Countdown to 2016, Part Two: Do Not Resolve To Clean More
I have a housekeeper, and I am not ashamed to admit it.
I used to be ashamed to admit it. People would say in the whiniest voice imaginable: “why don’t you just clean it yourself, I do!” Or: “I just couldn’t trust someone else to do my job.” And then I’d feel as though I had to justify, even to complete strangers, why we have a housekeeper.
But not anymore.
I often see people posting on Facebook and Twitter as we close in on the new year about how they’re going to resolve to get more organized in their lives and their homes. That they plan to start the new year with resolve to keep their house clean and orderly; to finally have that magazine-worthy home they’ve always dreamed of having, and by their doing.
I won’t argue that a clean house feels nice. For all of 30 seconds until someone messes something up, or another load of laundry needs to be done. And then the aches and pains of hard, back-breaking labor kick in, and it’s like: why the fuck did I just do this?
So I implore you, people of the Internet…
Countdown to 2016
Do Not Resolve To Clean More
There are a lot of reasons why resolving to clean more is just dumb.
To begin, it implies that your lifestyle is dirty or something to be ashamed of. Now I should probably take this moment to say that we aren’t talking about hoarders. Bonafide-eligible-to-be-on-the-next-season-of-A&E-Hoarders people. No, those people do need to clean more, but moreover they need to get help.
I’m talking about the people who let the dusting go once in a while; that allow the things to stay on the counter or the kitchen table for more than a day or two. Or that – like me – hire a housekeeper to do the deep-deep work.
Unless you have a number of dead, smashed cats under your piles and piles of collected garbage, I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way you live your life. Cleaning more, or getting more organized – unless something in particular bothers you – is then nothing more than another distraction from what’s important in your life.
When I was in college, I worked in a pharmacy with a guy that always justified the things he did with the question: “will I regret this when I’m on my death bed?” It was a good way to look at the world, and I caught on quickly. He used it to justify not working huge blocks of overtime so that he could instead spend that time with his kids; and I think it applies to cleaning house too.
On your deathbed, what are the things you’ll regret?
- Not traveling more;
- Not asking your lifelong love to marry you;
- Not spending enough time with your kids;
- Not reading enough books, listening to enough music, watching enough movies, or whatever your passions may be;
- The list has the potential to be endless…
Although, never – in my entire life since learning this deathbed lesson – have I asked someone what they will regret on their deathbed and heard them say “I wish I had vacuumed the floors and scrubbed the counters more.” Seriously. That would be fucking dumb.
For me, I think the childhoods of my kids are going by so quickly that to waste my time mopping floors and scrubbing bathtubs would be a great disservice to them, as well as me. What kind of a mother chooses to obsessively perfect her home while her kids don’t give a single shit about whether it’s a little dusty or some pillows are out of place?
Sure, everything within reason, and it’s a slippery slope where letting things go a little turns into a complete and utter pig sty. But if there is one trite inspirational quote that has gone viral recently that I identify with, it’s this:
So hire the damn cleaning lady, and consider how much you won’t spend in cleaning products and the price of memories well worth it. And if you genuinely cannot afford it, I offer you the song of my people:
FUCKING. LET. IT. GO.