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Friday, May 18, 2012

Cleanliness is Next to Dapper and Dreaminess!

I love clean.  I don't love TO clean, I just love knowing that everything around me is clean.  With seven rather spirited boys coming in and out of the house all day every day, this is an impossible feat.  I know it, but I've never fully accepted it.  I still think that, somehow, we should be able to dwell in a relatively pristine space.  Afterall, seven boys not only means more mess, it should mean more cleaners, right?  Wrong.  But, that's alright...  they try...  Sometimes...  Some of them...

In spite of our slightly mad house, I still hold that cleanliness is one of the loveliest things in life, and cleaning is excellent therapy.  There are countless amusing mottos around.  They all suggest that a clean home is the sign of a life ill-spent or of some form of mental illness, and I can see their rather shallow humor.  But, I couldn't disagree more.  Cleaning shouldn't be about impressing others, although it can show a sort of respect and appreciation for those that come into your home.  It should be about creating a sense of ease and order, serenity and peace.  A house devoid of unnecessary or careless clutter, free from the neglect that heaps of dust and cloudy windows (fear not, our windows are quite cloudy just now!) suggest can be a wonderful oasis from the frenetic pace of the world.  It's lovely to sit in a cozy corner with a book or project of some sort and to look around and see things in their best light.  It's also a rather nice way of telling your family, and even yourself, that putting one's best foot forward needn't be for special occasions.

The smell that comes with cleanliness is also comforting.  The recent advent of cleaning products that genuinely appeal to the nose as well as the environment is fabulous.  Have you ever smelled Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day in Geranium?  Or almost anything by Caldrea.  The price is rather steep, but for big cleaning days, it might just be worth it.  For my money, just about anything lemon fresh will work, too.

We also use a special carpet powder, created by yours truly, scented with lavender buds and oil.  Not in the least overpowering or artificial, it leaves the house smelling as fresh as a summer's day in Provence (disclosure...  I've never been to Provence...  in summer or at any other time...  but this is what summer in Provence SHOULD smell like!).  We'll be offering it in our Dapper and Dreamy Shop soon.

Now, I don't wish to suggest that cleaning should take precedence over everything else.  Dreamy, the one person who can truly clean our house properly, reminds me that if we spent all our time cleaning in order to have and maintain the perfect atmosphere, we'd never have time to actually do anything.  Of course she's right.  And, in all honesty, cleanliness has to come in after family happiness.  But, I sometimes think that in our efforts to make things easier and more pleasurable we forget that the hard work that keeping house requires can actually enhance life, rather than add to the drudgery.

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