Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Ten Thing" Cleaning

With the holidays upon us, you may find yourself needing to get your house in order. If you are like me, this is not a fun task, nor does it come naturally. I am always amazed when I walk into my mother-in-law's house anytime, night or day, beginning of the week or end and it is spotless, without fail. I do mean spotless. Everything has its place and everything is in its place, always. All of the clothes are washed, the dishwasher is usually empty, dust no where to be found. I stand in awe...

I have come to the conclusion that I will never be able to amaze my future daughter-in-law with this type of cleaning ability. When you step into my house, you will likely encounter the unfortunately camouflaged doggy poo sitting on the rug just inside the door. Hopefully your eye finds it before your foot.

The living room--clothes are usually piled up on the chair to your left. Contrary to what you may be thinking, this is actually a good thing. This means that I have washed AND removed clothes from the dryer. Or a more probable scenario--Justin has washed. Bless him.

Some other items you might encounter in the living room include but are not limited to: dirt, leaves, a random shredded sock or two (courtesy of the dog), the token Lightening McQueen race car, batteries rolling around from the remote that has been missing the battery cover for a good year, stuffing from one of my decorative pillows (dog again).

I consider my kitchen clean when all dirty dishes are strategically placed in the sink so that it looks empty upon first glance and a very strong candle is burning.

Moving on the bedrooms...beds are never made. Clothes anywhere above ground level=clean. Clothes on ground level + pass quick smell test=clean.

Details of the one bathroom that I share with my husband and potty-training-3-year-old are best left unspoken. I could go on, but you get the idea.

This is the state of my home at the moment. You may ask yourself, "Then why is she sitting at the computer?" It's a valid question and one that I have been trying to answer for a long time. Why do I procrastinate?

I believe that I found the answer a few years ago when I read the book The Messies Manual: A Procrastinators Guide to Good Housekeeping. It didn't do much to improve my housekeeping skills, but in the book I was able to glean a tiny nugget of psychological genius that has graciously released me from my feelings of poor-housekeeping guilt. Turns out, I am a perfectionist. Can you believe it? The author states that I am the type of "messie" that never attempts to clean anything because no matter how much cleaning I do, it will never meet my standard of cleanliness and I can just not handle that because I am a perfectionist. Pretty insightful, huh?

This brings me to the "10 thing" cleaning method. A dear friend of mine told me about this method once when I was whining about the overwhelmingly disastrous state of my home. Supposedly, it is really helpful for keeping a clean house without a lot of effort. Now, I have never actually tried this technique myself (see previous paragraph) but thought someone else who is not a perfectionist might find it helpful. It is very simple. You do 10 things to clean or pick up around the house with out stopping for anything. You can do any 10 things in any room. There is no order to it. After you have done the 10 things you stop. According to my friend, if you do this every day or two, the housekeeping is much more manageable. Try it...let me know how it works for you.

If you have a serious problem help is available. Check out the Messies Anonymous Site for more cleaning info.

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