Treating your home as a hobby elevates chores out of their role as drudgery. When you look at caring for your space as a way of beautifying, and doing the dishes as hand-eye coordination exercises, and clearing out closets as philanthropy, the entire experience becomes joyful.
In the cult classic movie, The Karate Kid, Miyagi taught his student by washing cars, painting fences and other such chores to train his body and mind. Taking the same approach towards housecleaning benefits the body, mind and spirit.
As a busy work from home mom, my desire to leave the house whenever I could was a direct result of my attitude toward cleaning. I am here all day, I rationalized. Everything can wait, I need to exercise, pursue fun. The thought I could enjoy cleaning never occurred to me. After a personal crisis, my attitude slowly began to change. I looked around and my desire to create a sanctuary to surround myself became a new goal.
The idea of pursuing homemaking as a hobby was born.
Hobby is defined as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in for relaxation.” Could housekeeping even count, what’s so relaxing about scrubbing up?
Plenty. The following action steps will help transform your relationship with your home.
Like in most hobbies, there are initial preparations, ongoing learning opportunities and endless possibilities. Often cross training comes into play. As in the Karate Kid example, or when runners take up swimming to build endurance, homemaking has a few counterintuitive steps.
- Clear out excess. Be ruthless. Trash bag cleaning is often the first step. A home is easier to beautify when there are fewer objects to maintain.
- Use music to motivate. Try ‘swing cleaning’ put on dance music from another decade, or crank up your favorite songs, sing along!
- Give. Take the excess and give it to those in need. What you don’t want, or have room for, someone else needs desperately. What good are untold duplicates of items doing in your closet? When someone, most likely near by, has that item on their wish list. Release your hold on stuff.
- This brings me to the next step…volunteer; help someone less fortunate. Visit residents in a nursing home, help sort clothes in a shelter, serve meals in a soup kitchen, participate in meals on wheels, or similar program that delivers hot meals to shut ins. Spending time with people who have to make do with less is a good way to snap priorities back in place. My home is not fancy, or large, but it is mine and I can make decisions for myself and my family. I’m not young but the residents in the nursing home think I am. Gaining this perspective is priceless.
- Defrump! Don’t subscribe to the idea that you are going to get filthy cleaning your home. Cleaning products these days look and smell like they belong in a spa. The vacuums, mops and brooms are designed lighter than ever and are a snap to use. So, Take off your stained t-shirt and slip into something pretty. Make cleaning up a reason to dress up. Use a retro apron; tie your hair back with a ribbon, put on some lipstick. Why not? It’s your home, create the environment that matches your best self.
- Use what you have. Use the time you have, however short and try to relocate and reuse items, before buying new stuff to fill your space.
- On the other hand, don’t be afraid to invest in your new hobby. Pursuing any sport, or art form requires an invest time and often money. Look carefully before spending money though; a home can be a beautiful oasis with very few possessions. Find the time to invest, the payoff is worth it.
- Practice daily. Just like learning the piano, or a marital art, you need to keep up your training. Moving 27 items is a feng shui solution to energy stagnation. Feng Shui practitioners mean furniture, paintings and such, but this tip also works well when applied to clutter, the leftovers of everyday living. Take a few minutes to envision the end result, but don’t stress if the progress seems slow. Keep at it and your dream space will become reality.
- Enjoy yourself. The thing about making your hobby your home, isn’t just a mind trick to do more work. Just like people who pursue making stained glass items aren’t grumbling while soldering, and are only happy when the piece is complete. And hikers aren’t simply pushing themselves to get through it already. Smiling is allowed while taking care of the house.
Homemaking really can be an art form. It is a matter of changing perspective. Look closely, squint at the canvas and see what it needs. Claim ownership of where you live, whether it’s a tiny apartment, a house big or small, city, suburb or country. Express yourself, and let your visitors feel the love you put into every detail. Treat it as a creative hobby, not an obsession to perfection or a horrible job dumped on you.
Much like the side effects gained from excellence in sports or art work, the side effects in a beautiful home are numerous; confidence, a sense of calm and possibly new skills, if you decide to tile a floor or paint a mural. The process of cleaning raises your self awareness and can prevent stress eating coupled with all that dancing and weight problems could self destruct.
Create a masterpiece!