Last weekend, my husband mentioned to me that his father and brother were coming to visit this weekend.
In the past, that would have meant that, despite a week’s notice, I would have waited until today to begin cleaning. Cleaning would have involved a mad, frantic sweep through the house, throwing stuff in closets, and collecting trash bags full of stuff, and deciding which doors would have to stay closed all weekend.
Instead, it is after 10 pm, and I am sitting here with a glass of tea, calm and cool. Sometime before they arrive, I’ll probably run the vacuum again and freshen things up, but other than that, I am ready. If they showed up right now, I’d be OK with it.
What changed? My routines, the things I do everyday. See this post for more.
You know, there are things you have to do every day to keep a house in order. Pick up and put away. Wash the dishes. Make the beds. Keep the floors and bathrooms clean.
You know this all somewhere in the back of your head, but you don’t always follow through with it, especially if you have Attention Deficit Disorder.
One of the hallmarks about ADD is that we’re always looking for something new and exciting. We get bored easily. Well, what’s not boring about housework? There’s no real reward in doing the dishes; one meal later, you’ll have to do them again.
That means you have to do a couple of things if you want a clean house all the time, or at least most of the time.
The beauty of the system is that it gives you a plan of action and that bit of excitement you crave. I know, it’s a housekeeping system, but still, it can be exciting to think that this plan will finally get you the clean house you want.
Begin the excavation process. Give yourself a day, week, or month – whatever you need – to really de-clutter the house and get it clean. It doesn’t need to be spotless or perfect at this point (it never needs to be perfect), just better than it was.
If you find that clearing out is too much, then start with your routines and plan and do a little at a time. I find that if I put a huge effort into it and start with a clean slate, I’m more motivated to keep it that way. Do what works for you.
Finally, put the magic of routines to work for you. Routines are the things you do automatically without thinking, like brushing your teeth. Decide on a routine you want to adopt, be faithful about doing it every day, and in 3-4 weeks, you’ve got a new, positive habit. (The standard is 21 days to turn a behavior into habit, but hey, we’ve got ADD.)
I promise you – a bathroom that gets a quick once over every day takes way less time to deep clean than one that hasn’t been touched in a week or more.
Take a look around your house right now. If company were coming to visit this weekend, would you be ready?