Feng Shui & Cleaning

Hunker down and stay active at the same time—that’s an ideal yin/yang balance. One of the most productive ways to stay active in your own home is by cleaning it. The physical activity of cleaning is helping your own body stay fit and at the same time you are doing excellent feng shui for your home. It’s a very positive uplifting spiral.

This is a detail of my writing table’s rounded lyre-shaped supports.
This is a detail of my writing table’s rounded lyre-shaped supports. The curves and nooks need special cleaning attention.

Two of the best books on cleaning are by Jeff Campbell. I recommend them to everyone. Speed Cleaning is about regular chores (every week or so) and Spring Cleaning concerns surfaces that are cleaned much less frequently (e.g. windows, which I’ve written about before). If there’s more than person in your household then try to work together. The work will go much faster and there’s a very good vibe that comes with harmonious working together. Speed Cleaning explains how to break up the cleaning tasks so that all the people are supporting one another.

When cleaning is done mindfully (paying attention in each moment) the job becomes a meditation. I actually quote from Spring Cleaning in my mindfulness classes: “One of the mottoes of the Jesuit Order of Catholics is Age quod agis—‘Do what you are doing.’ Zen Buddhists call the same idea ‘mindfulness.’ If what you are doing is cleaning, then just clean—that’s all. Anything that Jesuits and Buddhists independently discover is worth serious scrutiny.

“If you work with full attention, you are working at the edge of your full abilities. Working at the edge of your full abilities is fun. In spite of yourself. Besides, you’ll get the task over with quicker, and you’ll probably do a better job of it. All by not working harder, just smarter—by working at full attention. Pay attention to the work that you are doing right in front of you. Just clean.”

Jeff campbell, spring cleaning

Cleaning is a skill, and these books are about how to do it the fast way. In good cleaning, there are no unnecessary moves. It’s almost like it’s choreographed. With two (or more) people working together, it is rather choreographed—a harmony of actions and a cleaner home.

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