09 October 2012

Quick Tip: Cleaning Up When I Don't Want To

image via MSI

I had a feeling it was too good to be true and we've hit a point where I think I've found out I was right. Since she was tiny, The Bug has been a super good cleaner. She would pick up all her own toys and put things away really quickly and with no whining or complaining.

Well that seems to have come to a halt. Darn, darn, double darn. In recent weeks it's been slump on the floor and complain and when desperate, get whiny and teary-eyed. All I can say to that is, "Ah, she's human". I don't know any grown ups who really love to clean. I think we all love a freshly cleaned house, but actually getting there is not that much fun. I still have a lot to learn about enjoying cleaning itself.

I remember when I was six and seven years old and even though my sister and I shared a tiny room, only big enough for two beds, a tiny walkway between them and a closet, it still would overwhelm me when we had to clean up toys that we had gotten out. Maybe because the room was so small it was easy for it to look like a tornado had hit with just a few things out of place. I would feel completely overpowered by the mess and sit on my bed or the floor not knowing how to .

Thankfully as I've gotten older, although I still don't love to clean I've come up with some strategies that make it less overwhelming. So here's a little Tuesday Quick Tip that helps me get through those cleaning up days when I really just want to flop on the floor, whine and moan instead of cleaning. This is also a great tip to teach your kids so you get more clean and less whine. Sometimes we all just need to focus in on a small space to accomplish something that feels too big.

1. Put on some energetic, happy music. Music has a way of picking you up even when you're doing things you don't want to do.

2. Then instead of looking at the space that needs to be cleaned as a whole, I try to break down my cleaning project into tiny, bite size pieces and then approach the room in a circular motion. I pick one starting point, if it's a chair, counter space or appliance. It should be small maybe a 2 feet by 2 feet space at the biggest. If I am really struggling to get going I pick the easier spot first. Some days I just want to dive in and I pick the worst spot and get that over with right off the bat. Just focus on that one place, it should take not more than one or two minutes usually and you should be able to make quick decisions about where things should be put away and quickly clear the space.

3.Then I just continue around the room in a circular motion cleaning in small 2' x 2' increments. It's easy to see one's way through cleaning up spaces that small. If you have to stop, it's easy to see where you can pick up right where you left off and continue working your way around the room.

Pretty soon you've cleaned up a bunch of tiny spaces and that adds up to one big, nice, clean space. This plan makes it easy to see your progress and gives you a sense of accomplishment very quickly as you see the wave of tidiness building up behind you.

4. The final step is a big pat on the back. You did it! You deserve a nice cold drink and to put your feet up for a few minutes. Take half an hour or so and just do something you love. If you make this a regular reward for your efforts you'll always have something to look forward to.

Happy cleaning -- or even better happy rewarding when you are done, enjoying your beautiful space and time for yourself.


Mary C. Nasser said...

This is what I needed Kalani!
Especially like the tips of listening to music and breaking chores down into small tasks.

Wishing you all the best,
Mary (from BYW Bootcamp)

Jenni (Museum Diary) said...

I try and always do the dishes before going to bed (we don't have a dishwasher) so that I wake up to a clean kitchen in the morning. I only succeed about half of the time though. Maybe your tips will help to get me motivated again :-)
Best wishes, Jenni (from BYW)


Happy music and a candle always helps me.

Annetta Bosakova said...

The only thing that helps me to clean and clean good is when I'm down right mad. Instead of taking my anger out on someone I tackle the cleaning with vengeance! Your trips were great and I'll need to start applying them.

Stopping by from BYW

veawen said...

I can do with tips... I love my houe to be shiny and clean, but actually getting there is a nightmare. I am already putting up music, but it distracts me so much haha!
Will take the rest of your tips into consideration and I hope I can start to sort of, in a way, enjoy cleaning again.


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