I enjoy cleaning our home. Resetting, reducing clutter, a clean floor. When I recently lost my job and a month later my dad, I began intentionally doing a lot of cleaning for therapy. I’ve also been helping others keep their own homes clean. It’s been a healthy way to ease through change by helping others find balance in their own personal spaces
Benjamin Disraeli, an 18th Century British statesman said, “cleanliness and order are not matters of instinct; they are matters of education, and like most great things, you must cultivate a taste for them.” That’s how I feel about myself – I’ve cultivated a taste for cleanliness and order. Growing up, I’d help my mom clean our home. She’d vacuum and I’d dust. We enjoyed doing dishes together – she liked to wash, I’d dry and put away. Saturdays after baseball practice were good for cleaning my parent’s car. I especially liked cleaning the interior. Making the chrome shine was best and working on their car gave me an excuse to use my dad’s shop vac. It took my mind off things that were bothering me.
Keeping my home and possessions clean and organized has always helped me feel better about myself. So I’ve recommended it, often awkwardly, to friends or business associates. In business, when I first had a staff reporting to me, I wanted them to keep their office spaces tidy. My approach to them usually included “you take a shower and dress nicely every day, then spend the day in a dusty, messy office space. I don’t get it?”
I once said to a co-worker who was driving us to lunch “…there’s no reason your car should not be immaculate.” I figured since he was single with no kids he had time to keep his car clean. He reminds me of that moment even years later.
I’d remind them they didn’t own the office space they were in and we are obligated to maintain it well.
Yeah, I didn’t like that part of me a whole lot then either. (Sigh…)I would have done that part of leading differently. Here’s why:
My experiences over the years have given me perspective on how our individuality and personal brand mean we all have a different level of want or need for cleanliness and organization. My clients who want me to clean their homes have this in common: they are wonderful, hard-working people. Yet they all have different preferences about the level of cleanliness and organization in their homes. They each have a different story that leads to why they need me. And I appreciate each one.
Surrounding myself with smart, influential people has helped me recognize we all have different levels of order and cleanliness. What’s your level of order? If you haven’t thought about it, I’m hoping the next couple of paragraphs will change your life.
There is a famous quote, often attributed to Albert Einstein, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” Whether he said it or not is not an issue, for me, it’s jumping from “cluttered” to “empty.” As if there are only two ways to have a workspace. And “empty” means no one works there so that word doesn’t work for me. I want balance. I want you to have a balance. And we all have an opinion of what cluttered means.
We all have a preference for how we keep our workspace, home, vehicle, other areas. I no longer chastise people for what my personal standard is for “clutter” compared to theirs. My only question to you is, are you in control of your environment? If not, do you want to to be? I promise you’ll feel better about yourself when you are.
It is important to be aware of your environment. For workspace, it’s about efficiency. For home life and personal places, it’s about comfort, peace, and entertainment. Do you like yourself the way you keep your environment? I feel good about myself and my personal and working spaces. That’s why I want you to. I enjoy the benefits of being aware and in control of my environment and I want you to also. It feels good.
I also recognize we all have a different definition for “control.” So I no longer judge. I am only curious about your level of control. Does it have to do with how much you love yourself? Does it have to do with anxiety? Is it about a sense of pride? I just want you to be surrounded by a space that makes you your best and where you feel best about yourself. And there are lots of ways to be more in control of your environment. My challenge is for you to consider the level of control you have in order to be the best, most efficient and effective you.
Next, I’m going to the garage to vacuum Wendy’s car. And I feel better about myself already.