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Life without windowpanes: 'Clean' gone radical

Updated: Apr 3, 2021



My neighbour Anna doesn't have to wash her windows - she doesn't have any. She doesn't have to sweep the floor: the wind does that, as she keeps walls to a minimum. Sometimes she gets lucky, and the rain does her dishes for her, in her open kitchen.

The Japanese concept of 清掃、Seiso, translated as shine, sweep, or sparkle, is one of the most misunderstood of The ‘5 S’ principles in The Toyota Way. As everyone alive knows, forcing our personal clean preferences onto the people in our lives only ever leads to tears, eroding relationships and making it easier to just 'do it all yourself'.

Whether you are the slob or the uptight one on the richter-scale of clean, looking closely at Anna’s ‘left of field’ example will equip us to choose a level of clean that satisfies everyone, and a desirable, do-able way to make it happen.


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I absolutely LOVE this! To me, it feels just right! Okay, you *might* get hornets buzzing in, but hey, they just go straight out again, and if you light up a smudge stick (I make my own from herbs in the garden; the latest is yarrow, lavender, and sunwort (Hypericum perforatum; sunwort is my name for it) which smells lovely and sweet and sort of resinous) they leave even faster! A way to *be* in nature and *feel deeply held* at all times. Awkward for cold winters, but that's what winter shutters and resourcefulness are for!

(Rhiannon, in Haute-Pyrenees, France)

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