Seven Ways to Make Cleaning a More Pleasant Experience
(and Even Fun!)
In a world of trying to juggle bills, kids, work, and everything else that makes our lives hectic and complicated, nobody likes coming home and realizing that while life was happening... the house has become a mess. So what do you do about it? Do you procrastinate? Do you make excuses why you can't get it done? Do you lay on the floor and cry? Well, maybe that last one is a little dramatic, but you see the point. Everybody reacts differently when faced with cleaning. There must be a way that we can get through this while maintaining our sanity, or at least most of it. Today is the day you learn how.
1. Have Somebody Help You!
If there is any reason you don't have to clean alone... don't! If you have kids, have them help around the house in a way that is right for their age. Even if you have very small children that cannot be much contribution to cleaning, the smiles and laughter you may get from seeing them try to help may make the experience much more cheerful. A spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend should also more than willingly want to help you, especially if you are living together. A family member or friend is a great person to ask as well. Just remember you need to be willing to return the favor when it's their turn to clean! Often when people clean they try to take on too much by themselves. Remember there is nothing wrong with getting a little help from somebody. It will be done more easily, more efficiently, and in less time.
2. Get a Jar!
When you clean, you probably tend to do the same, exact thing in the same, exact order. This can become tedious and make you dread cleaning. Finding small ways to mix it up can really change your entire attitude towards cleaning. Find a small jar, dish, or whatever works for you. On several pieces of paper, write down every chore that needs to be done around your house. Fold them up and drop them in. As you draw them, one by one, you never know what you are going to be doing next. You can make this a little more fun, if you want, by mixing in a few pieces of paper with something rewarding written on them, such as watching an episode of your favorite TV program, or having a bowl of ice cream. This concept can be especially fun if you have a partner that is willing to take turns drawing chores with you. The feeling of doing chores becomes a little lighter when you can laugh together over who got stuck cleaning the toilet. With a spouse or mate, you can put some fun activities in the jar that may prove to be a little more interesting such as cuddling on the couch for ten minutes, a make-out session, or even something a little more naughty to break up the chores a little. Just don't get too carried away and forget to finish cleaning!
3. Spread Your Cleaning Throughout the Week!
Everybody has a different way of cleaning that works for them. Some people have just not found it yet. One fantastic method is to spread your cleaning throughout the week so that you are getting a lot accomplished by doing very little at a time. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed trying to get all of your cleaning done at once, this might be a great route for you to take. Choose to only do the bathroom on Monday, and nothing else. On Tuesdays, sweep and mop the house. It might be a good idea for you to get a white board or simply to write your chores down on a calendar until you get use to your schedule. If you have a heavier chore, or one that you just don't like, do only that chore on one of the days. If you have two smaller chores that are not very time-consuming, group them together in another day. This is also probably a wonderful method for those of you with that common excuse that you "don't have time to clean". Anybody can fit at least one chore into their day!
4. Take Breaks!
Everyone knows that familiar, stressful feeling you get when unexpected company is coming over and your house is a mess. You have precious little time to scramble and make the house presentable before they arrive. Well, good news! 99.9% of the time, nobody is making a surprise visit! So relax! If you have time to clean, use that to your advantage. After every chore, sit down and relax, read a book, watch tv, or surf the net. If you have a particularly heavy chore that may take a long time, use your judgement. When you're starting to feel stressed out or like it's becoming too much to handle, stop. You can either move on to something else that you find less mind numbing, or take a break on the couch for a while. If there is no imminent need to clean, remember to breathe and remind yourself of that very fact.
5. Don't Take Breaks!
Again, everybody has different ways of cleaning that suits them. If you feel yourself becoming stressed out, a break is necessary. Too much stress can lead to other problems in your life anywhere from home to relationships to work. Always keep this in mind.
While breaks are great in moderation, they sometimes become too frequent and too long when we realize how much more we enjoy the TV in comparison to wiping down the shelves in the refrigerator. If possible, cutting breaks down, or completely out, can help you to get done faster and have more of the day to yourself. We all have that occasional moment when we get into a cleaning binge and we want nothing to stop us or get in our way. If you're in one of those modes, go with it. Turn on some music and jam out while you clean the dishes. Get your toothbrush out and clean that floor until there is no trace of dirt left. If you're feeling motivated and productive, and not feeling stressed about it, use it. That feeling may not come around again for a long time, so clean as much as you can!
6. Prioritize your Cleaning!
Unless you're using the jar method, you probably sometimes start out your cleaning with that empty feeling of not knowing where to start. Find a way to organize your chores in a way that works for you. If you have a particular chore that takes up a lot of time or that you truly hate doing, it might be a good idea to do that chore first. Once it's over, everything else will feel downhill from there. If you have a chore that feels therapeutic to you, such as folding laundry or doing the dishes, do that activity last. That way you can do a chore that you enjoy and relax before you are done cleaning. Think of it like walking on a treadmill to wind down after running a few miles.
7. Always Reward Yourself!
Whether you're spreading your cleaning throughout the week, or doing it all at once with no breaks, be sure to treat yourself to something! If you are only doing one chore or so per day, make the reward small. When you finish vacuuming on Tuesday, have a small snack that you enjoy that you might not otherwise eat. If you cleaned at night, have a glass of wine in the bathtub before you go to bed. Anything at all you enjoy to treat yourself for your efforts. If you are more of an aggressive cleaner and choose to get everything done at once, maybe buy yourself that expensive jacket you were putting off or go out with your friends that night. If you cleaned with a spouse or mate, go out to the movies together or order in a pizza. It's important to have positive reinforcement so that, just maybe, you can look forward to the next time you will be cleaning.