The Summer holidays are almost over and I have done almost none of the spring cleaning I planned to do. In fact, I have done very little housecleaning of any kind for months. Last year was The Great Rut of 2011. While I don’t necessarily have grand plans for 2012, I don’t want this to be another year where I feel I’m barely keeping my head above water.
Now I’ve discovered How to Clean Your House in 20 Minutes a Day for 30 Days, so this weekend I will add daily cleaning! I have made up my own trial schedule for the month – the key word there is trial. The challenge with this particular experiment (apart from the obvious challenge of actually following through!) is to figure out the best schedule for the different tasks and how often each will need to be done. So far, I’ve tried to put tasks that would require more energy (such as vacuuming) on the weekends and the more superficial clean/tidy jobs on the weekdays, but I’m prepared to do a lot of tweaking to the whole thing! I may even drop the time limit to 10 or 15 minutes (which does sound woefully inadequate, but 10 minutes is better than feeling I can’t manage 20 minutes after a day of work and cooking dinner and so doing none at all).
What really appeals to me about this approach is the time limit, because it means I don’t actually have to finish every cleaning job. Of course, it’s annoying to have things only half-clean, but often what discourages me to even start is the prospect of a huge cleaning or organising task. With a time limit, it makes it OK to start something that I mightn’t finish. Every time I do some cleaning it’s more than I would have done if I’d put pressure on myself to get it all done. Every time I do some cleaning it potentially makes that cleaning job a little easier next time. I also expect that some days I will want to keep going, and that’s OK, too, provided I’m not putting pressure on myself to go over the time limit. It’s more about building habits to make life manageable and pleasanter.
In a funny case of serendipity, Dad came home yesterday with a new (Dyson!) vacuum cleaner to replace our old old second-hand old old vacuum cleaner. What wonderful timing!
I try to be cautious about getting over-ambitious with my aims, but I am feeling the urge to live in a better home environment and think I should go with that feeling. So, I am going to drop some clutter. There seems to be three kinds of physical clutter in my life. The first is clutter that I don’t have a place for. This is probably the worst and most challening kind of clutter because it piles up in awkward places and becomes a huge job to sort out – and there still isn’t anywhere to put it when I’m done! The second is the clutter that I probably don’t need but have held on to. Things like perfume I no longer wear, bath products I received as gifts and never used, books I am never going to read again, clothes I don’t wear and boxes that I’ve kept for five years just in case they’re useful. The third is the convienient clutter. All the things I have by my bed just in case I need them in the night, all the things I carry in my handbag or all the things I chauffer around in my car just in case I need them when I’m out.
This weekend I am going to drop the second and third kind of clutter. At least, in the spirit of my 20-minute cleaning plan, I am going to do 15-20 minutes of decluttering each day. Every little bit of clutter cleared makes life simpler and nicer. Every little bit of clutter cleared makes more space for the things that are clutter only because there is nowhere to put them.