Wow, I got a great, unexpected response to my last post, Simple Pleasures, where I talked about my desire to live a less cluttered, more purposeful life. Most of you did not post, but many of you emailed me or convo’d me through Etsy.com to talk to me about having the same desire.
I thought since there are so many of us of the same mind, I’d share something else from the book “Sink Reflections” that was an epiphany for me (and I’m not exaggerating!)
I was brought up – intentionally or not – to believe that if you are going to do something, you should do it right. It’s not a bad standard, unless you make “right” to mean “perfect.” I’m certain this was my own interpretation of the saying and not something my parents told me; I rarely remember them being exacting about my performance, and usually only when it was sub-par.
So as a newly married housewife, I found that doing it “right” meant making everything look perfect – not too hard when it’s just you and hubby in a 720 square foot house! Child #1 came along and it was slightly more difficult, and then #2, and then #3 and perfect was just a ghost of a dream. When vacuuming “right” means that every single thing is picked up off the floor and the furniture is moved…well, let’s just say I haven’t seen the entire floor in probably a year, even though I’m constantly picking up toys and clothes and mopping up spilled milk.
My solution (thanks to the FLYlady)? “You can do anything in 15 minutes.”
She doesn’t mean it literally, but think of it this way: you got into the mess you are in bit by bit. You can get out that way, too. I spend about 15 minutes with my daily keep-up tasks: running the dishwasher, switching over one load of laundry, picking up stuff that has accumulated in places that were clean, sweeping the floor. I also wipe down the sink with a washcloth and swipe the toilet seat and back down with a bit of toilet paper (I’m working on something reusable for this!)
Some of those I can do while I wait for something else. I can load the dishwasher in the time it takes for my coffee to brew. I can throw in a load of laundry or switch it over while I’m browning meat for dinner.
Then I spend 15 minutes doing other chores – once a week I dust, or change sheets, or wipe down the appliances.
Finally, if I have the time, I try to take 15 minutes to declutter: a couple times a week I work on decluttering an area or cleaning up a
30 to 45 minutes a day, and my friends and husband have noticed a difference. I feel more at rest. And I’ve learned that vacuuming up only what I can see is good enough – that’s where most of the junk is anyway!
And what was the epiphany? That I can clean my house daily in half an hour! It’s not perfect, or anywhere close, but I don’t expect it to be anymore. It’s clean, fairly picked up, and I’m keeping up. And as I get rid of the things I don’t use or don’t love, I’m finding I get more and more cleaning done – some days I get done early now! Pretty cool, huh?