A new take on cleaning

February 15, 2012 at 12:13 pm 1 comment

When we were first settling in at our new house, a couple people – mostly my dad – advised me to clean in stages – a room there, the floors here – because of the size of the house and the fact that we’re – like most people – busy. As might be guessed from this post, I did not take their advice. I really felt that if I was going to clean, I might as well do it all at once. So, I blew this advice off.

Until recently that is.

You see, I did not clean the house this weekend, since we were rather busy. And I’ll be away next weekend. So I needed to deal with some of the major areas that needed cleaning – the floors, bathrooms, kitchen, etc.

That said, in the last couple of days, I started to think about how the one-minute rule might apply to cleaning. It’s not a literal application obviously; most cleaning tasks take longer than a minute. But they don’t take all night either – not by themselves anyway. In fact, M vacuumed on Saturday, which probably got me thinking about breaking “cleaning the house” into smaller, more manageable components.

A couple nights ago, I took the leap and did the floors in the entryway, kitchen, upstairs bathrooms, and dining room. Seems like a lot, but Swiffer makes doing the floors really easy, so it didn’t take long. And then I stopped.

For a brief second, I felt unsatisfied. But then I let it go and announced “I’m going to clean the bathrooms tomorrow” and moved on. Of course, M contends he believes the house is perfectly clean so he just said Ok! and moved on with his night, too. But it made me feel better to accomplish one piece of cleaning and decide to do another piece the next day.

Then, last night after we cooked this Cherry Tomato CousCous dish (with left over chicken from M’s grandma on the side instead of chickpeas in the dish), I wasn’t so interested in cleaning. Of course, I spilled some crumbs and had to vaccuum in one room upstairs, so I did the whole upstairs. And then, after that I really did not want to clean – but our bathroom’s countertop was REALLY bothering me.

What to do, what to do? M tried to convince me to just leave it, and as he was doing that I realized I would be OK just leaving the other bathrooms, but not with leaving the one in our bedroom. So, I just did that one. It didn’t take that long, and I felt instantly better.

I do think breaking tasks down into smaller, more manageable components is useful, partly because it takes less energy to do the smaller task than the entire thing. There is also probably something about having less to do at other times – like now later this week, I only need to clean the other two bathrooms. The rest of the house is clean, which makes me feel better. And the dread factor of having to Clean. The. Entire. House. is gone. So, I think I’ll keep this approach of cleaning the house in stages, at least most of the time (i.e if we’re having a party, I would clean it all the night before or day of so it’s fresh for our guests).

I guess my dad was right after all!


Entry filed under: Sustainable Energy. Tags: , , , , .

Overthinking at the gym Workout Fail

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. February Wrap Up « Undefined Ambition  |  February 29, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    […] to virtually everything, even big tasks – like cleaning the entire house – because they can be broken down into smaller, more manageable […]


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