Some people are naturals at cleaning. They thrive on creating a clean, pristine environment for their homes. They wake up ready to tidy up, and it is an essential priority for their lives. They couldn’t imagine living in somewhere cluttered, dusty, or any other synonym for an unclean home. They also likely do not own two dogs and three cats…all of whom are indoor-animals only.
I am not one of these people. But I do know that they exist because my Grandmother is one of them 🙂
Cleaning is a chore to me. I’d much rather be writing, gaming, working out, sleeping, shopping, or really doing any number of things other than cleaning. And while it was easy to decide to just not clean while a child, an adolescent, a college student, or even just living in a small apartment with six roommates in my mid-20s, I eventually reached a moment where I realized that I was nearly 30, and it was no longer acceptable to just not clean my home.
Therefore, cleaning became a mega-chore. First, I had to painstakingly clean, deodorize, organize, and scrub what should have been done years ago. Tears were shed. Then, I needed to maintain the cleanliness. This meant designating Saturday mornings as cleaning time and begrudgingly spending hours making things look neat again. Cleaning became my most-hated chore.
It also meant that my house was pretty-much off-limit for visitors from Wednesday-Friday each week. “Oh God, Saturday is my cleaning day. You don’t want to come over right now; it’s a mess.”
I’d simply never learned to clean. My mother is a pack-rat, and my grandmother is a neat-freak. Whatever needed to be cleaned, my grandmother would do while I let non-perishables collect around me in my bedroom. I didn’t grow up sweeping, mopping, etc. It was a foreign skill. Something needed to change.
I eventually mentioned my plight to my grandmother. It came in the form of me announcing that I wished that my boss would give me a $10K raise so I could afford to hire a live-in maid and never have to clean again. She told me that she was proud of me for finally cleaning at all, but asked why I despised cleaning so much. She became appalled at my Saturday cleaning ritual.
“You’re not supposed to do that!” she told me. “I don’t even do that. You’re supposed to do a little bit every day.”
Over a yummy lunch at her shiny condo, she told me that after my next Saturday morning clean, to just focus on maintaining the cleanliness each day by doing 10 minutes per day.
“Wake up, and set a timer for ten minutes. Put your favourite song on, or one of those podcast things you’re always talking about. Go to a spot in your house that needs to be cleaned, and spend 10 minutes cleaning it. If you feel like continuing after the timer sounds, more power to you. But do at least 10 minutes, and make sure to pick a different room each day.”
She warned me that my home would still not be as clean as her condo since I own a lot of shit and have five animals, and I told her that was okay because her condo’s cleanliness and white carpeting gave me severe anxiety.
So, I gave her idea a shot. I did another four-hour cleaning marathon on that Saturday, rewarding myself with a chicken sandwich and a glass of wine when I was finished. And then, on Sunday, I swept the main floor, changed the trash bag in the kitchen, and wiped off the bathroom counter.
On Monday, I mopped the room with the litter boxes and the puppy pads, wiped off the stovetop, and did a load of laundry.
On Tuesday, I changed our bedding, wiped the toothpaste spots off the mirrors, and placed any moved video game cases and books back onto their appropriate shelves.
It. Was. WORKING.
Now, this is not to say my house can now appear in a magazine. That’s never going to happen, and I am perfectly okay with that. Like I mentioned previously: minimalistic, overly-clean homes give me anxiety. But I no longer have to try to force visitors to come over on certain days and force them to stay away on other days. I don’t wake up saying, “Ugh, something smells.” I don’t have to spend all of my freaking Saturday morning cleaning when I could be resting.
It’s a life-changer.
If you’re like me and do not like cleaning, I highly, highly, highly recommend giving 10-minutes per day a shot. But, do keep in mind that you may need to adjust the time based on your living space. 10-minutes per day works well for middle-class suburban homes. If you live in a studio apartment in New York City, you can likely get away with only 5-minutes per day. If you own a freaking mansion, you may need to set that timer for 15-minutes or 20-minutes per day. If you have no pets or children, your cleaning load will be much lighter than a home with many pets and multiple kids.
Also, please keep in mind that this is just for daily maintenance. I still need to take a couple of hours at least once per month to really deep-clean certain areas, but it is actually enjoyable. I turn on a 90-minute podcast and get to listen to a spooky story while I make amends with my home. But I no longer have to spend four+ hours each week doing so.
Do you have a trusted cleaning regimen, or are you still looking for one that works perfectly for you and your family? Comment below with how you prefer to clean and what works with your schedule, and maybe your own style can help other readers to also gain clean environments 🙂