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What I have Learned About Life From Doing Housework

Updated on March 5, 2014


Due to personal reasons I had to stay in another country for a few months without any help. Needless to say, I had to do all the housework by myself, such as cleaning the dishes, cooking, laundry, etc. Coming from a place where there are three full time help to do the housework round the clock, this was my first time to do some cleaning by myself, and it was quite a change from my daily royalty-like routine, but it was quite a learning experience which I am sure will stick with me for a very long time no matter how much I try to brush it off with a sponge. I would like to share with you what I have learned from doing housework and how we can apply it to our lives.

Ever tried cleaning one of these?
Ever tried cleaning one of these? | Source

Cooling Down a Persistent Problem

You ever seen one those advertisements where the lady just cleans a greasy pan with one swoop of a sponge? Well, what they did not tell you about it was that the lady swiped the pan with 10 times the strength of The Hulk.

It is an impossible feat that you will only be able to perform in the magical land of advertisements, where everything is possible. It is hard and frustrating to clean dirty utensils and crockery, and greasy pans are the worst of them all. It is very hard to clean it.

What I have learned though is if you fill the greasy pan with water and leave it overnight, it will be easier for you to clean it the next morning! What I have learned from this experience is that sometimes when we have a problem that is persistent, or a person that does not want to cooperate and adjust, it is always wise to give the situation a cooling down period.

Sometimes we face situations in life where we have to be quiet so the other person can let go of some steam and cool down. Situations like when your superior, or wife/husband is mad at you, in such situations it is sometimes better to let the other one vent their anger so they can cool down, only then can they be more open for discussion and will be easier to find solutions and make peace.

My Hero...
My Hero... | Source

"Procrastination makes easy things hard, and hard things harder." -Mason Cooley

Procrastinate and Your Life Will Stink

Many people especially those who are living on their own, tend to procrastinate their housework because Saturday Night Live is on TV. The fact that this is my first time doing housework, it did not take me long to get into the habit of procrastination.

What happened, as you may guessed, was rather disturbing. You see, when you delay the housework, it does not clean itself and it piles up and start stinking, and this stink will always remind of you the problem that you do not want to face and fix. As long as you look away and just let it be, it will always be there gnawing at the back of your mind.

A lot of time we refuse to deal with the problems in our lives simply because we feel too lazy, or we feel its too big for us so we try to run away from it. What we do not realize is that the problem latches to the back of our mind when we try to run away from it. We will always think about it consciously or subconsciously. And if you feel the pile is too big for you now to fix it, wait till you see how big the pile is tomorrow.

Your roomate's behaviour that you do not like, but you hesitate to bring it up with him/her because you might hurt his/her feelings, so you just let it be, but it is there at the back of your mind just eating you up. The longer you leave the more awkward it will be. The best way is to always confront the problem in the best possible manner straight away, and never leave it behind till it stinks the whole house.

Clean it NOW!
Clean it NOW! | Source

"To succeed today, you have to set priorities, decide what you stand for."-Lee Lacocca

And if you cannot find a paper and pen, you can always do this..
And if you cannot find a paper and pen, you can always do this.. | Source

Get Your Priorities Straight

When you are living on your own, it is always important to have a timetable and schedule on what you are supposed to be doing when and what time first. I am sorry, but I won't go zen here and tell you to go with the flow. Nothing gets done with the flow.

Make a list of groceries, see what is missing and what needs to be attended to first (that dishes that had been piling up needs some attending to). To keep our house in order, we first have to be in order. Our house is a reflection on how we live and therefore how we are. When you allow someone to come to your house, you are basically allowing them to see how you live and what are your choices of living. Doing all the housework, has helped me to learn how to set my priorities on what to do around the house and what needs to be attended to.

It is very important to set our priorities not only when it comes to housework, but also when it comes to our life. It can mean the difference between having your lives in order or having it spiral out of control. The most important thing I have learned is that when it comes to making priorities, making a list helps a lot.

