I am told that this is the time of year where people will devote large chunks of their free time to cleaning up their homes and getting rid of clutter. This seems like a good goal…but just to make sure the time is being spent in the best way possible, I’ve compiled a list of criteria to evaluate whether you should clean your house or read a book. (Keep in mind, of course, that I am not biased at all, even though I’m the fiction publicist at a publishing company.) Enjoy!
Spring Cleaning: I don’t know who created the myth of a spring cleaning day, where in one swoop of Clorox-induced productivity, the entire house becomes sparkly clean, meticulously organized, and lemony-fresh. (Maybe this is you. If so…I admire you, my friend.) In my world, however, this process drags out over a full month, and some tasks still never get done. I’m looking at you, fridge that needs to be scrubbed down.
Spring Reading: Usually, you’ll end up reading a book over a period of days or weeks, interrupted by that silly thing called “real life.” However, just think of all you’re cramming into that time! In a book world, you could experience months, years, and even whole ages of time from the point of view of the characters.
Winner: Clearly, reading comes out ahead on this one. (Unless you’re factoring in the time it takes me to justify reading a book instead of cleaning my fridge. Then we might have a tie.)
Spring Cleaning: Temporary. A clutter-free living room seems to attract chaos and mess within days, no, hours of being straightened up. It’s the second law of thermodynamics.
Spring Reading: A good story, with characters who feel like old friends, will stick with you forever.
Winner: I don’t even think there’s any contest for this category. Reading.
Importance to Character Building
Spring Cleaning: We all know that doing things we don’t enjoy builds character. Having the persistence to vacuum Cheerios from under the couch for the hundredth time is admirable. Taking on that intimidating pile of laundry puts the grit in integrity. Powering through the scum in the bathtub or, worse, the hair in the drain, is a task worthy of only the most determined heroines.
Spring Reading: On the other hand, studies have shown that reading fiction helps develop empathy, a very important character trait for living compassionate lives. And when we read about heroes and heroines who act selflessly, and grow and change throughout the story, we find ourselves changing as well.
Winner: This one’s a toss-up. There are benefits to both.
Spring Cleaning: This is an overachieving level of responsibility, particularly for those with children. The entire world, or at least everyone wandering aimlessly in the cleaning supply section at Target, should applaud your dedication.
Spring Reading: I mean, no one puts reading on their To-Do list. (If you do, we should be friends.) For all its benefits, reading fiction is mostly for entertainment.
Winner: Finally, a win for spring cleaning! See, we’re not trying to get you to neglect the really necessary cleaning. Will there be a time to finally tackle that pile of junk that can no longer be stuffed in the closet? Of course.
The final verdict? Well, it’s up to you, of course, but I suggest the following compromises:
- Do what needs to be done, but don’t think everything needs to be perfect. Your home could potentially look like the ones inside home decorating magazines, but at what cost? There’s nothing wrong with a house that feels lived-in…which includes a few well-read books lying around for quick reading breaks!
- When you really do need to tackle a cleaning project, play an audiobook—many of your favorite Christian fiction novels are available in this format. Check your library! Nothing makes scrubbing the floor or organizing the garage more fun like having a narrator read to you.
- Use that new book you’ve been dying to read as motivation to get some housework done. I don’t know about you, but nothing motivates me more than a novel just waiting for me to do my domestic duty so I can curl up with a cup of tea and read.
And if you’re looking for a book to motivate you, I suggest our April releases:
Together With You: Adorable children, powerful emotional impact, inspired by The Sound of Music. Need I say more?
From the Start: I may have laughed more during this one book than I did the entire rest of the month. Wittiest dialogue ever.
Finding Me: From the compelling premise to characters who feel like family by the end, this one comes highly recommended for women’s fiction fans.
Putting off cleaning—I mean, having a great motivation for when you’re finished cleaning—has never been so easy.
Confession time: which household chore are you most likely to delay doing in order to read? (Mine is dusting. Easily.)