I have never been adept at housecleaning. I think it relates to my inclination toward hoarding. Clutter feels safer; parting with things I might need – my unborn children might need, unborn children on another continent might need – is painful and frightening. Since childhood, whenever I am faced with the generic assignment to tidy a room I grow over-focused and overwhelmed; eventually spinning myself into a frenzied circular pattern of picking up and putting down, opening and closing, getting nothing done.
I have a houseguest for the week. I spent Friday morning cleaning like a mad woman (no pun intended) to create a space in my apartment hospitable for another human lifeform. A switch flipped, and with the motivation of impending company I think I did quite well – constant stream of music, positive self-talk, switching rooms every hour, eating at regular intervals. The place wasn’t perfect, but there were huge improvements and I worked around previous hang-ups to accomplish my goals.
By the time of my guest’s arrival Saturday evening, the only room not passable was the kitchen. I was okay with that; I figured my guest could occupy herself in a less hostile area long enough for me suit up and de-escalate the kitchen from defcon HAZMAT. The truly magical part is, with just the added element of another person there, I conquered dishes I’ve been avoiding for…ahem, well, let’s just say there are multiple reasons Spaz wears gloves to do the dishes. I faced them with no fear or anxiety; my attack was systematic and completely devoid of dread.
This entire experience gives me insight on how to take care of myself with regards to home maintenance in the future. Perhaps instead of waiting for that moment of bright and shiny to throw a shindig, I’ll set a date and use that as momentum. Perhaps I also could stand to be a teeeeeeny bit more transparent and ask for someone to sit and chat with me whilst I do the dishes.