This 20-minute cleaning and decluttering thing has certainly made all my chores seem more manageable.
What I like about cleaning and decluttering is how a little bit of cleaning often makes me want to do more. I start seeing all the areas that aren’t neat or clean and want to fix them, too. It’s getting started the first time that stops me cleaning, but I’ve had the urge recently. I don’t think it should surprise anyone to know that our physical environment can have an effect on our psychology. It is also logical that our environment is a product of our psychology. All of last year I managed to do only what I absolutely had to do for work and for study. I felt mentally, physically and emtionally bogged. The last month has felt a bit like I’m coming out of a long sleep, where I’ve been walking around but have not actually been able to drag myself awake. This urge to clean is a part of me finally feeling awake again.
Ironically, one of the difficulties of this particular cleaning challenge is stopping. I actually don’t dislike (most) housecleaning jobs because I do enjoy making things clean and organised. These jobs are long overdue (and take much longer than I’d anticipated), so I’ve allowed myself to go with the cleaning urge and take longer than the 20 minutes I set myself. Once I’ve done the initial Big Clean, I’m hoping that most jobs will be quicker in the future, if done more frequently.
My concern is that, if every time I start I let myself do more than my allotted 20 minutes, it’s going to be harder to build up a daily cleaning habit. I’m going to find it hard to get started on those days when I’m less motivated, have less time or am tired after work, because I will assume I’ll end up doing more than 20 minutes. I’m mindful of the fact that doing a big lot of cleaning for a few days while I’m on holiday and feel motivated is not the habit I’m trying to establish.
For now, I think I will continue as I’ve been going this weekend, because there are just so many big jobs to do. Decluttering for 20 minutes on Saturday, I cleaned out a whole shopping bag’s worth of old cosmetics/toiletries/cleaners/bottles out of the bathroom cabinet. I really only have a very few cosmetics that suit my skin and skin tone, but over the years I seem to have accumulated so many superfluous products and have been unable to part with them just in case they’re useful one day! Bouyed by this, I then cleaned out another bag of things from the cupboard beneath the bathroom sink. I am finding that knowing I’ve allowed myself to stop at 20 minutes has made the tasks seem much less overwhelming.
On Sunday, I started decluttering my bedroom…and ended with a third bag of old cosmetics!
(Edit: I meant to add that I found a blog that had a really amazing idea! 356 Trinkets is a decluttering challenge, but the author is taking the time to record a photograph and memories of items that he throws out. This is such a wonderful concept, because sometimes there are things we don’t need, but we don’t want to risk letting go of the memories associated with them.)
- Weekend 27: Drop Clutter/Add Cleaning (droponeaddone.wordpress.com)