Weekend 27 Review: The pros and cons of doing a lot of cleaning!

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.)


About Zaiene

Life is large and I am small. Filled with over-complicated thoughts and little tendency towards action, this is me, doing the best I can right now.
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4 Responses to Weekend 27 Review: The pros and cons of doing a lot of cleaning!

  1. Leah Kelley says:

    Sometimes I am so overwhelmed by all the “stuff” I’ve accumulated! You have inspired me… 20 minutes is something I can manage I think.
    Thanks! This is awesome!

    • Zaiene says:

      Oooh that’s so exciting!! I find decluttering easier than cleaning because it’s just throwing things into a garbage bag (I have one for the rubbish bin and one for charity) rather than actually using elbow grease or trying to sort and organise.

      Over the years, I’ve found you have to be moderately ruthless when decluttering. You just can’t let yourself hold onto things that you never use but MIGHT find handy in the future. You probably won’t and it’s better to live a simplified life for five years and then have to buy what you need (which is probably under $20 or even under $10 anyway) then to hold onto it just for that one time (that may never happen).

      I say moderately ruthless, because it is easy to get carried away and throw out things of sentimental value we later regret. We do have to let a lot of the stuff go, but I often like to keep things I’m really torn about. The next time I declutter (hopefully not too long afterwards), I consider throwing them out again and I’ve usually had a longer time to assess whether I really need them. I also came across this amazing idea from a blog I found this week (http://365trinkets.wordpress.com/), which I just added into my main post now, because I’d forgotten. It’s a way of recording the item and the memories associated with it but not keeping the actual item. I think there are lots of things that aren’t really providing us with any function or pleasure (unlike, say, a beloved relative’s beautiful vase) but we’re afraid to get rid of because of the memories.

      My problem is always maintaining my efforts after an initial enthusiastic push! Good luck!

  2. Pingback: Μηνιαίο πρόγραμμα καθαρισμού αίθουσας Φεβρουαρίου 2012 | Φιλανθρωπική Ομάδα «Οι Φίλοι Μας» – Charity Team "Our Friends"

  3. Pingback: Week 31 Review: Moderation and Embracing Set Backs Will Change My Life (Possibly) | Drop One, Add One

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