I’m no expert in cleaning. In fact, at the moment, I’m quite the opposite. I’ve really dropped the ball where cleaning is concerned. The house is tidy enough, but nowhere near clean. I’ve had a month or so of low energy levels and general feelings of doom and gloom, and the first thing I stop doing when I’m feeling like this is cleaning (and exercise too, but that’s a whole other story).
My energy levels and spirits are on the up again, so I want to get the house in order, but where to start? The rug in the living area was filthy, so I thought that was a good place to start, and it’s only a 10 minute job, so something I could psychologically handle.
As I was vacuuming away, I drifted off into my thoughts (it really can be quite a meditative experience for me), and the question popped into my head – what do I really want to achieve by all this cleaning? So here are my priorities when it comes to cleaning:
- Hygiene – I don’t want mice, ants and cockroaches thinking my house is a smorgasbord. I don’t want my 1yo son picking up something disgusting and putting it in his mouth.
- To be Company Ready – We don’t get many surprise visitors, but I like the idea of the house being tidy enough for people to drop by unannounced and me not getting stressed. I don’t mean the house needs to be spotless, but no glaring messes. I like to walk around my house thinking “What would I see if this was a friend’s house?”. So I try to limit the clutter piles and dirt downstairs, keep the kitchen benches clear and wiped, and keep the downstairs bathroom presentable.
- Minimise future cleaning effort – I know if I let my floors get really grotty, if I don’t clean the bathrooms regularly, don’t give the oven a good clean, when I have to do the job, it’s going to take forever to do. A little bit of effort now saves a lot of effort and angst later. So let’s look at the list of things that have been done for a while and just spend 15 minutes (30 minutes whatever) doing it, before it gets out of control.
So when I put my son down for a nap, I run through that list in my mind. What is starting to disgust me? What don’t I want guests seeing? What is on the borderline of getting out of control? Then I just get into it.