This Peaceful Vacuuming Ritual Relaxes Me — Yes, Really

published Jul 15, 2022
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Woman vacuuming kitchen
Credit: sukiyaki/Shutterstock

Cleaning can mean so much more than something you do to have a clean house. 

Although for some people, cleaning is little more than a means to an end, for many people, cleaning entails multiple psychological components.

You’re probably familiar with the mental gymnastics you often have to go through to work up the gumption to check certain chores off the list (I’m looking I at you, grout cleaning). But the interrelatedness of cleaning and our mental state isn’t always negative. A clean house, for me, nearly always brings about an internal state of peace and calm. In addition, sometimes the act of cleaning itself can help me process tumultuous emotions and usher me into a better state of mind — especially when it comes to vacuuming. 

How many times have you angry vacuumed? I know I have. There’s something about pushing and pulling a heavy machine, especially over a surface that gives a bit of resistance, like a carpet, that allows you to act out irritation or physically expel anger from your body. Unfortunately, vacuuming in a fed-up state, while therapeutic, isn’t actually the best way to ensure you’re getting the most out of it. Instead, vacuuming slowly and methodically ensures that you’re sucking up the most dust and dirt from floors and carpeting. 

However, this doesn’t mean that vacuuming can no longer soothe a ruffled state of mind. In fact, forcing yourself to slow down and push and pull and push and pull in straight, tight lines and then doing it again in a slightly different direction can help bring you back from a heated condition to a much more grounded and stable one. 

Vacuuming is actually one of my favorite ways to practice mindfulness while cleaning. I like to slow my breathing to match the pace of my vacuum cleaner and, since vacuuming is typically the last step in cleaning any space (you want to make sure to pick up all the dust that’s settled from cleaning higher-up surfaces), I like to use the minutes I’m vacuuming to “bless” the room I’m cleaning before I leave: I consider the people who inhabit the space and how I’m thankful for this way to serve and love them by keeping their space clean. I reminisce about special moments my family has had in that space and the memories we’ll continue to make. 

By being present and purposeful while vacuuming, of all things, I leave a room not only with floors that are thoroughly clean, but also with a heart full of gratitude. 

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: This Little Vacuuming Ritual Relaxes Me and Fills My Heart With Gratitude