Cleaning As Therapy Tea TowelThe School of Life
Cleaning might seem like drudgery at first glance, but in fact it has the potential to be calming, therapeutic, even an act of service. Following a meal, we clean up after the cook, thanking and showing appreciation for our spouse, our grandmother, or our host. They’ve thoughtfully guessed what we needed, and now we in turn strive to make their lives just a bit easier and more pleasant.
While cleaning, we might think about what else in our lives needs to be put in order. Who do we need to apologise to, and appreciate more? Or we might reflect on the painful, offensive aspects of the day, and then let them go a little. We’re scrubbing some build-up off our souls as well as our stovetop.
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This process allows new, and potentially more creative, thoughts to spring to mind. Perhaps we’ll come up with a new idea for work, or a novel we’d like to write, or where to go on holiday this year. It’s rare that we have thirty undisturbed minutes to think. Yet in a busy world, it’s the seemingly mindless tasks that – perhaps ironically – provide us with the time to mull over the strange or abstract ideas that we dismiss during busier times of the day.
Perhaps most satisfyingly, cleaning is an opportunity to construct a small utopia in our home.The world is a chaotic place: fractured, incoherent, noisy, random. So a small but central pleasure is that of bringing order, of creating – in one’s own kitchen – a realm of comfort, logic, and meaning. Tomorrow will be difficult again, but the worktop is clean and the well-loved plates are stored away for tomorrow’s rites. This is the pleasure of tidying up.