A radical lens swap on cleaning
Insourcing as a means of joy and resistance
I’ve been cleaning. I’ve been cleaning a lot. And at the same time, I’ve been strengthening mental clarity, productivity, connection to my home, and physical movement.
I’ve been cleaning and listening to podcasts and audiobooks.
I think I must like cleaning, at least a little, or else I wouldn’t do it quite so much. Would I?
I’ve discussed cleaning with multiple friends, and some of us are confused.
Do we actually like cleaning, or do we like being in a clean space?
More accurately, could we actually like cleaning?
Is cleaning something one could like?
The shadow side of feminism told me I should hate cleaning, lest it hold me back from other “more important” things. Capitalism told me I should outsource it to a specialist, but only if I pay them less than I can earn in the same time.
The problem is, after moving during covid and never starting up a cleaning service again (which I did have previously), I have found cleaning my own home to be… sort of nice?
Satisfying. Peaceful. Meditative, even.
Not only that, I do not miss managing the cleaning process at arm’s length.
Have you ever had to find and vet a service provider; communicate about when and how they should clean and with what products; plan your day around being home during the cleaning (or not) depending on preference and sound and trust level; monitor performance and give polite feedback (hm, did this floor get done? can we refocus in this area?); not to mention tidying thoroughly beforehand or risk finding the barbies in the train bin?
Home hygiene is an odyssey.
Some folks might disagree with me on this, but they have probably never done it.
I think the process of keeping a home organized and clean and functional and well-nurtured is more sophisticated than the dominant culture would have us believe.
I think that for many people, insourcing it can be a point of empowerment, a point of joy, and a point of resistance.
Of course, that may not be you, dear reader. You may actually hate cleaning, or choose to spend your time doing different things, and that makes perfect sense.
Let’s be honest, this message is not only about cleaning. It’s also about relearning how to think and feel for ourselves in a world that actively funnels us into these monochromatic, sterile ideals; where other people dictate our ambitions, determine our value, and, if we’re lucky, sweep our cobwebs.
For some of us, this is about reclaiming softness in our relationship to home. And also, it’s about recognizing the tension that comes when our values and choices diverge from those accepted by the sleepy collective.
This is not only about cleaning. It’s about surrendering to your own heart. It’s about recognizing yourself and putting yourself in the leading role on the stage of your life.
And if there’s a duster in your hand up there, you can still sparkle.
In fact, when you allow yourself to exist in your authentic splendor, you’ll be ten times as sparkly as you are now.
It will be as if you’d done the polishing yourself.
PS! Thank you so much for reading along! If this resonates, I would love to know. Please comment and share your thoughts and experience. More words soon 🙏