In an earlier post, I said that you don't have to read the book The House that Cleans Itself to find this blog useful. Well, now I'm about to make good on that promise. It's time to introduce you to the theory behind creating a house that cleans itself then lead you through the steps to make that happen in your home. It'll take a number of posts to lay all of this out, so please come back as often as you can!
It is my opinion that housekeeping is primarily a talent, much like singing or dancing or drawing. Don't believe me? Think about the people you know whose houses are always neat, whose possessions are always organized. The truth is, they have a gift, the gift of cleanliness. Like a singer with an amazing voice, following their talent comes easily to them. They may need to learn and develop and grow, but the tendency toward neatness was inborn, and they will always find it very natural to use that gift. Just like those amazing folks bopping around on So You Think You Can Dance, they make something that's incredibly difficult look quite easy.
Then there's the rest of us. Like tone deaf singers trying to sing solos, we just don't have what it takes. But while singing and dancing and drawing are optional as we go through life, housekeeping is not. Thus, whether we possess any talent for it or not, we still have to do it!
Unfortunately, this housekeeping ineptitude tends to run in families, so not only do we start with no natural ability, we are also never taught how by someone who does it well, nor do we see these skills consistently modeled in our homes.
To make matters worse, most books about housekeeping are written by people who are naturally gifted at housekeeping. They tell us over and over how to change our behaviors, but the problem is that we are never really going to change—at least not permanently. What they want to teach us (how to do things their way) is never going to work for us! Our brains are different. Our behaviors are different. We have no natural talent for it.
I finally realized this several years ago, when I was doing research for my Smart Chick Mystery series, which is about a young woman who writes a helpful hints column. I read so many books about cleaning and organizing, but most of those books made me confused, then irritated, then downright fed up, rolling my eyes in disgust. When it comes to keeping a home clean, so much advice has been repeated so many times that we all take it as gospel. In truth, there's a lot of bad advice out there, advice that might work for someone naturally neat but will never work for the rest of us.
So what are we to do? Isn't bad advice better than no advice at all? No way! Putting away all of those books and their illogical, unworkable solutions to the cleaning problems in my house was the first step toward finally getting my house clean. I knew I had to find a new approach, one that worked with my natural inclinations, not against them.
I am naturally inclined to clutter.
I am naturally inclined to procrastinate.
I am naturally inclined to avoid purging unneeded items.
I am naturally inclined to ignore mess and grime until "cleaning day".
I am naturally inclined to let things go until I am utterly overwhelmed.
Sound familiar? Is this you, too? Then embrace those inclinations! They may not be pretty, but they're a part of who you are, and God designed you just the way you are. Once you can admit the truth about yourself, then you can begin to approach the housekeeping problems in your home with regard to those inclinations and learn to work around them, not against them.
So here's the bottom line: A house that cleans itself is a house that is set up so logically (logically for the way your brain works, not some "expert's" brain) and so efficiently (efficiently for the way your family lives and functions, not some ideal, naturally neat dream family) that it practically cleans itself.
Interested? Then check back soon! There's much more to come.