I can’t take credit for ‘unfuck your habitat’ as a phrase, though I wish I could. There are entire sites dedicated to this fabulous phrase (and it’s much more safe-for-conservative-work “unfilth your habitat” version), which I suggest heartily, especially because of their joyful focus on seriously I can’t devote every fucking day to cleaning my house. I just wish I could.
And that is where I come in.
The unfuck your habitat group (and groupies) correctly note that there are additionally some ‘old fashioned’ notions associated with most housekeeping blogs/journals/books/videos/sites/etc. Feel free to translate ‘old fashioned’ as ‘intended for women only and usually Christian’.
Is true. Additionally, they often focus on things like how to properly take X stain out of Y fabric with Z (green! homemade! weird! unheard-of! unexpected! biased-and-sponsored!) cleaner.
I’m not going to teach you how to clean your house. I can barely do that myself, and I’ve been living on my own for twelve years (*living on your own is defined here as actually being responsible for all the cleaning. All of it). I will say that if you’re struggling, as I have, many people will tell you to go ‘see the flylady‘. I won’t. I’ll tell you to go to see the Lost Art of House Cleaning as published by Jan Dougherty. It’s a simple read and she’s refreshingly blunt.
Okay, Elizabeth, I can hear you say. What does this have to do with hearthcraft?
Good question. I’ve struggled for a long time to find a way to address my need for spirituality to be reflected in my housekeeping. I keep thinking that if I could only reframe the way I see cleaning and my house, I’d be able to find some magical synergy that would just -bam!- solve my problem with cleaning the bathtub.
I do truly believe we co-habitate with our homes. Maybe you can live in a house, but you live with a home, and I adore mine. Seeing her all grimy and cluttered, with towels slung over the banister and 3-day-old dog paw prints repatterning the floors (what, you don’t live like that too?) kind of makes me feel like I’ve failed her. Not my mom- my home. She’s been standing here, on this bit of earth, holding out weather and keeping me and a whole slew of people before me warm, and comfortable, private and safe… and I can’t even be bothered to vacuum the stairs most days, let alone energy cleanse the front hall.
It *is* a systemic habitual lifestyle issue, being messy. I get it. I need to form habits. A little bit at a time (hello, flylady, yes, I know, the sink, the sink). And I’d love to say it doesn’t stick because my cohabitating partners in crime think that sleeping under a pile of (dirty) laundry is, well, normal. And yes, that goes for the dog and the guy.
But at the heart of it, I think the real issue is I haven’t ever taken the time to seriously consider the myriad jobs my home does for me, my family, my friends, and all the strangers who are probably glad we live behind solid walls and closed doors. To that end, I stumbled over the “Front Doors are for Warding” blog post of the fabulous pagan blogger Thalassa. Yes, blog-o-sphere, the post is old (2013! Elizabeth, where have you been!?). Nevertheless, the framework she presents is just exactly that little kick I needed to start thinking about how to address my relationship with my home. And once I’ve got that all sorted away in my brain, a system to integrate spiritual support into everyday housekeeping chores? Yep. That’ll come.