Order in the House – 4 Steps to More Serene Surroundings
“Getting our homes in order and endowing our children with a respect for, and appreciation of, order is one of the most precious gifts we can give them and ourselves.”
– Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance; A Daybook of Comfort and Joy
How are things looking around the old homestead these days? Everything in its place? No mess? No clothes on the floor? No dirty dishes in the living room? No papers strewn about the dining room table? Filing all caught up? Excellent. Read no further.
If, however, your home could use a little love in the organizational department, then I thought you might appreciate some sage advice from one of my favourite authors, Sarah Ban Breathach, in her outstanding book, Simple Abundance; A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.
“In order to jump start the bringing of order into your home,” Ban Breathnach advises, “here are 4 old-fashioned rules that can change the quality of your daily life:
1. If you take it out, put it back
2. If you open it, close it
3. If you throw it down, pick it up
4. If you take it off, hang it up
“Teach these words to your children,” says Sarah, “whisper them in your partner’s ear.”
In my case, it was my partner who whispered it in my ear. My Mom didn’t teach me the importance of order in the house; John did. He grew up in a household where everything had its place and when something was taken out and used, it was put back. Done.
When John and I were 20 and first dating, I actually paid him $20 to clean my pigsty of a bedroom…can you imagine?!
But it wasn’t until we moved in together that the real training – of me – began. He thought I was a messy, unorganized slob. I thought he was an anal control freak. Somehow we made it work 🙂
And once I smartened up and started to help keep a tidier apartment out of respect for him, if not for myself, our relationship improved dramatically. And then, somewhere along the line, I started to see some personal benefits from keeping an orderly home – not the least of which was that I could actually find something when I went to look for it.
As for my Mom…well, I think she might’ve been tidy in her younger years. But in her marriage, it was my Dad who was tidy-guy – and I think she exhausted herself trying to keep a clean and orderly home for him…with four young kids running around. She told me once that after they got divorced, she just felt so free not having to keep up with the housework anymore.
But that’s not to say she didn’t know where things were – she did. She just wasn’t bothered by piles of clothes on a chair or stacks of paper on a table.
I’m very grateful I had a mother who wasn’t the greatest housekeeper because with all that time freed up, not fussing over the house, she spent with us kids…skiing, soccer, theatre, travel, picnics, hiking.
I still learned, eventually, about the importance of order in the house and the merits of keeping a tidy home…just from a different teacher.
Maryanne Pope is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. She is the author of A Widow’s Awakening and the upcoming book, Barrier Removed; A Tough Love Guide to Achieving Your Dreams. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here.