I have been thinking to write about this subject for quite a long. Namely housekeeping and appreciating (material) things you have. I am a realist and I don´t want to go back in time, there were lots of hardships and especially women had more norms to follow than nowadays.
Yet something we can learn that suits for modern environmentally conscious lifestyle.
Every week I struggle with cleaning and washing dishes that are normal everyday tasks. If I am being honest it is not about time, I have lots of time to take care of my home. I also have all the modern equipment that makes cleaning effective and quick. And I do enjoy when my home is clean and I can bring in fresh flowers and bake something nice for the weekend. Then what makes these tasks so boring and dull?
One of my best inspirational guides for cleaning is a housekeeping magazine from the 1950´s. If we pass the fact that mostly in that magazine there are women doing the cleaning tasks, we can find a good guidelines for a better housekeeping philosophy for both women and men. 1950´s housework was considered important and responsible. The one who took care of the home was responsible for all those material things that the family had accomplished (and of course the immaterial things like the atmosphere and well-being of the family members). Is it so nowadays? Do I feel myself important and meaningful when I vacuum floors of sort laundry? Maybe not.
From the housekeeping magazine I have found lots of new ways to make the life cycle of furniture, textiles, clothes etc. a lot longer. I actually wonder if we have lost the capability to think that the things we purchase are for a lifetime? Everything is so temporary. If we buy new furniture, not to mention smaller things, do we think it as an investment that will last for the whole life or something till the next season? Maybe we will be happy with the same sofa for 10 years, but 50? Taking care of the things you are going to watch after decades inspires you to take better care of them.
Some might think this very old fashioned but it is a current problem that we have to learn to live with less new material if we want to have a planet that has something to do with the Earth that we now know. And yet the value of things has vanished. Most of us have enough money to buy constantly new in a manner that it is normal to waste perfectly good stuff. We are no longer proud if we have bought our furniture or kitchenware years ago and it is still good as new.
The fault is not completely ours. Not all products are high quality. Even if you are willing to pay more it does not lead to getting better products. But how much do we care if the things we purchase do not last as long as we expected or do we even expect them to last long? Sometimes I feel a bit unrealistic when I assume that I am buying for a lifetime. But it is important that we as customers want products that last and that we say it out loud. Then after that it is our duty to take care of our purchases. After a certain style has gone off fashion there are many ways to revamp or then you can give it to goodwill.
Here are some tips for sustainable housekeeping philosophy:
1. Your home reflects your own personal style. You can pick the trends that you feel inspired by. Don´t feel pressure to change just because someone tells you to.
2. Appreciate your housework. You are cleaning and mending things because you want them to last beautiful for years to come. Your home is not temporary.
3. If something gets spoiled or broken find out if there is still something you can do. When you buy a new one predict what could happen and protect it from possible harm. For example if you have mistakenly washed a cardigan in a hot temperature don´t make the same mistake twice but look for the instructions (your´s truly has made the mistake and learned from it :).
4. Be organized. Most of the time my home looks quite neat because I have a of habit keeping things organized. Pile your newspapers and magazines, put shoes in a row and clothes to the rack, carry your dishes to the sink and use baskets or boxes for all loose projects that are hanging around.
5. Put old things to the goodwill or sell them if you no longer want to keep them. Also if you want something new try secondhand shops, flea markets, antique shops, ask from friends and don´t forget all those DIY sites that tell you how to revamp the things you already have. Making yourself is also a good pastime that lets you to be creative.
6. Spend time in your home and enjoy all the things you have accomplished.
What are your thoughts about this?
What kind of housekeeping philosophy do you follow?