18 December 2012

Housework is an art form

“I think housework is far more tiring and frightening than hunting is, no comparison, and yet after hunting we had eggs for tea and were made to rest for hours, but after housework people expect one to go on just as if nothing special had happened.” Nancy Mitford

I saw the above quote this morning in a blog by Reservoir Dad guesting on Woogsworld and it spoke to me. Lordy me, it yelled actually. Yodelled across the room and finished off with some fancy footwork. And while Nancy Mitford and her sisters were a perplexing and bigoted bunch of individuals, Nancy nailed it with that quote.

You see - as far as I am concerned - Housework is an art.  And like all the arts, what appeals to one person definitely does not appeal to another.  Some are fans of realism and minimalism that draws parallels with housework fans who like clean lines and things to be as they are.  Some are fans of the abstract approach where the concepts are more important than the execution.  Still others favour the expressionism style where their housework is spiritually or psychologically intense.  

I have always been a proponent of the abstract style of housework where people get the gist of what I've attempted without it needing to be presented in any kind of coherent way.  Since the arrival of my two forces of nature, my beautiful man and I have developed a fondness for the kinetic style.  Kinetic art is sculpture based but comprised of moving elements and powered either by wind, the viewer themselves or a motor. Families are big on engaging through the kinetic style of housework - no matter what frantic preparation is done prior to their visit,  they'll blithely dodge the small people and run a vacuum cleaner about the place using their own energy to engage with the existing construct.  

In the modern household, most housework is a collaborative affair.  A shifting of art preferences from the singular to the plural and then again to encompass the addition of small people, animals or permanent houseguests.  Housework, like art, is an intensely personal experience and what appeals to one does not appeal to another.  And just as you wouldn't walk into a house and criticise the art they hang on their wall, nor should you comment on their style of housework.  For it is chosen to suit them, not you.  One man's Gauguin is another man's Monet.  Both of value but appealing to different audiences and different approaches to life.

And that my friends is that. And please don't open that cupboard without a hard hat. 


  1. This is so true! Just as in art, there should be no one standard of acceptability for housework, nor judgement if it doesn't adhere to one particular style. It is rather annoying that the minimalist devotees are held up as paragons, whereas someone like myself who practices more of an Impressionistic style of housekeeping is not revered in quite the same way... x

    1. Trust me Maxabella - I'm a fan of your impressionistic style. HUGE x