Dear Readers – I love watching cats clean themselves. Particularly the one leg up posture, which transforms the normally elegantly aloof feline into an elegantly shameless butt cleaner. All that licking eventually leads to hairballs, stored in their gullet, which are then vomited onto the floor, for the cleaning pleasure of their human counterparts. This reminds me that different cultures and people, have different preferences for cleaning. And that there is always a gross side to cleaning – such as a dustpan filled with hair, a drain filled with hair, a vacuum filled with hair… ah I see, they all involve hair. But there is another byproduct of cleaning, which is a certain zen-ness. A certain one-mindedness. The repetitive sweeps of the broom, the back and forth of a mop, the inch by inch of scrubbing. As if each motion cleans away a little dirt, both from the world and from our minds.
Döstädning. With a joyous and unsentimental approach, Margareta Magnusson recounts the experience of cleaning after her mother and husband passed away in “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning”. In a desire not to burden her own children with such a task, Magnusson begins the process of death cleaning, where her home becomes a reflection of her life.
KonMari. In her popular book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”, Marie Kondo delivers advice for a radical mental overhaul. By cleaning rapidly – six-months is rapid for most of her clients – you can maintain a state of organized focus, and feel so mentally clean afterwards, that you never even want to go back to your previously cluttered lifestyle again.
Apranihita. Sister Ocean offers spring cleaning tips from the Buddhist tradition of her teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. Rather than a goal-oriented approach, she encourages the practice of apranihita, or ‘aimlessness’, as a way of spring cleaning her mental space. She recommends such activities as giving yourself a day without a to do list, or having a ‘lazy date’ with a friend, where you set the time, but no concrete plans.