting food, garbage everywhere, clothes piled on the floor, bags and bags of clutter mounted on what little furniture may be present. Compound that with the problems of untended animals to make the image really vivid ...
I personally would choose the calm, serene environment.
There are several people who have created empires based on the art of home keeping: Martha Stewart, Alexandra Stoddard, everyone affiliated with HGTV, countless other interior designers and decorators. It's something I've long had an interest in.
What are the roots of my interest? Well, quite simply it comes from having survived a physical environment which was not nuturing in any way. While I was growing up, my family always lived in rent houses on "the wrong side of the tracks." Of course I didn't know it at the time. To me, it was just home.
My bedroom was 8 feet by 9 feet, with two doors (one facing the water heater and back door, the other going into my parents' room) and four windows. I had no closet. My entire wardrobe (which consisted solely of hand-me-downs from cousins and family friends) hung on an ironing caddy in one corner. I had one drawer allotted to me in my parents' dresser in their bedroom, for underwear, socks and pajamas.
The furniture in my room consisted of a twin bed, a bookcase and desk. Needless to say, storage was something I knew nothing about. There was no place or system for organizing or putting things away.
Today, I aspire to better than that. I may never have a mansion with all the storage anyone's heart could desire. I have an old house (c. 1951) with inadequate closets, but at least I HAVE closets now. I have places to put my clothes. I have bookcases for my books.
So is my October Blitz fun? Not in a giddy, laugh-out-loud sort of way, not. But it is JOYFUL. There is enormous satisfaction in it. There is quiet contentment in cleaning a night stand and placing my collection of perfume bottles on it where they will catch the light streaming through the window.
There is a sense of abundance when I do my laundry -- load-after-load-after-load. I have far more than I need, and now I can see what I have and what I can share with others.
When I get to my dining room, I will smile with the memories of meals shared, laughter and games that have taken place there. Yes, that my friends, is fun.
In the living room, I'll fluff the pillows on the couch, dust the piano and think of Christmas time when we've gathered to sing carols.
The guest room will remind me of visits from my favorite aunt and the fun outings we've had during those visits.
And the den -- once it is reclaimed, I'll have my cave to hibernate in this winter. Two walls are floor-to-ceiling windows, so sunlight streams in and I can wallow on the couch and watch the birds and squirrels play.
Yeah, it's fun. It really, really is.