You may put so much time into caring for your home. But what if a clean home doesn’t matter?
Here’s a big question for you: What if your home didn’t need to be clean?
I know. It’s easy to feel like you need to have a clean home, because … well, that’s just the “right” thing to do.
Right or wrong, I’d like you to consider that as women, it’s so easy to swing one of two ways – either obsessing over a clean home, or shrugging it off by figuring it will never be possible.
When we obsess over a clean home, it can be easy to measure our home against perfection. If our home isn’t perfectly clean all the time, it can be so easy to feel defeated.
If we try to maintain a “perfect” home, keeping up around the house ends up feeling like a weight. Since our homes never will be perfect, something always needs to be done. (Just think of your laundry. The minute you think you’re all caught up, just look at the clothes you’re wearing … it’s a reminder that laundry is never done.)
At the opposite end of the spectrum, you may feel like keeping up with housework is futile since there’s always something that needs to be done. Instead of making cleaning a priority, it’s easy to try to forget about it until your house becomes a total mess. Then, when it looks too difficult to clean, you procrastinate more. And the mess just spirals out of control.
How clean is clean?
Instead of swinging to extremes, what would it look like in your home if you objectively stepped back and asked yourself how clean is clean?
Unless you have a medical condition that requires a fairly sterile environment (and I don’t mean obsessive compulsive disorder … but if you or someone in your home needs a clean area to maintain health), your home probably doesn’t need to be as clean as you may imagine.
Of course, your own cleaning preference is unique. But you need to remind yourself that it’s simply a preference – nothing set in stone.
So, if you’re going through a particularly trying season of life and simply don’t have the time or energy or desire to keep you home as clean as you’d like, it’s OK. Step back and give yourself some grace.
And if everything seems to be going swimmingly and you can keep up with your cleaning, that’s OK, too!
Giving yourself grace
Basically, I think it’s fantastic to realize that you do need to work around your home at some point. But if you can’t work as much as you’d like, or if your home is messier than you’d prefer, exhale. It’s not the end of the world.
If a messy house stresses you out, it’s important to figure out your own plan of attack and approach to cleaning. But in the meantime, be sure to give yourself a healthy dose of grace. In most cases, you’ll be fine. While you may want your home to be cleaner, it might be a nice goal … but something that doesn’t really matter in the long run.
People before things
This spring, I came to this exact conclusion as I was in a busy season of mothering. My family had committed to several activities that kept us running. And as my nights and weekends were spent at ballparks and theaters, I realized that keeping up with my home was close to impossible.
Instead, getting enough sleep, making sure my family was fed, and loving on my husband and kids were the greater priorities.
Our home looked like we weren’t home much. Stuff piled up. I continually played catch up on laundry. I was happy if I could keep up with washing my dirty dishes.
Unfortunately, I have a funny way of feeling stressed when my home looks messy – so the stress of my messy home added to the stress of busyness. But, it was impossible to keep up with my home and our schedule.
I quickly realized other things – like family relationships – were far more important than a tidy home.
What’s really important?
Now that life has settled down, I’ve been able to get my home back to normal. But I still remember that a relatively clean home is not so important.
Living life and sharing time with others has a lot more value than choosing to stay home and maintain a spotless home.
As you find a healthy balance between loving and hating cleaning, remember to make the most of life. Try to simplify tasks around your home. (Decluttering is a great way to get rid of unnecessary belongings to clean!)
But above all, if you think about what you’ll be remembered by – or what you want to think about on your deathbed someday – really, a clean home doesn’t matter.
Where are you on the spectrum … do you love a clean home, or do you dread cleaning? What does it mean to you that a clean home doesn’t matter?
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