How many of your rooms are actually "living"
rooms? Do you have several rooms in your house that
are "for company and special occasions
only"? Does your family cluster in a basement
or family room and only use the "good" rooms on
holidays or for entertaining? Do you find yourself
cleaning rooms that are almost never used? Are you
paying bills for the heating and lighting of rooms that
really don't need these utilities because human beings
seldom visit these "not for living" rooms?
Are you living in and enjoying your home or has your home
become another factor in the complication index, another
whale for your Ahab complex? We now have family
rooms, dining rooms, guest rooms, living rooms, bedrooms,
even so-called "great rooms," as though certain
human behaviors can only be done in rooms with the
appropriate names. With the exception of the
bathroom and kitchen, how many of the rooms in your house
can really only serve primarily one purpose?
"I don't know why we finished off the basement,"
said one man. "It's supposed to be a recreation
room, but we never recreate down there. It's still a
basement, a below-ground stuff holder. Our ping-pong
table is a storage center, the pool table is an open-air
file cabinet, and you couldn't find the bar because
of all the toys on top. We all go out to recreate,
we go our separate ways. There's no room in the
recreation room to recreate any more."
some radical suggestions for getting more super joy out of your
1. Allow everybody into every room. Every room
should be a family room.
2. Allow all family members to sit on the furniture, even
the "good" furniture.
3. Allow people to leave their shoes on, even on the
carpet. (Remember, if every room is a family room, then
all of the family must help in the cleaning of all rooms.)
4. Eat some family dinners at the dining-room table, even
though it's no one's birthday.
5. Go ahead and "leave stuff out." There
is nothing sacred about always "putting things
away." If you find yourself in a "hide the
stuff" panic when there is an unexpected knock at the door,
you probably just have too much stuff. Maybe your visitor
could take some of your stuff when he or she leaves. Leave
your stuff out as a type of perpetual estate sale for visitors
to shop through and take some stuff off your hands.
6. Allow some eating in rooms other than the
kitchen. Getting crumbs on the couch is good for your
health (again just so long as everyone helps clean up).
7. If you don't want to make the bed, shut the bedroom
door and pretend it's made.
8. Eat on paper plates as often as possible and throw the
entire table away when you're finished.
9. Allow spoons in the fork pile in the silverware drawer.
10. Write the word "joy" in the dust on the
table sometimes. Dusting is only a process of small
particle rearrangement. Erma Bombeck said that she would
like the following line on her tombstone: "Big
deal! I'm used to dust."
The above list is just for fun, but it makes the point that if
we allow our daily living to be governed by obligatory
compliance to a set of rules of "house cleaning," we
will have little time to enjoy homemaking.