I bet you often do not think of cleaning house as a spiritual event. Sometimes I don’t either. More and more I do and here’s why.
Three years ago we decided we wanted to downsize. We were tired of vacuuming spaces no one walked on because the hallway was bigger than it needed to be, the bedroom was larger than we really used, and we preferred to hangout together in the upstairs living room, so the downstairs one often sat empty. We were tired of worrying about a yard bigger than we could keep and gardens that brought joy but could be condensed. So we decided to take on the challenge of creating a space that fit our family of 5 (3 growing teenagers and 2 labs) and allowed us to downsize into a space we used. As a result we found the joy that comes with cultivating the space you are in.
Every corner, nook, and cranny were considered so we could fit into the space comfortably. We got rid of extra bedsheets, towels, and clothing so what we have – we use. We created storage systems to maximize space to store all of our gear and got rid of what we no longer use. We are an active family in the growing stage of life. Every 6 months someone outgrows a pair of boots, a bike, a set of skis. We can now see and timely rotate it out. This house was a labor of love. Lots of light and functional flow created a home we love to care for.
Even if you can’t build a new house or remodel your existing structure, cultivate a space you love. Curate every item. Only buy what you want to clean and maintain. Trinkets and decor become dusty. It takes energy to keep them. Pay attention to what you really like. Purge the rest. Decide what it means to have things. What kind of things bring you great joy – cheap and easy often replaced or selective items you keep forever because they were made to last? It doesn’t matter as long as they bring you joy and you want to care for them.
As you purge what you do not use, do not need, and do not want to spend energy cleaning you end up with a home you love to clean. Each item you dust, vacuum around, and wipe down becomes something you take pride in. It feels good to take care of it. It feels good to pick it up, remember why you own it, and remember where it came from.
Cleaning becomes spiritual. The care you give to the space that reflects you and your personality brings you closer to yourself. Closer to things that have made your life worth living as you enjoy the pieces you’ve curated, and closer to the connections that bind us all. Maybe you remember the person who made the item you bought or delivered it. Maybe you remember the unique place you bought it or the people you were with.
As you methodically move through your space dusting, tidying, and cleaning you begin to enjoy it as a journey through special moments in your life. As this experience unfolds gratitude follows … and before you know it you are feeling the flow of something larger than yourself all while you toil away at the mundane task of cleaning house. The spiritual side of housekeeping.