The Laundry Life

Zen and the Art of Cleanliness

Zen and the Art of Cleanliness

WRITTEN BY

SHERRY KEENAN

As you all know by now, I love my environment to be neat, clean, organized and uncluttered.  I've never understood the terms "neat freak" or "clean freak".  The word freak means something unusual or abnormal, and I consider cleanliness and neatness to be healthy and positive.  Conversely, I think the state of being dirty or messy is irrational and unhealthy.  So...  the terms should actually be "messy freak" or "dirty freak".  But, I digress...

You may think that I would embrace Marie Kondo's KonMari method of organization, but you would be wrong.  I don't find joy in many things that I need and use daily like my vegetable peeler or dental floss.  And don't get me started on the folding.   Oh, the folding!  No one should ever have that much free time.

Feng shui?  No.  Just, no.  There is absolutely no scientific evidence that feng shui's mystical claims are true.  Sure, rearrange your furniture if it brings you joy.  Just don't expect it to bring you health and prosperity.

If anyone would be my cleaning guru, it would be The Fly Lady.  She gives quick, concise ways to clean and organize your space.  More recently she's gotten into cleaning up "body clutter" through self examination and increasing self respect.  Okay...  more my speed- no magic, just common sense.

Maybe my background as a science major in college and my work as a Registered Nurse fueled my belief in scientific theory and the scientific method.  Maybe having eight kids fueled my desire to create order out of chaos.  By staying on top of the cleaning, decluttering and the laundry, it kept us from being overwhelmed and giving up altogether.  As it turns out, it also kept us healthy, happy and productive.

There are many research studies that use the scientific method of using logic and critical thinking to explain the importance of the relationship between the cleanliness and organization of our environment to the health and well being of our bodies and our minds.  These studies are based on facts repeatedly confirmed through observation and experimental design.  This makes sense to me.  This, I get.

The gist of all of these studies is that cleanliness in your living space and your work space decreases the amount of germs and pests, obviously, but it also decreases stress, fatigue and lethargy.  At the same time, it increases productivity and safety.  In addition, people who function in a clean environment have better eating habits and exercise more.

When I walk into The Juice Laundry, I see three simple words on three simple boards:  Clean. Your. Machine.  Clean your body and your mind.  Then extrapolate that word machine to include your personal space, your living space and your work space.  When all of your machines are humming along beautifully, you can clearly focus your attention on all things beyond your immediate existence.  A clean body and mind can focus on a clean environment and a clean environment can foster a clean body and mind.  Another simply beautiful circle of life.

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