I am NOT a great housekeeper. I don’t live in filth, but it’s not Martha Stewart level perfection by any stretch. It’s good enough. I realized that I have anxiety about the cleanliness level of my house, so I thought I would share some thoughts on that. I’ve certainly learned a few things about housework, and home life over the years.
The very first thing to do is chill out and put on some great music. You know how to wash things, declutter things, do laundry. If not, there are a ton of tutorials out there – get googling! It’s mainly a matter of making it your total focus for a short amount of time. Instead of ignoring it from absolute dread, or terror that it won’t be “perfect”, just do a few minutes here and there.
Did you know that it is actually possible to run the dishwasher when it is only 95% full? If your Mom isn’t standing there judging you, go ahead! No terrible things will happen, in fact, things might actually get rinsed a little bit more thoroughly. It’s okay. Just turn it on. If you don’t have a dishwasher, wash the dishes for five minutes. Even if you don’t do them all at once, do some. Some is always better than none, guaranteed.
If you are sitting on the couch wearing pajamas, a sweater, with a blanket wrapped around you, and you are still cold, it’s okay to turn the heat up a little bit. Yes, heating is expensive. But having your body completely clenched, with your shoulders up around your ears because you are freezing is not healthy. If you don’t have pets or children, light a handful of candles. It’s amazing how much heat they can produce. Just be sure to use tea lights in a proper container – they are the least likely to get knocked over.
Did you know that you can do housework for reasons other than company coming over? It’s true! In fact, Doing just ten minutes of housework a day keeps your home from becoming icky. You know that five minutes every morning when you are standing stupidly in your kitchen, blinking at the coffee maker while it creates your magical potion? That is a perfect time to wash dishes and wipe the counters. You aren’t awake anyway, you won’t even notice that you’re doing it. Use the zombie state of mind for productivity!
Throwing away clutter is hard. Giving away clutter is easy. If you have a dress that you love but you’ll never fit into again, just give it to a friend. If you have far, far too many books (guilty) give a few away to friends on their birthdays, or for Christmas. If you have nail polish or a necklace that you have tried once and it’s just not for you, give it away to a friend. Instead of gathering more clutter over the years, let your possessions out into the world so that someone else can enjoy them. Besides, if you suddenly needed to borrow it back for one special occasion, they would probably let you.
Did you know that it’s possible to have books in both paper and digital form? It’s true! You don’t have to make a final decision. There are some books that you know you will want to share with people, and have with you forever. But then there are fun little summer reads that you would just like to jam into your purse to read on the subway. Get the cheap little books digitally (there are lots of freebies available online if you search for deals and newsletters) and get the “important” books in paper form. You can swing both ways, nobody will judge you.
If you have a spouse or roommate, never underestimate the power of praise. Sure, they don’t do as perfect a job as you do of scrubbing the bathtub. But who cares? “Better Homes Than Yours” magazine is likely not coming for a photo shoot today.
A frequent half-assed job is far better than whole-assed once a year. If you clean the kitchen for ten minutes a day, that’s going to be a lot better in the long run than a three hour deep clean once a month. Never underestimate the power of the three-minute quickie clean while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil.
If you have a huge job to do, can you make it a party? Pulling weeds is the most boring thing in the world. Pulling weeds while drinking wine with buddies in the sun is a blast. If you’re painting the living room though, serve tea until you’re almost finished the job. Just in case.
Use your mindless internet time. You know that we all get lost online for ten minutes here and there. It’s a great mental break. Once in a while, look up cleaning tips, decluttering ideas, etc. Get some ideas from the so-called “experts” and perhaps your job might get easier.
Housework is a pain, sure. One of life’s little annoyances. But we all have to do it. Find ways to laugh at it, make it easier, and stay remotely ahead of the worst of it. Unless that magazine photographer, your Mom, or the Queen is coming, I assure you that’s good enough.
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