I'm a messy cleanness freak. That is, I love my home to be organised and clean, but I never manage to have it that way.
I used to ignore my home for days, then suddenly I was overwhelmed by the mess, freak out, and go for hours-long cleaning sprees. These made me burn out, and I didn't want to clean ever again. The mess started piling up again. Circle. Chain. Whatever.
Sounds familiar ?
Now I clean for 15 minutes a day (apart from vaccuming and cleaning the kitchen work surface). Most time I'm on top of the mess, and when someone threatens to visit, I only need to clear up toddler food and socks. Oh, and feel like I clean less than before. Just 15 minutes. Every day.
I got the "15 minute clean" idea from the Uncluterer. Let me tell you how I made it work for me:
* How "15 minutes" works:
- 15 minutes is so few that you can't use the excuse of not having time. I mean, you can't not have 15 minutes. (If you really don't, you need to quit one of your 3 jobs). So, you are likely to actually clean every day.
- 15 minutes is short, and this make you work faster to beat the clock. You get more done.
- You're not fed up of cleaning after 15 minutes. That means you don't burn out, and you still feel up to cleaning the next day.
* How to use the "15 minute clean-up":
"15 minute clean-up" a regime cleaning your home for just 15 mins a day. That's it. Cleaning means putting stuff away as well as washing off dirt. It does not include vaccuming, putting clearing up dishes after eating, or mopping up the smoothie from the floor.
Here is how to do it:
- Divide your home into 7 parts, one part for each day.
You may want to give yourself a day off on certain days, like the weekends or a day when you are very busy. Alternatively you can schedule the 'easiest' room on those days.
Keep in mind other activities: schedule the bathroom after your messy home beauty treatment.
- Work fast, first doing the essentials (putting away unsightly stuff, throwing out what needs to go, and emptying the room's trash into the 'main' trash.).
It might be useful to have a list of these essential tasks somewhere in that room.
- Then leave the room. Come back, and note which ugly, messy or dirty thing catches your eye. Deal with it.
As the Unclutterer would say: “What single action would make the greatest impact right now?”
- Do the stuff that need to be done only occasionally: clean the windows, remove spots from walls, declutter a drawer, remove spiderwebs, clean the TV screen, wipe the light switches.
- When the timer rings, stop. You're not allowed to do anything else. If you do cheat and continue working, you won't want to work tomorrow.
Ok, if you've done most of the window, you can finish it. But try to keep track of time while working, so you'll have an idea how many tasks you can fit in.
If after 15 minutes your room is still a mess:
- Train family members to put their stuff away and help with the household chores. You are not their slave.
- Organise your stuff, so that you always know where everything is, so that it's easy to put away, and that the ugliest stuff is in closed storage.
- Practice the habit of putting everything away after using it, immediately.
- Get rid of stuff. You probably have too much clutter.
- Lower your expectations. The house should be for you, not you for the house.
What else ?
I try to have an end of the day routine, when I put stuff away for a few minutes, and make sure that I'm greeted the next morning by a clean kitchen work surface and sink (nothing starts your day like doing dirty dishes from the day before).
If I still have the time and energy to clean after my 15 minutes. I check out Kelly's Missions. This lady is great to remind me to deal with areas that often get ignored (like the spider webs).