Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How Do You Clean?

My duster being put to good use

I'm just going to say it right now.  I hate cleaning.  I do it because it's necessary, but I don't get a thrill out of it.  I like the effects of decluttering, but cleaning?  Not so much.  I especially loathe cleaning bathrooms.  Disgusting.  I used to hate mopping my kitchen floor just as much, but now I can tolerate it after buying a steam mop.

So how does a gal who hates cleaning keep her house clean?  I have two systems that I use depending on how much time I have and how motivated I am feeling.

If time is short, I use the first system--the "get 'er done" method.  I set the timer for a specified amount of time--usually thirty to sixty minutes, and I force myself to clean the entire time.  No breaks, no distractions, just clean.  Once the timer goes off I finish up what I'm doing and then quit even if the house isn't completely clean.  I find that I can get almost everything done when I really set my mind to it and don't allow myself distractions--"Oh, I need to check my email for just a second" or "I should organize this room rather than clean."

My second method is for those days when I have more free time and don't feel very motivated, but the job still needs to get done.  For these days, I use a system of 15s.  I set the timer and work for fifteen minutes.  Once the timer goes off, I stop what I'm doing and do something fun--either on the computer or read a book.  After fifteen minutes of fun, I get back to work and clean for fifteen more minutes and so on until the job is done or I run out of time.

My preference is the get 'er done method.  I want to clean all at once and then forget about it until the next time.  I like to do all the laundry one day a week and then not have to worry about it until next week.  I like to pull out the cleaners once, use them on everything, and then put them away until next week.

Of course then there are those days when company is coming over and you have to do a midweek clean.  Those are the days when you clean the bathrooms and kitchen an extra time and run the vacuum.  But that only takes twenty minutes at the most.

And then there are those weeks when you are so busy that you don't even know how you're going to fit grocery shopping in, let alone cleaning the whole house.  Those are the days when you clean one room here, one room there as you find a few minutes of free time.  In the morning as I'm waiting for my bagel to toast, I empty the dishwasher.  As I'm cooking dinner, I do the dishes from the day.  As I'm talking on the phone with someone, I'll sweep the kitchen or spray down the bathroom.  As I'm walking through the living room I'll pick up a couple things and put them away.  I'll make my bed when I'm in my room to get something.  Over the course of the day these few extra minutes add up to a mostly clean house.

Nope, my system isn't spectacular.  It's not going to win any medals or compare to FlyLady.  But it works for me and that's what matters.

What system do you use?

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