It was the kind of day where everything seemed to be going wrong. Nothing was coming together right, and I found myself wanting to give up. But then I noticed an old pot in my sink, waiting to be washed. I had been avoiding it all day, but now it seemed like a much-needed distraction – something I could do with my hands while my mind wandered elsewhere.
So I grabbed the sponge and started washing the pot. And after a while, when I realized that all my worries from before had slipped away, replaced by a newfound sense of calm and clarity.
That’s when it hit me: washing dishes could surprisingly be quite mindful! It allowed me to slow down, breathe deeply, and appreciate the simple moment for what it was – present-moment awareness on a basic level that would help get me through those tough times. On the evening of my dishwashing epiphany, I started thinking about the importance of being right where I was. Of not wishing away these small moments that make up my life.
From then on, I decided to make cleaning into something more than just a dreaded chore. To bring mindfulness and appreciation into every single task, no matter how small. And it’s been such an amazing journey ever since! From dishes to laundry, from vacuuming to dusting, I’ve made mindful cleaning into practice.
So what is mindful cleaning?
It’s about creating a sense of presence and awareness in each task you do. It’s about being connected with the present moment and being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and physical movements as you go. It’s about noticing the little nuances in each task and being grateful for them.
Mindful cleaning is a practice that can help you become more aware of your body and mind. It can help you build a greater sense of appreciation for yourself, your environment, and the tasks that need to be done within it. And most importantly, it can provide moments of peace and clarity within what may otherwise be a busy day.
How to Adapt a Mindful Cleaning Practice
We all know how cleaning our home can be a tedious task that’s hard to stay enthusiastic about. But, instead of seeing it as an obligation and a chore, you can practice mindful cleaning – an approach that will make your clean-up more enjoyable and meaningful.
Why Mindful Cleaning?
There are many compelling reasons to try mindful cleaning. It provides the opportunity to reduce stress and give yourself some self-care while also getting all of your necessary tasks done. The mindful approach also allows us to feel present and connect with ourselves in the moment. Plus, since we’re paying close attention, it can actually take less time than if we were rushing through our chores.
Mindful cleaning isn’t just about checking off tasks on your list; it’s about being aware of what you’re doing and why, cultivating a deep appreciation for this mundane part of everyday life, and creating an overall sense of peace in the process.
Step One: Pick Your Space
Choose any space or area in your home that needs cleaning or organizing. You don’t have to start big – you could even begin with something like folding laundry or wiping down countertops. Just pick one thing that’s manageable enough, to begin with, and be prepared to focus on it until it is finished before moving on to another task.
Step Two: Move Slowly & Deliberately
When engaging in mindful cleaning, resist the urge to rush through things—this defeats the purpose! Instead, move slowly with intention while focusing on each small action you take as if nothing else exists. Feel the sensation of the fabric you’re folding or the surface you’re wiping down; pay attention to how everything smells; notice how it feels when items are put away in their rightful place; appreciate your progress as you go along!
Step Three: Be Present & Don’t Judge
Mindful cleaning is also about letting go of judgment —of yourself, others, or anything else – so don’t worry too much about perfectionism here either! Instead, just focus on being present in each moment—acknowledge whatever thoughts come up but observe them without acting upon them or dragging yourself into analysis mode.
This type of non-judgmental relaxation is key for keeping negative emotions at bay when engaged in a seemingly mundane activity such as tidying up after yourself or others around you (we’ve all been there!).
Step Four: Appreciate What You’re Doing
Another important element of mindful cleaning is gratitude — both internally towards yourself as well as externally towards those who helped make it possible. Take a minute (or two!) between every task to savor the result—not only does this help motivate us further but it also creates a positive mental association with our physical space which translates into improved mental well-being over time.
Step Five: Reflect & Connect With Yourself
Embrace moments throughout your day where mindless tasks provide opportunities for self-reflection and a deeper connection with yourself. Ask questions like ‘what do these activities say about my values?’, ‘how am I growing?’, ‘what am I learning from this experience?’ It’s okay if no immediate answer comes up—experimentation breeds discovery so allow yourself some freedom here.
Mindful Cleaning Tips:
Kitchen: Work Top To Bottom
Whether tidying your home or practicing zen, working from the top down is the most efficient approach. For example, if you are cleaning the kitchen, it would be wasteful to sweep and mop and then brush crumbs onto clean floors. Similarly with meditating; start by freeing your mind of worries and anxieties and your body will naturally follow.
Laundry: Inside Out
Folding our clothing provides an opportunity for us to take control over how things look in our homes and on ourselves. Turning socks, shirts, and pants right side out is like our zen practice. Mindfulness practice is something big that many of us for times of trouble, folding it away to fit into a small space at other times. Mindful cleaning allows you to integrate your spirituality into everything you do, large or small.
When you take your warm, freshly dried clothes out of the dryer and begin to fold them, allow yourself to relax in the silence. Feel each fabric texture between your fingers as they glide through the material. Appreciate their colors and shapes while contemplating how that individual feels when wearing those garments. Take this time for stillness; use it as an opportunity to check in with yourself and gain inner peace from folding laundry.
Bedroom: Make Your Bed
Making your bed is the best way to start your day with mindfulness practice. Take this time for stillness; allow yourself to be mindful of how you make it and the feeling that comes through when you do. Move slowly, feel each fabric texture between your fingers as they glide through the material, and appreciate their colors and shapes while contemplating how it will look when you are done.
Making your bed can be a great way to practice gratitude; appreciate the time, effort, and resources that went into making the sheets, quilt, or blankets on your bed. Celebrate yourself for taking care of your own space — even if it’s just your bedroom — and reflect on how much it contributes to your overall well-being.
And finally, when you finish making the bed and step back, take a few minutes to appreciate how the room looks now and the amount of peace that it gives you in its neatness. Enjoy this moment for what it is — an opportunity for stillness.
Mindful cleaning is an amazing way to maintain awareness while completing necessary chores around our homes–and while we shouldn’t expect miracles overnight (it takes dedication!), eventually this will become second nature and bring greater peace into our lives on both a physical and emotional level!