I didn’t think so. Or at least I thought people who say they do were lying. I mean, there must be a reason why it is called a “chore”.
Over the past few months I have learnt the art and magic of decluttering and tidying. I am 80% through tidying our house in KL, and I am proud to say that I really have not rebounded back to the old clutters, just as KonMari promised that you will really ever need to do it just once in your life. Here are some of my thoughts after having done it for several months.
To stay tidy and clutter-free forever, you really only need to commit to 3 things:
1. Have a home for all your belongings. Things are like humans too, treat them with respect, and don’t let them be homeless.
2. Put things back to their respective home after using. Once each and every item in your house has an identified home, it is super easy to commit to this.
3. Be thankful for your belongings and find joy in using them.
And to be honest, I do quite enjoy tidying up my house. By always putting things back and treating them with proper care and respect, I find our home so much more comfortable to live in and lovable. I also enjoy folding clothes, to the point I get a little obsessive. I must arrange them in such a way that the height, width and spacing between clothes are ideal and that our wardrobe drawers look like a fashion display. Even packing luggages for traveling has been KonMaried. (Since we pretty much live out of a suitcase.)
I must say that the tidying campaign was a huge success and an important event in my life.
However. However however however.
Now that I could tidy my house with great confidence and even with joy, I still have to deal with all the cleaning and housework. Tidying and cleaning are two different things. Tidying deals with your belongings, but cleaning deals with dirt and dust and pretty much everything unpleasant.
And most of the time house chores are all about cleaning up. On a daily basis. Multiple times a day. NEVER ENDING.
No matter how I think of it, I could not think of it as something enjoyable. Cleaning up totally doesn’t spark any joy whatsoever.
I must confess that I was one of the messiest people I know of. My mom did all the house chores and I did not even wash a single plate when I was young. I loathed house chores soooo much. You may as well ask me to go eat chicken droppings.
Many years ago when I stayed alone in my apartment, I had not cleaned my house for something like half a year. When I finally couldn’t stand the dirt and dust I called a part time cleaner to detox the house. I had to wear a mask when she swept the floor. The cleaner asked me if I could give her a mask too. She said she has never seen any house so dirty before.
When the danna (then kareshi) visited my house for the first time, he was secretly shocked that I never made my bed (what is the use?! You will need to mess up the blankets at night again!!). Now that I think of it, I respect him for continuing to date me and even eventually marry me lolol. Even I wouldn’t want to marry myself, in hindsight.
The point is, that was how much I hated cleaning. Dirt is filthy and grease is disgusting. I could not imagine why anyone in this world would want to be a cleaner unless they really have absolutely no choice (wrong. Please watch the video in this blog post).
The daily house work for me include doing the laundry, washing the dishes, dusting the house, cleaning the dining table and high chair and floor, picking up crushed Bolo all over the sofa, etc etc etc.
It felt miserable when you are tired and have a million other more important things to do… such as to properly shower yourself, pick up a crying baby or finally sit down and upload an Instagram picture haha. But I was left with no choice because I was the one who decided I didn’t want anymore hired help just so I can dump my kids to the maid while I get addicted to Candy Crush. So I just have to brace myself and deal with it, head-on, every day. Kind of in a boh-bian way.
And then I wonder if there’s any way I can make myself to actually like cleaning.
I mean, I didn’t think that I would enjoy tidying, too. But now I do. So cleaning might possibly be fun, too? And if you have to do it every day without a choice anyway, then you may as well just enjoy doing it.
And if there’s a book about tidying up, there must be a book to teach you how to clean. Or is there?
You bet. The Japanese probably have a book on how to pick your tooth.
I am still half way through this book, but it already has given me new inspirations.
This book is written by Haruko Niitsu, a cleaner who is working at Haneda Airport for over 20 years. Never expect a cleaner to publish a best-selling book did you? (Nor a blogger a Cheat One™ book hor? lolol). She was the youngest winner of the “Building Cleaning Championship” (!!! Got such thing?), and thanks to her and her cleaning team, Haneda Airport was voted the Cleanest Airport In The World for year 2013 and 2014.
Her presence was known to the mass in Japan after being featured in an NHK documentary about professional craftmen. I watched it and was very very touched. She became a cleaner because she had no other options, but grew to really love her job. Just to illustrate how insanely meticulous she is with cleaning, she uses a hand mirror to check the inside of a toilet brim for dirt T____T. The sheer dedication she has to make sure that Haneda Airport stays in its utmost spotless and hygienic condition put me to shame. As a user of Haneda Airport although I h, I have always taken the cleanliness for granted and never thought about how much effort is put into `
Niitsu San said that although up to this day cleaners are still considered a profession of low social ranking, she sees herself beyond just “cleaning”, and that “cleaning” is craftsmanship.
You can watch this video (in Japanese) if you like!
So much respect for Niitsu San. Her heart is so full of love for her job. Thanks to Niitsu san and her team, Haneda Airport is voted The Cleanest Airport in The World again in 2016!
If you ever land at Haneda Airport next time, feel free to run your fingers over the inner toilet brim lolol.
I learnt a few things from her book regarding house chores and cleaning. Firstly, most people thinks cleaning is miserable because it is a job hardly ever appreciated (true! As a grown adult, rarely do you ever receive a praise if you simply mop the floor clean or scrub a toilet on a daily basis), it is repetitive, tedious, and is never ending. It is also easy to question yourself “why is it always me who has to do the chores?” especially if you are a stay home parent.
But to her, cleaning is “kindness”. To her it is kindness for all the travellers from all over the world. Everything she does is an act of “omotenashi” for the people who utilize the airport. For us it is kindness towards our family members and guests who visit our home. You just have to think of it as an act of love towards your family, to provide a safe and comfortable living environment for your family. I guess it is true that everyone loves staying in a clean home, and the more relaxed we feel at home, the more we long to be home and the better the relationship for every one in the house. So cleaning, is indeed for the happiness of yourself, and your family as a whole.
I am inspired and in awe. I think it really can be something enjoyable if you put your heart to it. My friend Carolyn always offer to help me do the dishes because she said the round of running tap is therapeutic.
So… next #Pokemom challenge: master the art of cleaning and housekeeping.