My personal happiness is hugely impacted by the tidiness, organization, and general appearance of my home. When it is messy or chaotic, not only is it harder to function within the space but I also have a sense of shame and embarrassment that brings me down, down, down into unhappiness.
My home is old, and small. Too small for all the life that we try to cram into it, by most modern standards. But in this 1200 square feet of space, each child has their own bedroom and we have two toilets so there is no hopping up and down in the hallway. The kitchen is big, even if it needs some updating and I still don't have a dishwasher. The windows are all too small and we don't get enough natural light into the house, but someday (soon I hope!), I'm going to get those solar tubes put in to bring in the light. We have a damaged chimney that has a mold problem, and I would love to have it torn down and a new wall put in its place. And we need the flooring repaired in the bathroom and new flooring to replace nasty old carpet in the girl's bedroom.
So there is a long list of stuff I need to tackle, all of which will affect my happiness. Because not only do I live in this house, but I find that my ego and sense of identity is very tangled up in it. I know a lot of why this is ...
Long story short: my father left us when I was 17 years old. There were a lot of reasons for that, of course (such as the affair he was having with a family friend), but a big reason he gave was THAT MY MOTHER WAS A BAD HOUSEKEEPER AND A SLOB. And, since that had been a fight and a stress throughout my childhood, I've always wanted to prove that I was not a slob - that I was a good housekeeper and worthy of respect and love.
Now, I know I need to separate the two issues. I want a clean house, because it makes me feel good and I prefer to live that way. Issues of self-worth need to be worked out in other ways.
Long post, but the main point is that as part of my Happiness Project I am going to add focusing on the house to the efforts I was already making to focus on my health.
(Now I have a crazy urge to keep the whole Happiness Project in H's: Happiness through Health and Home and H?)
Yesterday I sorted and tossed and tidied and got one corner - the "home office" better organized. A bit at a time and we'll get there.