By Caitlin Kelly
OK, you think, she’s lost her marbles — for good this time.
How can anyone enjoy housework?
Here are 10 reasons I enjoy cleaning our home:
- Jose — my husband, a photo editor and photographer — and I are now both full-time freelance. That means spending a lot more time, together, in a one-bedroom apartment. It’s not only our home, but on many days also our shared work space. If it’s not tidy, clean and organized, we’re toast. Where’s that check? Where’s my invoice? Have you seen my notes?! Not an option.
Housework also offers me a quick, physically-active break from the computer.
Because I lose no time to commuting, I don’t resent spending 20 minutes a day making sure our home is in good order.
People who spend hours just getting to and from work every day — and/or caring for/ferrying multiple children to multiple activities — have much less time available to do anything, let alone clean the bathtub.
2. We live in a small apartment.
There’s no extra wing — or bedroom or bathroom or unfilled closet (I wish!) in which to stash all the junk. If it’s out, we see it. So we spend a lot of time putting stuff away.
3. Jose does all the laundry.
Every bit of it, every single time. I loathe doing laundry, (machines in our apartment building basement), and am grateful he actually enjoys doing it. Plus he gets to hear all the building gossip.
And I (yes) really enjoy ironing.
4. I spent my childhood in institutional settings — alternating between boarding school and summer camp, ages 8 through 16.
That meant sharing space with two to four other girls, stuck with ugly, uncomfortable iron beds at school and plain wooden bunks at camp. School offered basic cotton coverlets and faded paper wallpaper.
Always someone else’s tastes and rules.
I’m so fortunate now to own our home, one in which we’ve invested care, sweat and two major renovations.
In world where so many people are homeless — the indigent, refugees living in tents for years — to have a home that is clean, safe, private and ours?
I treasure it.
5. In boarding school we were graded daily — with a sheet of paper taped to the bedroom entrance — on our neatness. I always got terrible marks which meant I had to stay in at weekends and/or (yes, really) memorize Bible verses as punishment. I can think of fewer more effective ways to make someone hate being tidy.
Today it’s wholly my choice, freely made.
6. We own lovely things, many of them old.
It’s my joy and pleasure to take good care of them for whoever gets them next time around. We have no kids, so who knows…A friend? An auction house?
Whether the 18th century oak dining table or valuable original signed photographs, it’s a privilege to own them. Why not take good care of them?
7. I don’t consider it housework but home care.
There’s a very real difference for me.
8. We have no pets or children and we’re both pretty tidy.
Without mud, dander, fur and jammy hand-prints appearing every day everywhere, caring for a small apartment just isn’t a big deal — two to three hours’ work does the whole place.
It’s not a huge house filled with stuff and/or being endlessly re-shuffled and messed by others, some them breathtakingly oblivious to how much time and work it takes to keep a home looking its best.
I’m amazed, (and appalled), by people whose children and husbands or male partners (typically) just don’t do their fair share of laundry and cleaning up.
It’s a huge burden on women who already have plenty on our plates as it is.
9. My parents’ homes were/are poorly cared for.
They had plenty of money and each owned some very nice things, so, in my view, had no excuse for neglecting these gifts. I hated seeing dust everywhere and finding a fridge either empty of any food or full of rotting vegetables.
10. Our home nurtures us deeply.
As highly visual people, we’ve chosen every element of it carefully — from wall colors to cust0m-made lined curtains, antique rugs and original photographs, silver and silver-plate cutlery, linen and cotton napkins.
We’ve created a home that demands some real attention: dusting, polishing, shining, washing — but that also rewards us handsomely with beauty, warmth, comfort and a place to recharge.
We also love to entertain, often holding long, lazy Sunday lunches for our friends or welcoming young journalists to crash on our sofa.
Keeping the place guest-ready means we’re happy to host without panicking.