Tuesday, July 5, 2011

On Cleaning

I'm not good at cleaning.  I mean to be.  I want to be.  In my daydreams I am.  I often spend time mentally cleaning my house, imagining putting things away, moving through the rooms like a whirling, order-insisting robot, arranging everything in its pristine position.   

But that's not actual what I'm like.  At all.  Chaos and entropy reign in my house, especially when I'm working full-time. Occasionally I pretend to be that robot and I spend hours upon hours and more hours cleaning everything, and by the end I'm exhausted and cranky. 

And here's the problem with not being the robot, with having a messy house: it makes me sad.  Not like in a literal sense.  I don't look at the messiness and sorrow for it, though a little of that might be involved.  I mean that I've noticed that if I come home on Friday and everything is a dadgum disaster, I feel hopeless and overwhelmed, and I won't even realize it has to do with the messiness.  I think the world actually IS that hopeless and overwhelming.  Does that make sense?  Anyway, so I figured this out, this triggering response, and how ugly it was, and how much I'd rather not feel that way, and I thought and thought of what to do about it.  I found that one thing, the Flylady or whatever her name is, who gives you a list of tasks to do every single day of the year, and that's super cool, don't get me wrong, but I sort of tried to do it for a week or so and it made me even more depressed.  I need my cleaning strategy to be more, well, in and out, get it done, and don't do anything that isn't absolutely necessary.  Then I read some cool blog posts (on this blog and this blog) that seem to approach cleaning in a sassy-pants, practical, no-nonsense, this is real life and let's get on with it approach.  This was totally what I needed. 

I still liked the idea of a cleaning rotation, or certain things that I just do every day and other things I do on a set schedule, and after some more thought and some real time evaluating what I cared about, here's what I came up with.  I hope you're not appalled that I'm only doing these things once a week, or judging me because such-and-such doesn't even make the list.  I'm still fine-tuning, and I tackle other things as they become pressing, but if I seriously just do this, which doesn't take long at all, I am a much happier camper.  I do it in the morning, and then when I come home from work, I feel like things are okay, and I don't spend four hours of my weekend cleaning, either.  Friday nights are less depressing.  I want to play with Sam on the weekend.  I want to spend most of my time writing and reading and sewing pretty skirts.  Cleaning doesn't fulfill me, though maybe it does for some people.  For me, it's just baseline.  I gotta get there or I can't get anywhere else.

Anyway, here it is:

Daily realities: the kitchen (it just has to be done. every day.  there's no getting around this. i've tried.).  cat litter. General chaos/clutter avoidance.

Monday: Swiffer/sweep the whole universe
Tuesday: Laundry
Wednesday: Take out all of the garbagesssss
Thursday: A real de-cluttering, vaccuum
Friday: Bathroom

What about you?  Have you developed a cleaning strategy?  Are you still working on it?  Do tell.

10 comments:

Genevieve Beck said...

My bed must be made in the morning and the dishes have to be done before I go to bed at night. I also like the place generally decluttered before heading to bed. But I pretty much vacuum when I'm expecting company and I'm not even going to say how infrequently I do the bathrooms. But, I find if I do those, I can mentally function.
If you're ever in a cutesy mood, you may enjoy flylady.com. I like her one step at a time approach and while I definitely don't do everything there, I feel like I can take ten minutes to do what I can as opposed to tackling the whole house now.

Deborah said...

Housekeeper. Not as expensive as you might think. Still leaves to us with daily dishes and weekly laundry and basic clean-up . . . but twice a month the house is REALLY CLEAN. It is a wonderful motivator for doing the little things to help keep it that way. But in the weeks I don't, there is an end in sight! Great for mental health.

belann said...

It follows that you desire more order in your home now that you have found more order in other areas of your life. One follows the other. I know you will find a working plan for you.

Elise said...

that sounds like the greatest system ever. i love it.

Kira said...

My happiness is tied to the house as well. Lee has even started to pick up on it....if I am feeling really down we clean the house real quick together. It gets harder with each additional short person living with us. What works for me (and has for years) is a timer. I set the timer for 10 minutes in each room. After the 10 minutes I am done...no matter what. I have to have an exit. If I have additional minutes in one room I can go back to one that needs more work...or not. If I WANT to stay past the 10 I can. It is amazing what can get done in 10 little minutes.

Deja said...

@Genev--I gotta get on top of the bedmaking, though Sam usually wakes after I do, so I never remember to go back and do it, and the thought of convincing him to do it sounds, well, exhausting. :)

@Deborah--we've used a housekeeper on and off, and may again ... So glad you found my little blog and commented!

@Kira--I give myself a half hour when I'm on the phone anyway, so I totally use that timer thing. I used to set the timer a lot for things I dreaded. I should do that again.

Amara said...

We clean bathrooms once a week. Gross I know, but guess how often we clean the tubs and showers (which technically should be part of the bathrooms? Yeah -don't ask. Laundry twice a week at least, vacuuming and mopping once a week,and for the rest I've got a 6 month rotation that goes in the google calendar. They come up as a job a week. I really stuck with it for a year and it's still showing up for me to ignore...

Suzie Q said...

I like a clean house too. I also have my daily tasks...kitchen, sweep, pick up toys, swish and wipe bathrooms if needed. Then I also have one day a week that I really clean. I do it all on Friday so I have only one crappy depressing "all I did was clean" day. I mop, scrub the bathrooms, vacuum the whole house, change the sheets, dust, everything on Friday while Winston is at work. Then we have a super clean house for the weekend and I am happy until about Wednesday of the next week when I start realizing that I have to do it all over again.

Suzie Q said...

I like a clean house too. I also have my daily tasks...kitchen, sweep, pick up toys, swish and wipe bathrooms if needed. Then I also have one day a week that I really clean. I do it all on Friday so I have only one crappy depressing "all I did was clean" day. I mop, scrub the bathrooms, vacuum the whole house, change the sheets, dust, everything on Friday while Winston is at work. Then we have a super clean house for the weekend and I am happy until about Wednesday of the next week when I start realizing that I have to do it all over again.

Suzie Q said...

I like a clean house too. I also have my daily tasks...kitchen, sweep, pick up toys, swish and wipe bathrooms if needed. Then I also have one day a week that I really clean. I do it all on Friday so I have only one crappy depressing "all I did was clean" day. I mop, scrub the bathrooms, vacuum the whole house, change the sheets, dust, everything on Friday while Winston is at work. Then we have a super clean house for the weekend and I am happy until about Wednesday of the next week when I start realizing that I have to do it all over again.