Yesterday I commented on something I came across (via Instapundit) in the NYT concerning clutter. To be clear, I dislike clutter. In a perfect home, there’s a place for everything and everything is in its place. For years now the received wisdom has been that the time and energy needed to get from clutter and disarray to everything in its place was drudge work. All housework was drudge work– everything from washing the good dinnerware by hand, to ironing the dining room table clothes, to polishing the tea cart, to cleaning the toilets. Clearly, the obvious way to cut down on the amount of drudge work one must do is to sell the good china on Craig’s List, convert the dining room to office space, and resist the temptation to buy the antique mahogany tea cart in the first place. Still have to clean the toilets, but such is life.
May I suggest that the premise is false? The work needed to care for one’s home and the things in it is not drudge work at all. That work reflects something that in the
crappy olden days was called pride of ownership.
While I’ve been concerned with work that used to be classically “woman’s work”– and I have no desire to go back to the days in which a man could not operate a washing machine, or a woman a power drill (though I’m not convinced the situation was as widespread as the rewriters of history would have you believe)– but there was also “man’s work,” and much the same today could be said about its drudgery.
Slovenly or slipshod methods have no more place on the farm than in other businesses or occupations. Machinery that works well, gates that open and shut easily, and buildings and fences that are orderly and in good repair not only save time and money for the farmer, but contribute to morale and pride of ownership.Mack M. Jones. Shopwork on the Farm. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. 1945. [my emphasis]
This generalizes, don’t you think? In 1945, neither Mr. nor Mrs. Jones saw their respective work on the farm or in the home as drudge work. They took pride in what they owned– they probably worked very hard to become owners.
Call me a curmudgeon, but there needs to be a lot more hard work and pride of ownership today.
And now if you will excuse me, I have work to do.