A Little Housecleaning...Literally

Saturday, December 19, 2020



The older I get, the more I desire a clean environment.  When you are young, you have so little that you spend a lot of energy buying and collecting things. At some point, though, you reach the apex, and you start to question all the crap you have around you. You go to those amazing craft fairs and tourist traps, and you begin to question whether you really want to spend the next 20 years dusting that personalized wooden...whatever. You start to groan when your MIL, despite having her heart in the right place, gives you another Hummel figurine, because you KNOW she is going to want it displayed (although this particular problem was temporarily solved when the toddler brought the curio cabinet crashing down and so many things busted). At some point, I became the person who will stop and do dishes in the middle of a get-together, because I simply cannot relax and tolerate the mess.

However, as much as I desire a neat environment, I work full-time outside the home and have three small boys constantly pushing the tide against me. My house will not be company ready for a few more years. 

That said, a gal can only take so much chaos, am I right? Occasionally I get the kids' dad to take them somewhere for a good chunk of the day, and I am able to get a good housecleaning in. However this only happens every couple of months, and that is just not enough. So I am going to introduce you to my survival trick for Saturdays like today.

First of all, after a crazy busy weekend last week, this weekend is blessedly open. Nothing on the table, just me and my home and my time. The best. But I awoke to a disaster. By 8 a.m. there was cinnamon toast crumbs everywhere, remnants of last night's feasting (I went to bed early instead of cleaning up) all over the table, piles of laundry waiting to be folded, dirty bathrooms, dirty carpets, some sticky, sweet something all over the floor, and a host of other horrors. I would get a picture, but the kids always steal my phone.

But I am at energy level: Recovery. This means I am relaxing as much as I can, so my stores build back up.

And that is where the 10-minute clean-up comes in. The 10-minute clean-up is exactly what it sounds like. For 10 minutes out of every hour, I straighten one room. It is important to focus on one area at a time during the 10 minutes to see progress, but you don't have to finish one room to move to another. For example, I usually start in the front room and/or dining room. They clean up the quickest, so I can see progress right away.  However, 10 minutes is usually not enough time for vacuuming, so the room is never completely done. During the next 10 minutes, I might move to the kitchen. Obviously, a trashed kitchen will not be cleaned within 10 minutes, especially since my dishwasher is broken. I might do a couple 10 minute sessions here. Sometimes I see so much progress, I keep cleaning. Sometimes I don't. Later in the afternoon, the big boys will go outside, and this is when I start to fold the laundry. Usually by the end of the day, at least the downstairs is straight and pleasant, and I don't feel wiped out or like I was cleaning all day. Plus, once he sees the positive progress I have made, Karl will usually get inspired and pitch in. And there is nothing like manly muscle for getting some jobs done (like that sticky stuff in the fridge-takes him 5  minutes to clean what I would scrub for 30).

So basically that is the lazy girl's guide to cleaning when you really just want to be a slug.

I actually use this method at work, too. When I have to start some less than stimulating paperwork, I tell myself I only have to do 10 minutes worth. Generally after 10 minutes, the flow is going and I continue working. But if I don't, I pat my back and call myself successful for meeting my goal. 

Works for me!

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