I’ve been following Unfuck Your Habitat for about a month and let me just say, that blog, and its whole philosophy, is a godsend. When i first saw it, i thought UFYH was aimed at super epic bachelor style slobs, but it probably has just as much if not more benefit for anxiety types like me. Here’s what shaped my pre-UFYH attitude towards cleaning: my mum thinks her house should always look like a Better Homes and Gardens magazine or something, so she was always a huge guilt-inducer about fastidious cleaning; but I seem to have inherited from somewhere a penchant for hoarding. (obviously this has cleared up as I’ve moved towards a more spiritual path and learned to live in the moment and not be bound so much by physical gains). Then I moved interstate, and became poor. Like, pension poor. So I hoarded every piece of shit I had, in case I could use it for something later, because in my mind I thought I wouldn’t be able to pay for necessities, let alone luxuries. Then I was in an awful relationship where I was the only one in the house who cleaned, the place was a mouse-infested pigsty, and yet the abusive partner tried to use my efforts towards cleaning as fuel for his violent fire against me (every time I picked up a broom I was a “uptight bitch”, washing dishes would earn me a “can’t you ever fucking sit down and just do nothing?”) A couple of years down the track I’m working on finding a way around my perfectionism and anxiety traits to live a beautiful life. My perfectionistic traits don’t play out like “everything must be perfect! Go go go!”, they play out more like “well, that’s never going to be perfect, see, you fucked it up already, why even try. Give up now cos it’s ruined.” and then that’s when the anxiety kicks in. So, yeah, I’m not an epic slob, but I do sometimes have trouble knowing where to start, because as soon as I begin, the volume on the internal battle gets turned up, and despite my best efforts at yoga and meditation I’m not yet an enlightened being!, so I do sometimes succumb to those voices in my head instead of just observing them.
UFYH has been such a HUGE paradigm shift because it’s a) helped me stop marathon cleaning, which erases the guilt about having a break b) encourages me to start somewhere, anywhere, just start! And c) to recognise no, we don’t all live in a magazine, it’s okay to have your own standards, and it’s more than ok to get support and acknowledgement.
Anyway, I’ve been moving house (slowly, over a week or so, as there’s no time limit yet, which helps!). I’ve been using the 20/10 principle which is honestly keeping me sane (20minutes cleaning/organising and then a 10 minute break). It’s made the job so much more approachable and achievable - I don’t HAVE to do a whole room at once before I break. I just take a few loads to the car. Who knew I could have a break before I was finished? Old me certainly didn’t! I can take a breather and have a drink BEFORE I become a hyperventilating, sobbing mess on the floor amongst all my possessions? Really? Huzzah! This method has shut up both the internal critic and the panicker, that’s for sure :)
My unexpected spiritual moment came yesterday, when I suddenly realised I’d been quite “Tao” all day.
My boyfriend loves Taoism - he explained it to me as non-resistance, just letting things happen. Stuff gets done, without you really having to do anything.
I did not get it. No part of old me could understand this.
But, yesterday, after unpacking, organising, washing, cleaning, cooking…and feeling like I’d been having the most chilled, relaxed day…I got it. I finally understood what Tao meant. I was living the tao! All from just doing, instead of over thinking. Putting work into manageable chunks. Not being a perfectionist or a critic. It was magic.
Everybody with perfectionism or anxiety: do yourself a favour, follow Unfuck Your Habitat.