“To be happy at home
is the result of all ambition.”
(Extract from Housework Blues – A Survival Guide)
Throughout this book, I’ve tried to convince you of the many valid and compelling reasons to tackle your housework – how taking care of your home can benefit your relationships, your health, your career, your finances, your self-esteem, your time, your peace of mind, your goals, your sanity, your well-being, your families, your soul, your ego and your happiness.
Though it was probably your negative feelings towards your home that drew you to this book in the first place, it’s my hope that, already, you’re beginning to view your home in a new, more positive light. But in case you have any lingering frustrations or resentments in the maintenance of your abode, it may help to reflect on just how much your home means to you.
Perhaps the most over-worked cliché says it best – it’s where our heart is. It’s the place we can call our own. It’s where we go to retreat from a frenzied or frightening world. Home is the place we can freely reveal who we truly are. It’s a reflection of our personalities, an expression of our souls.
Home is where we raise our families and nurture our relationships. It’s where we invite our friends and loved ones to share in our celebrations and achievements. It’s the backdrop for so many of our memories. It’s a place to rest, relax, feel comforted and safe. When we’re world-weary or weather-beaten, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of coming home.
This place, however so humble, has an unique role in our lives and an unparalleled place in our hearts. Home is far more than just a roof over our heads. Its role goes way beyond mere protection from the elements. It affects how we feel and how we think about ourselves. It has the potential to hold a powerful, even magical influence over our whole life – even when we’re not there.
Our home is not just significant in our success and happiness – it’s vital. In her beautiful book Space Matters, Kathleen Cox endorses what she calls our sublimely critical space. ‘Home should celebrate who we are and what we love. Home ought to serve us well, make us feel good and protect the core of our essence – our soul.’
Recognising the incredible role our home plays in our lives highlights just how much is at stake in the care – or neglect – of where we live. When we reconnect to the value of our home, when we realise the extent of its effect on our lives, we naturally become more respectful and appreciative of our little corner of the world. When we stop seeing the home purely as a place of chores and maintenance, there’s a chance to treasure it as the wonderful sanctuary it’s meant to be.
In this light, the upkeep of a home is less oppressive. It becomes a labour of love. There is undoubtedly work involved in having a home, but in the same way that children and families involve a degree of work – the payoff makes it all worthwhile. Home offers us much in return. We reap rich dividends for our labours. Our efforts are always rewarded, one way or another.
Admittedly, there are times when the upkeep seems endless, futile, repetitive, monotonous and mundane. But remember there is real value in this work. Though it may be unpaid, unacknowledged, even unnoticed, the gains of taking care of your home are priceless. The returns are your quality of life.
One of the biggest frustrations of the domestic realm is that, in doing housework, we’re missing out on something else, something better or more important. But isn’t it true that we will miss out on far more by neglecting our homes? If we don’t take care of it, how well will it take care of us?
I leave you with this challenge. Go now and rediscover your home. Reflect on exactly what it means to you and the crucial role it plays in your life. See if, deep down, you love where you live. And if you find that you don’t – could you learn to?
Put the heart back in hearth. Put some love back in your home.
Dorothy was right: there is no place like it.
• • •
“… worth a million how-to-clean books,
can’t recommend it more highly.”
~ Amazon review for Housework Blues.