Housecleaning, Anyone?

Who else finds some degree of satisfaction in doing their own housecleaning? Seriously, now. In this day and age, where everything seems rushed and we're all scrambling for time, does anyone else seek release in scrubbing their bathrooms, hosing down the balcony or veranda, mopping the floors, dusting the furniture, and ironing their clothes? Or am I perhaps part of an esoteric breed?

Here in Lebanon, hiring help is extremely cost-effective. Whether it’s a live-in maid or a housekeeper who drops in once a week, most folks in my immediate entourage outsource the cleaning to the cleaning specialists. At just 7,500 – 10,000 LBP ($5-6.67) per hour, it’s an offer you can’t resist, especially when you work full-time outside the home, have a family to tend to, and can afford to allocate your free time more productively.

While I do opt for that route on occasion, particularly when it comes to cleaning the windows and accordion glass doors, I don't mind getting down and dirty and working up a sweat!

I trace my affinity with housecleaning to two factors. First, my mom has always taken charge of our home’s health, and she does so with a rigor I can only strive to emulate. Second, I moved across the United States at the age of 21 to attend grad school, and being a student with her own studio meant fulfilling all household chores, even if they fell on a smaller scale. In my mind, I had no other recourse, and I learned to launder and press my own clothes, wipe down a stove-top, and scrub the bathtub.

Admittedly, 30 square meters is a small sliver of 175 square meters, but the idea is you don’t have to polish and buff every square centimeter of space on a daily basis. The kitchen and bathrooms take precedence, but you can loosen the reins a bit on the other stuff. One has to manage time smartly, after all.

Anyone else enjoy doing their own housework? (photo source:

Reminiscing university days, many of my housemates would morph into obsessive neat freaks around final exam season. Crunch time is stressful, and doing something hands-on lets you take a deep breath and get your mind off things. It’s a time to to engage in introspection and idea conception, which is where I escape to while ironing. In fact, a rough vision for this article came to me as I was pressing away at my son's cotton jumpers.

A bystander would probably point and laugh, bemused that a college graduate can’t think of a better way to occupy her recreational time. That may be true, but housework promotes self-care: cleaning results in a sanitary environment and kicks your body into shape. I’ve nearly slimmed down to my pre-wedding weight post-pregnancy without joining a gym or consulting a dietitian.

Let me ask you this: How many minutes or even hours do we wile away on social media every day? We’re all guilty of it, but try to compute how surreptitiously technology has managed to steal our focus and make passive clickers out of us. Shameful, isn’t it? 

If we can afford to squander so much of our precious time on an inanimate object like a smartphone, we can find an hour every few days to wield a vacuum or scrub that limescale off the shower walls. Professional ambition has nothing to do with it. It’s about commitment to oneself and well-being, no matter how degreed or credentialed we are. And hey, it works the biceps like no dumbbells can ;)

Stay tuned for a survey of some of my favorite fast-action, deep-cleaning products!


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