The Philosophy of Cleaning

We’re into that magical time of year when the holidays are in the rear-view mirror and summer fun is far away on the horizon, leaving us with this wonderful window of time to purge! Which brings me to the topic at hand: the Philosophy of Cleaning.

What is the point of cleaning, after all? The house just gets dirty again. Clutter somehow reshuffles and ends up back where it started in the middle of the kitchen counter or on the floor in the entry hall. It’s all just a thankless, endless job that takes up a lot of time.

Or is it? I’ve regularly maintained that cleaning is a means to an end. It’s the result, not the action, that’s meaningful. “Cleaning” is a verb, “clean” is an adjective, and the sparking, clutter-free surfaces are the prize.

But there is something about the act of cleaning that’s cathartic. Particularly the act of purging unnecessary objects from the space around you. It’s liberating in and of itself.

Through the act of ridding oneself of the weight of possessions, enlightenment can be attainted. Ok, maybe that’s a little bit over the top. But it’s a fundamental flaw of our society that we place far too much value on possessions. And not nearly enough value on actions.

Think about it. We as individual citizens shirk responsibility for our own actions increasingly as the state takes measures to protect ourselves from ourselves. Hard to say which came first, our inability to reason out how to cross a street on our own or the cities’ putting up signals and putting down crosswalks and making laws so that people who are busy texting while crossing the street don’t get run over.

As our actions becoming increasingly legislated and streamlined, they continue to lose importance. It’s a downward spiral. We feel the void this leaves without understanding what it is. And so we try to fill it with stuff.

The cycle goes on and on, until we have filled our homes with lots and lots of stuff that we don’t really need. It weighs us down, makes us feel heavy and even depressed. Have you ever looked around your space and wondered where to even begin? That’s the feeling I am talking about.

So here we are, with this wonderful window of opportunity: the time to purge these possessions that we don’t need. This is the time to make our action meaningful to ourselves and as baby steps toward regaining the ability to act in the wider arena of society.

Purging, or decluttering, begins in a small circle and widens as your accomplishments in that small area motivate you to continue. It can take an hour or three months, depending on your situation.

The purpose of this particular post isn’t to explain how to declutter or reorganize your closets, I’ve done many others on the subject. This is intended to inspire.

The Philosophy of Cleaning is learned through taking action to transform your space, gain control, and make a meaningful difference in your own life. Next stop: changing the world!

Want more organizing and house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my author page. My books include De-Clutter and Organize Your Home in 7 Simple StepsClean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, and How to Become a Cleaning Pro: the Ultimate Guide to Starting and Operating Your Own House Cleaning Service.

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