I have always known that setting priorities is a very important thing to do mentally, but I have always thought that getting a paper and pen was overdoing it is and an overkill. What I have found out is getting a paper and pen really helps you and gives you a big edge in setting your priorities. Putting ink on paper increases the focus you need in not only setting your priorities but also in taking it more seriously.


Positive Reinforcement

Try getting a dirty drinking glass and fill it with clean water and let the water keep pouring even long after the glass is full. What we will notice is that the glass will gradually start getting clean and the water will slowly turn from the muddy color to clear.

This glass is something like our mind, and the dirt in it is like our bad habits and negative thinking. We often ask ourselves, how can we change for the better? We try to change and live a better life but we can't do it and eventually fall into the same bad habits we have now. Most of the time it is because we give up to soon. We stop pouring clean water into the glass before the glass is completely clean.

What I have learned is that bad habits and negative thinking are harder to uproot than those pesky dirt that is stuck in the drinking glass, but eventually the way to clean it is the same. We need to keep reinforcing and remind ourselves to keep being positive and to stop our bad habits. Just like we kept pouring the clean water until the dirt is totally gone, the same way we have to keep reinforcing good action and positive thinking in our lives for us until it finally becomes a habit.

When it becomes a habit we do not have to reinforce it anymore as it will come naturally to us. Just like if the glass is clean we do not have to keep pouring clean water in it. It will naturally be clear. Once it is clear we can make it more clear by using dish soap. Using the dish wash soap is similar to getting a support that will make you keep going in life with your reinforced good positive habits. Once in while we have to clean it again to make it usable. Just similar to how once in a while we have to remind ourselves to make sure our positive habits stays intact.


Everything in life has something to teach us. All we need is to keep our mind open and be ready when experience comes knocking on our door. Accept everything that comes open heartedly and happily no matter how bitter or how joyful the experience can be.

To hold a grudge or to keep asking yourself why it is happening to you will only close your mind from the knowledge this great experience called life has to offer. I never thought the day will come when I have to do housework, but come it did. I had a choice, whether I should accept it happily or complain and moan about it. I chose the first. I was excited and it was something new to me.

I am glad I did it and I made sure that I learned something about life. It also made me value my help more than ever, God knows how hard they work, I can only imagine.

I hope you have found this hub helpful and have enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it. Thank You.

Which house work do you really hate doing?

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    • suraj punjabi profile imageAUTHOR

      suraj punjabi 

      7 years ago from jakarta

      Nell Rose believe it or not the dirty glass idea came when I was just too lazy and I just let the water keep running for sometime. It happened to pour on a dirty glass and I just kept looking and realized it was gradually becoming clean. I guess laziness can turn you into a kind of philosopher. Lol!

    • suraj punjabi profile imageAUTHOR

      suraj punjabi 

      7 years ago from jakarta

      Hello jhamman, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I frankly cannot imagine doing all this housework while having three full blenders without the lid on running around the house. I really admire you for your dedication to raising your children and maintaining your house. I have read your hubs they are great, you have beautiful children. All the best to you.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      7 years ago from England

      AI loved the way that you found lessons in the housework, and yes the story of the dirty glass is so very very true! very wise words, wonderful!

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 

      7 years ago from Reno NV

      I agree with your lessons, and having three children I am familiar with every one you mentioned. Great hub keep it up! Jamie

    • suraj punjabi profile imageAUTHOR

      suraj punjabi 

      7 years ago from jakarta

      Hello, sir. I believe everything we encounter have something to teach us, we just have to pay enough attention to figure out what it is. Thank you for your comment and compliment, coming from you it really means a lot. PS: I find the noise the vacuum makes to be a noisy and never ending insulting gasp at all the dirt it is sucking. Haha.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love that you can find lessons about life in your housework. That is the creative mind of a true writer at work. Well done my friend and for me it is vacuuming...hate it! LOL


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