How to Get into Your Own Home
Paul Pearsall

   
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."

Here are some radical suggestions for getting more super joy out of your own home:

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.
  
    

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