I recently stayed at Cabanas Tulum on the Caribbean Riviera Maya. An early morning walk along the beach which is lined with numerous luxury hotels side by side with rugged hotels reminded me that much can be learned about keeping a well-maintained home by noticing what top-notch hotels do first thing.
Each morning, the better hotels send a staff member to the water’s edge with a rake and a wheelbarrow. They start at the boundary of their hotel and work their way along the shore to sweep up the debris deposited by the sea. Seaweed and wood, but mostly plastic is cast about. The daily futility, the repetitive exercise of gathering it all, carting it off to the garbage containers that line the road, is not lost on these men who stop periodically to stare at the sea.
Home again in Marin County, I wake up early every day and I have my routine: Turn on the TV to watch the news, make coffee, and check email. This morning, I woke up and looked at my house as a tourist might examine the grounds and lobby
of a fine hotel. The front hall had shreds of cardboard that my dogs were playing with last night. The patio was strewn with bougainvillea flowers that blew off the several climbing plants I have there. After making coffee, I carried a handled broom and dust pan and set about sweeping the inside and outside of the house, gathering up all the debris. As I worked, I literally counted my blessings. What a lovely home. What playful dogs. What a beautiful child.
I am going to try, for two weeks, to start each day by cleaning away the debris that has accumulated from the previous day and night. As I do, I hope to turn the monotony and futility of the ritual into an opportunity to polish my vision of my home, my relationships, and my responsibilities. If I can do this for two weeks, I’m hoping it will become a routine that I can carry on daily. I can then give myself a break when I return to Cabanas Tulum.