Housecleaning is an opportunity for physical exercise or to move our bodies. In turn, physical exercise is beneficial for intracellular housecleaning. It’s a win-win scenario that’s too good to pass up. I hope this encourages you to start or continue cleaning your Home and find joy in the unpleasant.
Note: Throughout this article, I will be using the word Home to mean the house you live in and the body that houses YOU. Keep in mind that moderate house work may not be an intense enough form of physical exercise and should not be relied upon as the only source of physical activity if you wish to expend significant calories.
Sufficient studies have demonstrated that mess causes stress, anxiety, and discomfort. Moreover, getting organized unquestionably has psycho-emotional and physical value. Let’s assume that it is a weekend where the majority of us don’t have jobs we must tend to. Next, let us begin with the mindset that cleaning your house is an active process that requires conscious effort. For instance upon waking up, I make my bed. This to me signifies that I have control over my body no matter how exhausted I may feel. It’s a good way to start the day because you’re creating order and you’re aligning positive energy flow to that order. I mention starting with your bed because that’s where you begin and end your day.
The next phase is to de-clutter your Home. Like your body, your house also accumulates junk. In the body: broken or misshapen proteins, shreds of cellular membranes, invasive viruses or bacteria, and worn-out, broken-down cellular components, like aged mitochondria, the tiny organelles within cells that produce energy, form a kind of trash heap inside the cell (Reynolds, 2012). In your house: I’ll leave that up to you but you get the idea. By de-cluttering your Home, I don’t mean buying organizers and bins to create space for your junk, I mean gathering that junk and throwing it away or recycling it. De-cluttering your Home not only reveals the beauty of the space you choose to live in but also signifies the courage to face non-physical dirt that we often avoid.
As you de-clutter and clean, it’s important to try to find intention in your actions. There is a lesson to be learned in everything we do. Here, I usually practice mindfulness and gratitude. Be thankful that you have plates and utensils to eat off of; be thankful that you have indoor plumbing; be thankful for the people in your life that you sometimes have to clean up after. These are usually things we take for granted. We can re-center our energy to this awareness when we’re cleaning.
Furthermore, there are benefits in the repetitive motion of cleaning, not only is it a mindful activity that enhances creativity but it also creates a flow: the state of being so completely absorbed in an activity that nothing else seems to matter (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). A flow generally creates positive emotions and better performance. Soon you begin to realize that whether it’s sweeping the floor, scrubbing dirt, or washing dishes there is a pattern involved and you’ve stopped thinking about the next task. You’ve also de-cluttered your mind. You’re fully present in the process; you’re probably enjoying it even if it was an unpleasant experience in the past. What am I saying? Cleaning can be meditative, creative, and healthy.
Which brings me to the conclusion of this post. A clean home is a happy home. Look back at the beauty you’ve uncovered and realize that you’re likely to be more productive, comfortable, and proud to enter your sanctuary. You’re relieved of stress and you’ve released endorphins; you should feel good! In the process you’ve also burned some calories and increased the amount of autophagy within your cells. Put simply, autophagy is your body’s intracellular housecleaning system, one of its key responsibility is waste clearance (Reynolds, 2012). Believe it or not, housecleaning is healthy and is happening even at the cellular level.
Over time you’ll find that even the most unpleasant of chores can become pleasant, again, if you choose for it to be. SO WHAT WILL IT BE? A broom or another episode of hoarders?