Ever have one of those days?
I’ve been on an on again/off again streak with cleaning lately.
This time of year it always gets to me. While I understand the traditional spring cleaning routines – clearing out the house after having been shut tight all winter – it makes just as much sense to me to clean out the house when it’s been open all summer, dragging dirt, grass clippings, and who knows what else inside.
The problem – I’m sure you can relate – is in knowing where to begin, how much time to allow, and how big of an area to tackle. (Hint: an entire room is way too much.)
And of course, once we get into that ADHD induced frenzy of getting it all done NOW, we risk making a huge mess that’s too intimidating to clean up.
Following are a few ideas, suggestions, and methods I’ve used to start to get things clean and organized around here, in no particular order.
Find or make a plan. I know that with a lot of things, a plan makes all the difference in what gets actually done. Although I have pinned probably a zillion home cleaning routines on Pinterest, I find that most of them don’t work for me. The women with the spotless homes have cleaning plans far too complicated to be useful to me. (Have you checked out An ADD Woman Cleans?)
Instead, I come up with something simple, and I usually base it on the aggravation factor. (The more aggravating a situation is, the sooner I need to take care of it.) Right now my plan is just a simple list in my planner.
One day recently, I opened the cupboard and got hit by an avalanche, so I decided to clean it out. It took just a few minutes, but it has stayed neat since then and makes me happy every time I use it. Which brings me to…
Find out how long it takes. One of my biggest hate-to-do jobs is mopping the kitchen floor. Kitchen and bathroom floors are the worst, but kitchens tend to be bigger so they win the worst of the worst prize.
One day, when I couldn’t stand it anymore, I started the timer on my phone and Swiffered the kitchen floor. To me, Swiffering is not a deep clean, but a good enough. It took me less than 8 minutes. Seriously? I had been moaning and groaning and putting that off when it only took 8 minutes?
You ought to be able to talk yourself into doing something that needs to be done when you know it’s only 8 minutes start to finish.
Get everyone out of the house and blast some good music. This always works for me. The hardest part is getting everyone to leave.
Mark your territory. Choose just one corner, cupboard, shelf, or even just a part of one. My pantry happens to be very wide and deep, making it easy for stuff to disappear. It would not be unreasonable for me to just do one half of a shelf each time.
Edit your stuff. I’ve often said that when my mom passed away, we found 17 punch cups. No punch bowl, but 17 cups. Nobody needs 17 punch cups.
Now, before you toss things or give them away, give it some thought. I own 3 pairs of kitchen shears, 5 cutting boards, and a number of tongs. But I find that by the end of the day, many of them will be in the dishwasher. There have been days when I need a cutting board and have to pull one out and wash it by hand. Keep what you need, let go of the rest.
Use the right tools. I happen to think that all of the Swiffer products are great; I especially like their dusters. I’ve got a couple of secret weapons that I will tell you about in a future post that I really like, as well as a few choice products.
Oh, and on the subject of tools, be sure to have everything out before you get started. It makes the whole process much easier!
Remember to take it slow and not to take on too much at a time.
What’s your favorite tip for cleaning and organizing?