We used to procrastinate housecleaning in our big, suburban houses until we couldn't stand the state of affairs. Procrastinating only meant the mess would be harder to clean down the road. It also meant magnifying our so-called "suffering": We were worrying about it before we did the work; we were annoyed by the magnitude of the mess by the time we got around to doing something; and, instead of feeling satisfied with any chores completed, we found ourselves dreading the next time we'd have to do them.
When we sold our last "big" house, many of the chores disappeared or at least shrunk. We tried out a succession of smaller living spaces and found the time required to get through everything was abbreviated simply because there weren't as many rooms. Now, in our smallest living space to date, the time has shrunk proportionally again. In 15 minutes, one of us can do a moderate clean (vacuuming, wiping down windowsills and baseboards, wiping out the sinks, picking up and putting away stray items...).
It's not a big time or energy commitment, and, as a result, we clean more often. We have a lightweight, cordless vacuum that I can honestly say I enjoy pushing around the place just about every day. (We track in a lot of dirt here.) We wander around happily picking up sticks, because we know that chore promises a warm blaze in the house, a meal cooked on the grill or a campfire under the stars. We take turns watering the herbs on the deck, because we both enjoy tending to them.
Before enlightenment chop wood, carry water.
After enlightenment chop wood, carry water.
The Zen wisdom comes to mind. Because I no longer watch the clock like I used to and because I no longer spend my days wishing I were somewhere else, I am more present in my own life. I get satisfaction from some of the same chores I used to procrastinate. Plus, I have new chores in this new way of living—but I don't resent them, either. Rather than putting it off, I like the trip down to dump food scraps in the compost pile; I get a minute to look around the garden and see if any butterflies have found the milkweed. When I walk up a path through the woods to empty the composting toilet bucket, I look for animal tracks, I pull an invasive plant or two, I listen to birds.
Sure, it helps (a lot) that there's less housecleaning to do in a tiny house and that we have more time to do it. But there are less chores and more time because we've chosen to live this way. Clarifying how we want to live helps everyday chores take on meaning. They are part of this new life we're living intentionally.