War Torn Home….Fighting Begins Over House Cleaning

Could household chores be fun? Especially for you?

“I hate your storage tubs! You can’t have them in here! They’re so ugly!”

That’s what came out of my mouth when speaking to my dear husband just the other day.

I was standing in the doorway to the cute little room in our cottage that serves as a guest room, office, the room for my son when he’s home from college.

My husband had three huge rubbermaid green tubs, the size of large cardboard boxes, piled in there. Plus two actual cardboard boxes with stuff inside.

They had been in there a couple of weeks. The bedding and mattress were leaning up against the wall, covering an entire large window so the room was darkish.

I had walked past the open door to the room daily, and thought “We need to move forward with this project of changing the room around. So trashy looking! Like someone can’t finish moving in!”

The thought repeated itself every time I looked in.

Ugh. It looks like a storage closet. Unwelcoming.

It looks like a hoarder’s house. We could be on TV on that show about nut cases who keep everything piled in boxes along the hallways, who collect junk and pay for storage units.

No offense if you like keeping stuff. I tend to lean the opposite, being of the purger sort of mind, and that’s not always peaceful either.

But here’s where my mind went in a matter of maybe 24 seconds.

We aren’t compatible. This is NOT working. 

He needs his own place to live because he likes rubbermaid tubs in the house.

Heh. Heh.

How do I react when I believe someone should place objects or see household items differently than I do?

Oh boy. Such an imperfect world. These people who live around here….

They should empty the dishwasher, they should put their dishes IN the dishwasher, they should wipe the counter, they shouldn’t break my favorite mug, they should empty the garbage when its full, they should put their clothes in their bedroom, they should put their mail somewhere else besides the dining room table, they shouldn’t leave their shoes here, they should turn down that noise, they should close the shower curtain.

The other day a client said “my husband has his crap all over the dining room table, day after day, not moving it! I HATE THIS!”

She had said the same thing five years ago.


Who would you be without the belief that there is something out of order, and those people should agree?

Woah…without that belief?

Suddenly, I am laughing at the total goofiness of my extremely bizarre conclusions.

I apologize to my husband, and I mean it.

The next day, I take 90 minutes having a blast (seriously) moving the tubs into a closet, boxes into the shed, a few items into drawers, adjusting the furniture, making up the bed with clean sheets, changing lightbulbs, vacuuming, dusting, emptying garbage.

It is sooooo fun.

No one else has to participate in this wonderful activity except for me, the one who noticed it, the one who cares.

“I hate my thoughts which hold onto rigid ideas, keeping them protected in rubber storage tubs! I don’t want them in here! They’re so ugly!”

I chuckle at that little mind so interested in being a victim of other peoples’ movements. Even one man setting a box down can get that victim mind over-excited.

Missing out how much I love to clean, make things pretty, create a gorgeous environment around me. And it doesn’t have to happen yesterday (bossing my own self) either. Things can take the pace they take, the pace that’s possible.

I almost missed it!

“If I want my children to hear me, I’m insane. They’re only going to hear what they hear, not what I say. Let me see, maybe I’ll filter their hearing: ‘Don’t hear anything but what I say.’ Does that sound a little crazy to you?…’Hear what I want you to hear, hear me.’ Insane. And it just doesn’t work….I want them to hear what they hear. I’m not crazy anymore. I’ve a lover of what is.” ~ Byron Katie

If I want my husband to see exactly what I see, and my kids, and have us all agree 100% about what we see and what it means, I’m insane.

I mean really? I want them to suffer because of green storage tubs stacked up in a room, or a dish in the sink? Seriously?

The war can end with me.


Much love, Grace

10 Replies to “War Torn Home….Fighting Begins Over House Cleaning”

  1. Thank you so much for your note and your fabulous question. I have found (from much practice) that the cleanest way on this “cleaning” path is to be with the activity of cleaning with joy. You can ask for assistance and help, and repeat asking without malice or resentment. You model the joy of cleaning, rather than thinking of it as a virus. They will grow up and never clean…is it true? See how the mind goes to the tragic future and everyone stoned and in terrible surroundings? You never know what someone’s path is, but finding the joy in the cleaning is so exciting. And this does NOT mean being totally passive and never asking, but can you ask with lightness? Also, if you find you deeply feel irritation and going all the way to joy with doing dishes is too far to go, then I find a very authentic way to ask is to say “I love it so much when all the dishes are done, it makes me so happy, and I get frustrated with cleaning up everything. I would love it if you did x, y, z (put your dishes in the dishwasher, vacuum, empty the trash, etc) and just keep asking and showing how. I find, my teens now are shocking me (not every day!) by emptying the dishwasher when I’m not even home, when I didn’t even ask. Other times, the same situation arises again and again, and I simply keep showing how instead of quick doing it myself without talking about it (although I do that too). The joy of the moment is so much bigger. With weed, you can also say “tell me about being high. what do you like about it? I’ve always been frightened of it because ___ but I’d like to know what it’s like for you.” without demands to stop (which doesn’t work). Let me know how it goes. Much love, Grace

  2. I was searching for just such a thing to free me from this tightness and suffering I have had around the same sorts of things. Reading your post I wept with relief to remember the joy of my own being and to begin to notice suddenly the autumn light on my face and the clear sky. I also have a “But” come up- “but what if by cleaning up after everyone and doing the chores I am perpetuating an unhealthy system, I’m enabling teenagers to never grow up and learn to clean up after themselves?” That also feels like suffering. I feel like I would be feeding an infection to fix and clean up after kids who are high on weed most of the time. (I am a stepmom.) The path of action isn’t so clear to me. Can I ask for help? If so any tips on how to communicate? Isn’t there room for some requests and making agreements and how does that fit in to the Work? Many thanks Grace- you are wonderful.

  3. I’m so glad I found you. You say EXACTLY what I’m dealing with. This one especially!!! Thank you for also showing me how The Work fits in with daily life. Keep being so honest, we are listening and connecting….I guarantee it. xoxo

  4. Dear Grace, loved it! can’t tell you how many wars i have had about all the things you mentioned…ah!!!i doesn’t have to be . thank you for your wonderful reminder…i really wake up looking forward to reading your blog, its a beautiful sane way to begin the day.

  5. Thank you Grace, I just LOVE reading your stories, your experiences talk to all of us.. its a relief to now that even you still have this mind chatter that catches you out. I love your humour and your generosity in all the sharings that you post here. Funny thing is that so often it is JUST what I needed to hear too that day that moment… You are an Angel a messenger to us all, thank you. Sending you love and a big hug from the UK ((((O))))

  6. I love you sooooooo much. Thank you for your wonderful sharing of yourself. When I sense that you’re sourcing from the innermost chamber of you heart, I am elevated and see that the innermost chamber of my heart is where I want to source from, too. From there, I see you as the evidence of love and am blessed. -kirkn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *