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Thursday, March 19, 2009

In Praise of Poor Cleaning...

I was raised by a perfectionist when it came to cleaning. My Mom could not abide things that didn't shine just so. I can recall cleaning between the patterns in the front hall floor on my knees, with a tooth brush and amonia--to get the wax build up out of the cracks. Mom was very 'into waxing'.

Gosh you know, I just don't do it that way.

I did--as a newlywed, back in the day I tried to clean like that, and having been raised that way it was what I thought had to be done. It took a few years and a few babies for me to figure out that it was probably one of the reasons Mom was always upset with us--she just couldn't get it done to her own liking.

Perfectionism I think can be a homemakers worst enemy. Sure, its ok for folks who are just naturally born to it-- but a perfect house is not the sign of a perfect home.

Our new boss at the library encouraged those of us who are a bit aghast at the disorder on our shelves since our circulation keeps increasing by reminding us that this is a sign of success.

?? Really?? This mess of books not perfectly straigt and often in the wrong place is a sign of success--well yah.. it means people are using our library!

So true.

I recall a proverb I read back when my kids were little and I was always picking up after them,

Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.~ Proverbs 14:4


That verse was very inspiring to me back then as I imagined my little crew of four little kids growing up to be strong and useful and helping me. Here they are now busy helping to build my house! Wow-- it was true. Sure-- the 'crib' as in the place where my 'oxen' were stalled, was always kind of hard to keep clean back in the day, but look how much has been done by the strength of those oxen! 70 sheets of dry wall hung last week, for instance.

So there's a thing there-- a mess in the house can be a sign of good things to come. ;)

Another principle I have learned is that 'Poor Cleaning' is far better than no cleaning.

I rarely ever scrub floors on my hands and knees anymore. No thank you! I use a mop & bucket. No, I don't always pull every single bit of furniture out when I vacuum, nor do I have a weekly schedule of chores that MUST be done at the expense of all else. I just 'do what I can' and try not to procrastinate too much and at least make sure things are 'picked up', laundry and dishes are done and meals are made each day.

That 'poor cleaning' works.

Yesterday I washed throw rugs from our bathrooms, halls and kitchen. This morning I ran a mop over the worst areas of the kitchen and also in the bathrooms and now I'll put down those rugs.

No hands and knees intensity, no wax, no tooth brush--for certain--but the job is done for now--and 'good nuf'.

I can not possibly imagine living the life I have--getting a darn thing accomplished in life--if I had not dropped my perfectionism about housework.

God bless those who can keep that up-- but for me, I just think--Poor Cleaning is Praiseworthy!

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