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Maintaining a Sense of Humor, Maintaining your Life

Blue Skies
Catherine Al-Meten

Maintaining our sense of humor is paramount for keeping us healthy and happy. If you are reading this series because you are hoping that by maintaining an organized home or office you will avoid all problems on your journey between life and death, stop reading now. If, on the other hand, you are reading this article as a way to get motivated to do some clearing and cleaning or to make the process of doing what has to be done, more enjoyable, read on.

Home and office organizing can be a very serious business, or it can be fun. While preparing to write this article, I thought about what motivates us to want to get our homes and offices in order, to get our bodies and lives in better shape, and what distracts us or keeps us from wanting to tackle the ongoing, daily issues and tasks of life? I thought we’d all do better with a little humor, so here goes. Even those who seem to be the mavens of home organization or who have made it and probably pay someone else to get work done, have something to say about home organization, house cleaning, and the whole subject of taking care of ourselves.

Erma Bombeck, one of my idols, wrote two great books (I still have the original paperbacks and read them frequently), The I Hate to Cook Book and the I Hate to Do Housework Book. Some of her ideas and suggestions set me on the road to writing and devoting at least a part of my life to organizing and taking care of the simple daily business of living.

“Housework is a treadmill from futility to oblivion with stop offs at tedium and counter productivity.”

“Housework, if you do it right, can kill you.”

Comedian Phyllis Diller quipped:

“Housework can’t kill you, but why take the chance.”

“I’m eighteen years behind in my ironing. There’s no use doing it now; it doesn’t fit anyone I know.”

And my favorite:

“If your house is really a mess and someone comes to the door, greet him with ‘Who could have done this? We have no enemies!”

Author, A.A. Milne found promise in disorder:

“One of the advantages of being disorderly is constantly making exciting discoveries.”

And author, Louisa Mae Alcott is purported to have said, “Housework ain’t no joke.” And in her day, that’s the truth though I seriously doubt she ever said this, but who knows?
Mark Twain’s opinion was that we should “Have a place for everything and keep the thing somewhere else; this is not a piece of advice, it is merely a custom.”

On a more philosophical note, Simone de Beauvoir said, “Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus (the guy destined to roll the rock up the mountain only to have it roll back down and thus start the process over until the end of time) with its endless repetition; the clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day.”

She makes is sound so depressing, and that is precisely why we find whatever ways we can to make the tasks that we have to do anyway, more enjoyable, more meaningful, and if possible, more fun.

Agatha Christie and I agree on one thing: “The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing dishes.”

Stop being serious about organizing, and just be happy being who you are where you are, in the middle of whatever messes are making up your life right now. It’s okay. Nothing is so important it can’t wait for you to laugh, take a walk or a nap, or just sit and stare mindlessly out the window on this winter’s day. Take some advice from Robert Brault, a freelance writer who had thoughts on housework:

“I am never five minutes into stripping the clutter from my life before I start running into the clutter that is my life.”

“There is no daily chore so trivial that it cannot be made important by skipping it two days running.”

Personally, I strive to follow the advice of William Morris: “Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

And until I am ready to write a serious piece about how important it is to find fun and effective ways to organize your home, your office, and other aspects of your life, I leave you with this thought from Erma Bombeck. It made me laugh too hard to have any real thoughts, and perhaps you’ll enjoy it too, and give yourself a break to take time off.

“My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first is being hit on my head of the top bunk bed until I faint. —Erma Bombeck

And by all means, enjoy simply being and appreciating the fact that you have a home, a space of your own, where you can create, dream, work, live life fully each day.

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