Recently, I’ve been wondering whether your home is your castle or prison – does it keep you, or do you keep it?

By now you’ll be aware of my thoughts on wealth – it’s not one thing or the other but a constant tradeoff between your time, health, and money.

The suburb I live in is an older suburb of largish blocks with smallish houses on them. It’s in a process of renewal; elderly couples are moving out and downsizing, while younger families are moving in and upsizing.

Often upsizing involves decimating well-loved and established gardens to construct an extension, making the house bigger.

One of our regular Clever Girl weekend walks takes us past one such renovation – week to week we’ve been watching the house grow up and out.

I speculated out loud, “who’s going to clean that [monstrous] house?”

DB shrugged, “the wife.”

Perish the thought!

I’d call my house a moderately sized prison; it takes a day to clean it properly so I do a little bit every day. When I was younger, and lived (alone) in a smaller apartment (castle), I could give the whole thing a quick once over in less than an hour.

From the point of view of the time taken to clean, I’m looking to downsize rather than upsize (despite all my recent talk about my extension). Though when I hit my first bestseller, I may hire someone to do a couple of hours a week on my behalf.

I wonder if the wife realises how much time it will take her to clean that house. Not to mention it’s common round here for wives to mow lawns as well.

Is she planning to get someone(s) in?

Does she think her husband and children will help?

Sorry, just took a break to empty the washing machine and hang the clothes up…

Now where was I? Ah, yeah.

Is your home your castle or prison?

The thing about “housework,” is that it’s constant.

You clean the mess from cooking lunch, and then it’s time to cook dinner. You vacuum up the dog hair, and then she shakes herself and the floor’s covered again.

And if it’s just you…

Well, you get to resenting the house come prison, as well as the people living it up inside their castle.

Who’re outside having fun while you’re inside, doing the dishes or vacuuming.

Plus, there’s the business of caring enough to notice when the tap washers need changing and getting someone in to do it.

Scheduling the annual air conditioning services and then calling them out.

Hiring a carpet cleaner when it needs doing.

Taking a note when someone mentions such-and-such needs doing, and then actually doing it.

Like I say, it’s never ending.

So what would you rather do – have fun outside, or doing the housework inside the house?

Does that make your home a castle or prison?

ADDENDA: Katy’s reminded me I may be the abnormal one here. There are loads of people who enjoy keeping their prison castles, and perhaps my mystery home renovator will too.

But the fact remains, it takes a lot of brain capacity to care enough to schedule repairs and maintenance, to call the technicians, to clear your schedule so you can be available for the five (plus) hour window the technician needs to arrive at your place and get it done. And then you most likely have to clean up afterwards as well.

I don’t mind admitting that while I don’t like taking care of that part of it, I still do it.

Hawarden Castle, image by Melbourne : David Syme and Co. The Illustrated Australian News April 2, 1894 via State Library Victoria

For more interesting and useful infomation, check out my housekeeping page.

Minimally Viable Housekeeping

When you’re busy, taking care of your home takes too much time and energy, leaving you tired and discontented at the end of the day.

Minimally Viable Housekeeping translates business effectiveness and efficiency techniques for the home. So you can spend more time doing the things that make life worth living.

Discover how to minimise the time and effort you spend on housekeeping. Buy now:

Minimally Viable Housekeeping cover shows a smiling woman leaning on a broom

You can find my monthly reports and other planning related information on the Life Worth Living page.

Planning a Life Worth Living

Let’s face it, life is short. If you don’t stop to think about how you’re going to make it count, at the end of the day, it won’t.

Planning a Life Worth Living applies business techniques to personal concerns. Using these techniques, you’ll get to the end of the year satisfied with what you’ve achieved.

Take a look at how I do my planning.

Discover how to put your life back into your life planning. Buy now:

Planning a Life Worth Living cover shows a woman shielding her eyes as she looks ahead


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