Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cleaning House

I don't think that I'm a "neat freak" by any stretch - I wear old shirts and play in the dirt.  But I draw deep satisfaction from cleaning, which is what we've been doing today.

I don't mean sweeping and laundry and dishes - that's standard operating procedure for day to day existence with cats and clothes and food. Today we woke up, made coffee, and emptied the fridge, scrubbed the walls, organized desk drawers full of receipts and random paperwork. I broke out some old paint cans and touched up the walls. And everywhere we went we found things to throw away.

For me, cleaning means filling a trash can.

Let me be clear - I like my possessions. Period. If I possess it, I like it. If I don't like it, I don't want it around. So if we haven't eaten that homemade preserves in a year, or if I haven't needed the warranty info for the cell phone, or if that paint brush just is not savable - trash can.

With less clutter, I feel more free to enjoy the possessions I do have, like this rock or that book or these clothes. Simplifying my life reduces ambient stress triggers, which gives me a little more energy to do things I like, like connecting with people and writing.

But I know that cleaning house is a choice.

I've met some really cool people lately, including a few travelers (or gutter punks) who have made the choice to forgo living in a house for this very reason. No, I'm serious, these folks have the money to live somewhere, they have enough work, and they mostly had families they could turn to, anyway. But they want to travel, meet new people, have rad experiences, and you can't do that if you are worried about year-old mason jars in the back of the fridge.

Removing objects from their lives made them feel free enough to remove more objects, and eventually remove habits, homes, and hometowns. And power to them - I frequently feel that urge.

But I like my house, and I like my life, and I like our possessions. The cost of those is cleaning, so I like my full trashcan.

No comments:

Post a Comment